The other day, I found a slip from the postman saying that he’d tried (and failed) to reach me about a package. I’d been home but my doorbell shorted during a rainstorm in December.
It brought back all the frustration of living in a secured building in L.A. where it seemed to be the policy of the postal workers to leave a slip in my box without even trying to contact me. I understood that I lived in a big building and it might be time prohibitive to actually deliver our packages to us, but my door was 15 feet from the mailboxes and they never even tried.
Frustrated, I ran out to the store trying to beat a storm. When I returned, I did see the mail truck less than a block away and I did think of stopping to ask for my package so I wouldn’t have to GPS my way to some post office when things reopened Monday, but I thought – it’s raining and they won’t care anyway.
I parked and the mail truck pulled up next to me. The postman asked if I was the resident there then said he’d be happy to wait while I ran up to get the slip. We chatted briefly and he had spotted my car (he knew which car was mine?) pulling up so thought he’d give it a try. He knew where I’d come from (because of the forwarded mail), and a few other details return addresses would reveal.
No alarm bells went off but I have to say it was shocking to me that this stranger knew my car, my address, who pays me, who I owe, etc. I suppose every postperson I’ve had would have had this information, but until that moment, none of them seemed to notice me. In the era of identity theft, it gave me pause, but the overwhelming feeling was that I’m part of a community. Like Steve Martin’s character in The Jerk when he discovers his name in the phone book and feels like a somebody, I felt like a neighbor in a neighborhood.
While on the topic of mail, thank you to my sainted friend, Emily, who sent almond macaroon cookies from Vaccarro’s during a recent job in Baltimore.
I felt like the Julie character in Julie and Julia when her blog led to people sending food. (And, yes, I often see moments in life as being like moments in movies – art imitating life imitating art… My mother used to be a therapist and said that movies are emotional shorthand, they allow two unrelated people to communicate complex feelings by saying, “Did you see that scene in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape where Johnny Depp leaves Leonardo Di Caprio in the tub and comes home and finds him still there shivering – it was like that.”)
I’m grateful for the cookies, Janell’s offer of Trader Joe’s food and for all of you who’ve been putting my blog on your Facebook page.