Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Mail Slot


Every place I've lived in has had set of locked mailboxes for receiving mail. Some such setups more or less remote from my actual living quarters, but always somewhere that required me to deliberately go to the mailbox, without prior knowledge of whether there was actually something there, to see if there was new mail. 

Much of the time, this felt like quite a nuisance. Seriously, I have to walk the whole 30 feet across the parking lot to the mailbox, and the card/magazine/whatever might not even be there?

How do bloggers who routinely use GIFs continue to
write the rest of their post?! So distracting.

Until our current apartment, which is a townhouse setup. I imagine at least partly because every unit has a ground floor entry way, the mail setup isn't locked boxes, but mail slots in the front doors. At first, this seemed pretty awesome! No walking out to the mailbox (especially in the rain!), no extra key on my keychain (I take an excessive amount of pride in my minimalist keychain). The mail comes right into my house!

But it didn't take too long to realize the downside: the mail comes right into my house.

The multi-page coupon mailers that drift apart and spreads out its lightweight sheets over a 3 foot radius. The business internet service ads that come to our residential address for "current business owner", by a company that when I called had no comprehension of how to remove me from a mailing list without providing a related (non-existent) account number. The stupid insurance company that apparently bought information from the marriage license department and labels their envelope as if it's from the government agency, and actually  successfully faked me out the first time. 

All these items that piss me off, arrive in my home where I can't help but see them. I can't just choose to not check the mail today; they're imposed upon me regardless. (I do, of course, take steps to get off mailing lists, but it doesn't always work, and even when it does it takes time and more items are mailed in the interim.)

Even the wanted mail items arrive directly in my home. And I'm not sure that's a good thing either. Where's the suspense? Where's the building excitement? When we were receiving wedding cards, it was a pleasant surprise to come home and see it. If I was in a good mood, it made it even better; if I was in a bad mood, it might turn around. Or if I'm in a bad mood I might fail to fully appreciate what would otherwise be quite enjoyable.

I think there's something to be said for preparing yourself even for a pleasant surprise, for walking to the mailbox after a frustrating day with anticipation building and wondering if there will be something there to lift your spirits. There might be benefit in having the option to only bring the paper intruders - both good or bad - into your home when you've deliberately chosen to, not whenever they happen to arrive.

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