an ode to the united states postal service

I have recently acquired a sweater with the most beautiful emblem on it, representing all I believe in, celebrate and practice. This blue and white image is like the rainbow I secretly hope to appear in the sky after each warm rainstorm. It is the signifier of hope, patience and art of writing in this country.

It is……….the United States Postal Service mark of dedication.

Beyond writing letters (almost) each day, I find comfort when I spot a curvy, blue mailbox to slip my envelopes inside. It reminds me that I am not only being encouraged to write, but how dedicated these postal workers are, traveling all over to empty these boxes and bring them to the chosen addressee.

I have written 125 letters to one particular human for the past six months. When I mentioned recently to someone that we live nearby and often see each other, they asked: So, what do you write in your letters? What is left to say?

I mentioned that I never plan out my sentences. I write what I see. How I feel in that moment. I write about the pigeon hopping along on three feet with what looks like bed head, staring me down as I eat a pretzel. When I crumble a few bits of it and toss it onto the ground, I write about how it pecks at it, then walks away. Perhaps the pigeon expected it to have more flavor or bite. I write about the panic attack I have on the A train which follows me onto the 4 train. I write about the way in which I abruptly head above ground, toward a farmers market, breathing in the medicinal fume of local vegetables. I write about the man standing above me on a different commute and the envy I feel for his perfectly-fitting suit and how his tie looks crisper than mine. I write that I wish I could afford a tailored suit and how different fabric looks on a body, which it was measured just for.

My postal worker in Boulder, Colorado, where I lived for a few years, was named Rusty. I often greeted him, asking him about his day and thanking him for his dedication to his job.

It’s not easy delivering mail in rain, sleet, or snow. On the coldest days of the year or the hottest.

Postal workers are my heroes. They are thankless publishers, bringing handwriting and languages to worthy recipients.

Yes, they also deliver your bills and bad messages, but if you were to have a pen pal (or several), it makes the junk mail feel less lackluster.

Thank you to all those who go door-t0-door, filling up mailboxes across the world.

And find yourself a pen pal, if you haven’t already.

(I’ve always got room for one or two more!)


Letting go of Saturdays

We need to be writing more letters.

What do you mean you bank online?

Stick a stamp in the right hand corner and send out your electricity, cable, telephone bills.

People are tapping their fingers against plastic square letters far too much to notice that the United States Postal Service suffered a $15.9 billion loss within this last year. These humans who travel in blue over thick flakes of snow and cold drips of rain and even in the sunshine when they’d prefer to be bathing beneath the yellow gaze and even on their birthday except
if it falls on a Sunday.

I used to know the name of my postal worker. Knew exactly when he’d be removing rubber band from gathered letters and lifting them into my designated box.


And right before I moved, exchanging zip code from one city to another, I wrote him a letter (which I would have mailed had I known his address) telling him how much he’d be missed.

I used to know the exact time my mail would arrive; roommates and lovers have commented on my obsessive mail-checking activities.

I know the mail came already but perhaps today is the day more will arrive.

I send letters not necessarily to get mail back (though that is nice when it happens). I send letters because so often we forget how magical it can be when we receive something other than a bill or mindless magazine.

I love Sundays because for me it is an intentional day of slowness. Maybe I will go to a museum or wake up later or watch a movie in bed or write for hours while sitting in my rocking chair. It is also the day my favorite section arrives in the New York Times (which is the one exception to this non-mail day, since the newspaper is delivered!)

Hard working postal workers take this day off, but soon we may be looking at empty mailboxes on Saturday too.

In an effort to save $2 billion, the U.S. Postal Service may be cutting down mail deliveries on Saturday, with an exception of packages.

This could turn Mondays into the most exciting day of the week: three days worth of accumulated mail delivered!

(sometimes it is necessary to take a break from pessimism in order to see the brighter side)

We may have to let go of Saturdays. So let’s make Mondays the busiest mail day of the year—a gesture toward the U.S.P.S. that we haven’t forgotten their indispensable existence.

So… an effort to aid this problem, write more.

Gather up your goods that you think _________ would appreciate and mail it out.

In all the time it takes to flutter fingers against tiny keys through text message correspondance, press your language onto paper, get a forever stamp (so many to choose from) and an envelope, and make someone’s day better.