Until I moved to the city, I always enjoyed (expected) personal delivery of my mail into my mailbox at the end of our extensive driveway in New Mexico. I have fond memories of that mailbox ranging from reactions about the things received, good wishes with the packages sent, and, of course, the special delivery the day before the box was installed when two of my sons locked their youngest brother inside “to see how much the box would hold.”
Since living in Austin, we receive our mail via one in a cluster of mailboxes. (By the way, it costs $353 a year per address for anyone to receive at-their-door mail. Curbside delivery runs $224 per address, and cluster boxes cut that cost to $160 per box annually. You’re welcome.) I don’t have any beef with clustering–all the better because the boxes are located in a lush park with soccer fields about three blocks away. That’s all peachy… when it works.
Return to sender.
Not at this address.
Something about putting the correct envelope in the appropriate box with matching addresses… well, that’s a problem. The boxes have sequential numbers that have no relevance to our house address. This doesn’t seem to require rocket science—coordinating number twelve box with house number 3506, but it’s not intuitive either. Mis-delivery is a growing issue–a trending topic on our neighborhood forum. A first-world aggravation.
Several months ago, Mark (hubby) and I took up the practice of holding onto the neighborhood mail mistakenly left in our box and hand-delivering these ourselves when we take an evening walk. We have met some nice people, and everyone has been appreciative.
On one such night we handed off mail and struck up a really interesting and particularly warm conversation. Both husband and wife joined us on the porch as well as their son riding his new bike in the street. We were walking our dogs so each of “them” met each of “us,” and it was a lovely half hour. Nothing more… until—
About a month later unbeknownst to us, one of our backyard gates broke on the hinges. Mark and I were out of town. Only my mom was home. It was quite late when Mother woke us up with a phone call. Harper, our Belgian Shepherd, had escaped through the broken gate and wandered the neighborhood until she was miraculously recognized and graciously returned by, you guessed it—the family whose mail we’d recently returned. One good deed…
Something positive comes from every mis-turn, and if it happens to start with the U.S. Postal service, give them some grace. Be creative! Lemonade comes from many things besides lemons. Wherever a reason for aggravation is born, expect the reciprocal reason for appreciation to follow. Nothing positive apparent on your horizon? Wait for it! Wait… the appropriate contents are always returned to the sender.
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