mail call

When I was growing up, I looked forward to the mail. Sometimes we would have outgoing letters, so I could tell that the mail had arrived from the living room window because the flag was down. But more often I would walk to and from the mailbox. I didn’t get mail often, even collecting First Day Covers and writing famous people for their autographs. I subscribed during my childhood to Highlights, Cricket, Boys’ Life, Chess Life, Linn’s Stamp News, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, National Geographic World. Every month the Ontario Science Centre would send their newsletter.

I still do look forward to the mail whenever I have ordered something. But more often than not, the mail and the email and the phone calls I receive are an annoyance, distracting me from the other work I should be doing, which also arrives by these same methods (especially email).

People who don’t know me well are surprised that I don’t have a smart phone, that I don’t text, that I have disabled voicemail on my flip phone. Those are not for me — the world already has enough ways to reach me. 

The children are still delighted when they receive magazines or personal mail. It’s a rare treat to have something delivered to them. It’s a sign that the rest of the world recognizes their existence, separate from everyone who happens to live at the same address.

When did this change?

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