Thursday, February 10, 2011

At War with the Mailman

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” - Herodotus, about 500 B.C.

I call bullshit.

My mailman and I are at war. I didn’t get my mail for two days straight last week during the Great Snow Event. I was fine with it. We couldn’t even back out of our driveway so I didn’t expect to find a mailbox full of the usual, ZERO PERCENT INTEREST FOR 12 MONTHS! credit card applications and subpoenas. It was a welcome break really. Standing over the trash can sorting 90% of the unopened mail directly into the garbage can be a real chore.

Then, the roads were plowed. Life resumed. My mail box became full again for a few days.

We’ve received no meaningful snow accumulation since last week. If anything, the piles of Snow Event have started to dwindle. But yesterday, I received a note rubber banded to my mail that reminds me that the “approach and retreat from my mail box must be clear for 30 feet in either direction to allow for the postal worker to complete their task.” They even provided helpful little pictures to show me how I’m supposed to shovel my snow in a tapered arch starting 30 feet from my mail box and then again tapering out 30 feet on the other side of my mail box. It’s like a mail carriers delivery parabola – the most inconsequential parabola in parabola history. They conclude by fairly sneering at me, “Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated.”

Not so bad, is it?

Well, I ain’t gonna do it. I didn’t do it.

And I didn’t get my mail today. The mailman has joined the fight! I realize resistance is futile. Ultimately, I need my mail. I need my latest issue of Runner’s World so I can discover the 10 Keys to Your Best 5k (because I’m too lazy to look back at the preceding 46 issues.) Any “victory” I feel is Pyrrhic at best. I’ll destroy myself before the post office runs out of junk mail. But when fighting BIG MAIL, I’ll go without discovering the Pet of the Month if that’s what it takes.* Life is full of sacrifices…

The post office is becoming increasingly antiquated. Everyone knows it. Email, cell phones, netbooks, etc. are making mail delivery as outdated as horseback delivery when the automobile was invented. They even tried to make a movie glamorizing postal delivery and that failed. Remember The Postman? I didn’t think so. It was the bomb Kevin Costner made after the bomb he made called Waterworld. In The Postman, our hero rebels, fights, and survives a post-apocalyptic world jut so he can defiantly…deliver mail?! That was the premise, I kid not. Try not to become overcome with tears. I watched it so you don’t have to. That’s the kind of thing I do for you people.

So what happens now? There aren’t too many chess pieces to play in a Mail Addressee vs. Mail Deliverer stand-off. A fine? How are they going to notify me? How are they going to bill me? How will I know? If this goes on too long, I suppose the subpoenas will eventually turn into arrest warrants. I might need to continue paying 12.99% interest on some of my credit debt when I could be paying 0%.** And how will I know what shoes Runner’s World recommends? Do I assume it is the same shoes they recommended the last time, just the newest generation?***

Is it too much to ask the mailman to reach an extra three inches to drop some letters in a box? Do I have to go out and open the little door too because this would aid the postal worker in completing their task and that they really appreciate my cooperation in this matter? You see the photo. Am I out of line?

I’ll probably just hold off until next week. The forecast promises above freezing temperatures which means melting snow and increasingly expanding mail delivery parabolas. Then, I’ll get my mail; he’ll know I didn’t lift a finger over his little note.

Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Probably, but that’s what you expect around here.

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…”

Rain? Snow? Heat? Gloom of night? Maybe. I bet Herodotus thought he had it all covered. But “lean a couple extra inches out of the heated, cushioned, radio-entertained vehicle”? Apparently, he missed that one. That’s just a bridge too far.

Happy delivery.

*I hope that’s not what it takes.
**Some restrictions apply.
***Safe bet.

Last week it was Elizathon. This week’s featured Podium Post (i.e. post filled with creativity that rises to a place worthy of a spot on the weekly blog post podium) is from Two Motivate. Help beet-lover Drea name a group of runners. We desperately need one.

(I’m looking for a post each week to feature in the Podium Post section. In the future, I may even bump it to a whole post of my own…if I feel like it. If your blog entries are a dry regurgitation of run stats better suited for a Facebook, Twitter or Daily Mile entry, don’t expect to “win”. If it contains donkey fights and tons of hyperbole, well, you might be in the running!)

Off to the Comedy Festival tomorrow! How drunk do you think I’ll get Saturday night on a scale of 1 to 10 (drunkest)? I’m guessing about a 7 but I wouldn’t put a 9 past me. Ever been thumb-cuffed? Weird experience. Brace yourself Mrs. Nitmos.


