Entry 30: I’ve Got Mail!

For my entire life, this is how I got the mail:

Step 1: Go downstairs, or across the parking lot, to the bank of mailboxes.

Step 2: Using a key, open the mailbox assigned to my apartment or condo unit.

Step 3: Using a forceps, pull out the letters, catalogs and packages that the mail deliveryprofessional has managed to squeeze in there.

Step 4: Look through the mail, removing any correspondence intended for my neighbors.

Step 5: Stick that mail in the cracks of their mailboxes.

Step 6: Tip the mail delivery professional liberally at holiday time.

But now that we own our first real house, we have this white box on a post at the end of our driveway. It is shaped like a tunnel to nowhere, with a door on one end and a back on the other. It has a little red flag. It has an appendage beneath it, also tunnel-shaped but without the door, for newspapers. It is precisely the kind of set up that the movies show being demolished by delinquent teenagers.

Apparently, the mail delivery professional here drives up to my mailbox in his little steering-wheel-on-the-British-side truck, opens the door, and puts my mail inside. For the first time in my life, my mailbox does not have any sort of lock on it. That’s how safe Connecticut is.

Then there is the matter of the little red flag, which I assumed was there to be raised by the mail delivery professional to indicate that the mail has been delivered, so that I would not be constantly schlepping down my steeply inclined driveway to see if the mail is there, only to be disappointed and have to trudge back up empty-handed.

But I am told that the red flag isn’t for that at all.

For my entire life, this is how I sent mail:

Step 1: Walk or drive to the nearest mailbox.

Step 2: Open door and insert mail.

Step 3: Open door again to make sure the mail had been swallowed by the box.

However, there are virtually no mailboxes in North Stamford. Instead, you are evidently supposed to put outgoing mail in your mailbox and then raise the red flag to indicate to the mail delivery professional that there is mail in the box for him to pick up. I would think he’d notice the outgoing mail sitting in there when he went to insert the incoming mail, but there you go. He takes your outgoing mail, inserts the incoming mail, and puts the red flag down so that it is in the “ready” position next time I want to send something.

So now I try to send a letter every day. If, on one day, I have two things to send, I’ll save one for the following day. I put it in the mailbox in the morning when I fetch the newspaper from the auxiliary, doorless mailbox, and I raise the flag. Then, before I shlep down my 45-degree-angle driveway, I look to see if the flag is down.

Yup, I’m really getting this owning a home thing down to a science.

See you soon.

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