Thursday, March 02, 2006

I watch the sun come up while you're sleeping it off

I have this bizarre fear of the mailman. I'm not afraid of him, exactly, I just don't like being there when he delivers the mail. I never used to be home when the mail was delivered (usually around 11 in the morning) because I was always at work. Now that I'm home every day, I'm always acutely aware of when the mailman is going to come.

It's usually the same guy, a gruff stocky older guy with a buzzed haircut and a salt-and-pepper beard. His name is Joe. I know this because one year we left him a Christmas card addressed only to "Mailman" with ten bucks in it and he gave us a card in return that was signed "Thank you, Joe (last name)."*

That was before the Great Snow Shoveling Dispute of '05. We went away for a week in March of last year, when I was six months pregnant with Nolan. It was kind of our last hurrah Vacation By Ourselves Before The Baby. We went to California and spent half the week with KB's mom in the bay area and the other half in LA with various friends from our old lives. We had a cat sitter come once a day to feed the kitties, bring in the mail, etc.

Well, the first day we were in California, it snowed about a foot back in Boston. The cat sitter didn't shovel the walk, of course, because why would she? She could still get into the house, and we weren't paying her to shovel our walk for us. So the mailman decides that we aren't holding up our end of the mailman/resident contract for mail delivery, whatever that is, and stops delivering our mail. Apparently the whole "Neither rain nor snow nor dark of night" thing is no longer a going concern for the US Postal Service.

The whole week we got no mail. The cat sitter told us about it when we got back. We shovelled our walk, but still no mail. KB called our post office to complain, and the supervisor transferred his call to our actual mailman, Joe. KB was like, "What the fuck, dude? Where's our mail?" and the postman said since it wasn't safe for him to come up our sidewalk to the door (we have a mail slot in the door rather than a mailbox), he didn't deliver the mail. KB was like, "The walk's clear now. Why haven't you delivered our mail? Are we being punished?" And the mailman totally denied he was being punitive, but the next day we got that day's mail. We had to physically go down to the post office to get the backlog of mail, he wouldn't deliver it to us.

Ever since then, our relationship with Joe the Mailman has deteriorated. A week later when the snow started to melt off the roof of the house, we had some icicles hanging over the front porch, and we got a note with our mail saying, "Clear icicles off of overhang." The unspoken threat was, "Or I'll stop delivering your mail again, you douchebags." So we cleared the icicles. (That word doesn't look right. Icicles? Icycles? Iceicles?)

Now it's kind of a running joke for us. Whenever it snows (which thankfully hasn't been much this winter) we joke that we'd better hurry up and shovel so Joe the Mailman won't put out a contract on us. Needless to say, Joe did not get ten bucks in a card from us this past Christmas.

So now that I'm home during the day, I feel weird being there when he brings the mail. If I happen to be right by the front door when he comes, I freeze. Like he can sense movement. I'm weirdly afraid he'll bend down and peek through the slot and go, "I see you in there." That would be creepy. Sometimes I work up my nerve to open the door and take the mail from him directly. I always say, "Thank you!" real bright and friendly-like, like I'm so thrilled he's managed to hand me my mail, and he always gives me this "Welcome." that sounds affronted, like, "It's my frickin' job, lady, I have no choice."

I'm probably overthinking the whole thing - I'm sure he has about a thousand houses he delivers to, and we may not even be a blip on his radar screen. But I'm still relieved when there's a relief mailperson on duty instead of Joe.

Thanks for reading.

*It was a Christmas card, but the theme was monkeys. There were three monkeys celebrating Christmas on the front of the card - wrapping presents, drinking, and eating. All I could think was, "Monkey card?"


Adams said...

Mama, can you hear me?

Caroline, I know that's you. I just know it!

Isn't it?

thptpth said...

Do you have a tatoo that's the Chinese symbol for "honkey?"

Now you say back, "Caroline, that just gets funnier every time you say it."

It's me.

thptpth said...

It's me, and I can't spell "tattoo."

Electric Mayhem said...

You two. I just totally "lol"'d at my desk at work, and now they know that I'm screwing around and not playing air traffic controller for ungrateful comedians.

Dammit, I'd totally forgotten about that memory from Vegas. Cheers from the Quark Bar. Dry ice drinks for everyone.

Adams said...

Caroline, that just gets funnier every time you say it. In fact, I'm campaigning for more white people to start using the word "honky." Keep it real, girl!