Marlene said...

Why doesn't he just chuck it in the general direction of the house like the paper delivery boy, so you can find it in your front lawn once the snow melts?

Anonymous said...

I love this: "I need my latest issue of Runner’s World so I can discover the 10 Keys to Your Best 5k (because I’m too lazy to look back at the preceding 46 issues.)"

I never thought about it but RW is the Cosmo of running magazines..

Ian said...

As much as I'd like to side with your postal worker against you I just can't do it.

I think I'd go out there and piss on the snow by the mailbox so that he knows how you feel about his note. Better yet piss on the note in the snow.

Anonymous said...

I told RW over the phone when they were trying to sell me something. I would PAY more for their magazine if they had a CLEAN cover and cut back their ads by 75%. They quickly changed the topic on me.

Did you know that the only reason why UPS and FedEx can compete with the USPS is because they are taking advantage of the legislation that created the mail service? Only the USPS can deliver mail (i.e. letters) to citizens, but it said nothing about "packages".

Elizabeth said...

I vote for Marlene's idea of just asking your mailman to toss your mail in the general direction of your mailbox as he drives by.

Ironman By Thirty said...

My mom used to have this issue because she lived on a curve which caused the snow to pile up. We shoveled out a path to get to the box, they couldn't pull all the way through. When asked, the mailman told my mom we had to clear all the way through because mail trucks don't go in reverse - no joke.

My advice. You should just remind your mailman that he is lucky to be in a vehicle at all. He could have the job of our mailman and be stuck on a walking route.

The Sean said...

Maybe a large raised finger placed on the mailbox door would do the trick??

Anonymous said...

We had this problem growing up in New York. I now live in Colorado Springs and our mail boxes on the airforce base are one large box with keys.. the base plows the walks so it's all good LOL!

BrianFlash said...

Your mailbox snow mounds and my maibox snow mounds are pretty much identical. And my mailman has been confidently delivering the mail without recourse to threats since THE STORM OF THE CENTURY.

Your mailman is a wuss.

Katie said...

Tell your mailman to suck it up!

Have fun at the Comedy Festival, its been the big news up here all week. Too bad there isn't more snow to add something new to the 6 o'clock news!

Al's CL Reviews said...

I would side with the postman if he could deliver to my house with more than a 33% accuracy rate.
Stay warm in your house. If something is important, the sender will mail you again, in March.

Xenia said...

My aunt in Iowa had a similar battle with her mailman. It got ugly. Think it ended in a draw.

The mail people here either walk or cycle their routes. No trucks even when the temps dip and the windchill picks up. Never thought I'd find the Brits to be heartier than Americans, but there you go.

The Merry said...

I think it might be time to go back to using carrier pigeons. Not only would they deliver the mail to your doorstep, they'd provide free gratuitous fertilizer for absolutely no cost. And they could even constitute a free meal if you don't want to go to the store that day.

Vava said...

How about leaving one of those reachy thingys that people in wheelchairs use on top of your mailbox as a helpful gift for the mail person? Or a note to the USPS to hire someone with longer arms for your route...

Deb said...

I've recieved those rude-ass postal letters complete with illustrations, too. Makes me cranky. I'm thinking long limbs should be a job requirement for all postal workers. It's not OUR fault that the USPS only employs mutants with tiny, useless, lil' T-Rex arms.

Stuart said...

You do know that RW stands fro "reprinted words" right!

Pappy on the run! said...

Excellent post and very well written. If you haven't penned a book by now you are missing your calling.

Nurse Becky said...

I had a similar run in with a recycling man in Texas. I had just moved there and had never had a recycling service (Apparently North Carolina doesn't recycle). So, I piled a whole bunch of stuff in the little blue bin and later that day, went to pick up my empty bin to find that it was not in fact empty, but still full and an addition of a note and brochure explaining what is recycled and what is not. I quickly found out that glass is not recycled in Texas and if you don't separate everything into their own separate bags, the recycling man leaves everything in the bin. But, he has time to write me a note to tell me why he didn't take any of it...

I say pack in more snow.

Beth said...

Obviously you didn't tip you postal working at the holidays with a lovely gift card or bottle of booze. If he realized he wasn't going to get his Jack Daniels next year then he would be willing to reach the extra 3 inches. I agree- nothing worthwhile comes in the regular mail. Wait for spring.