I believe I may have to find a black veil and a postmarked hankie soon. It appears I will be mourning the death of the old-fashioned mail, or at least visiting it in the hospital.
The United States Post Office seems to be dissolving. I have heard multiple radio reports lately discussing major closures and cutbacks planned, and its sounds grim.
“The postal service never believed that mail would go away.” Oops. Even those of us who love the written word and hand-delivered mail are primarily Internet communicators now. There’s no denying the ease and speed of it.
Still, if “hard copy” really goes away, I will be keening over the loss of a memorable part of my youth. No matter where I was, and I was in a lot of places, I always made sure I did a change of address. (Well, there was that one exception when we left Queens in the dark of night, but…) There was no joy like that of opening the mailbox and finding a brightly colored envelope addressed by hand — an unexpected letter or card. On the computer, it lacks the same visual, tactile delight.
In general, I stopped looking years ago for wonderful, thick envelopes filled with words that someone has put indelibly on a page where no computer glitch can touch it. I will be sad that young girls will lack the occasion to pick out a box of beautiful stationary with matching envelopes, perhaps lightly scented like roses. I used to choose two or three boxes, to match all my moods.
Is it any surprise that computers were largely invented by men? Most men hate to write letters and have successfully
made quick, monosyllabic responses the acceptable format now. Even the men stuck somewhere far away and lonely can get access to e-mail now. So much for love letters squeezed out by solid boredom. Hey, we girls would take them any way we could get them.
In spite of a choice of fonts and colors, I am so frequently misunderstood on e-mail. I never had a friend call and ask what I meant when I used to write real letters. I even used doodles, now called emoticons.
I became far less troubled by the closing of post offices, however, when I heard they were moving them to local supermarkets. Being the biggest fan ever of the one-stop-shop, I love that idea.
I may not write letters on paper anymore, but I continue to support the USPS by sending regular goodie-filled packages to my children and friends who have wandered out of state. Flat rate packages are the best invention since no-calorie sugar.
For now, my one die-hard girlfriend keeps the fat envelopes showing up in my mailbox and it’s still a delicious treat. Like her, I sense there will always be those who will cling to words on paper, but they will remain a sparkling rarity.
I try to reciprocate, scouring the greeting card displays for wonderful, funny missives. Though it may not be enough to keep the P.O. thriving, I give it my best shot.
Filed Under: Small Talk