Saturday, January 11, 2014

You've Got Mail

I love getting mail. I'm not talking about electronic mail. I'm talking about real mail...the paper kind that has actually been sent by someone. Sure, there are often a lot of bills, flyers and assorted junk, but every now and again there are pleasant surprises.

Today I picked up the mail at our community mailbox. It's that super mailbox on the corner that is being proposed for all Canadian citizens because, how does the quote from the CEO of Canada Post go?  "Ending home delivery and shifting millions of Canadians to community mailboxes offers at least one unintended upside - more exercise for seniors."
Found this on Facebook "Meanwhile in Canada".
The truth is, it's cheaper. It's a cost cutting option. There'll eventually be less service costing more money. I believe that Canada Post is downsizing itself into extinction. With the increased use of couriers, email, texting, Skype, paperless everything and other technology, physical mail will one day be a thing of the past. Sad really. By the way, has anyone noticed that our stamps have now gone up to a dollar?  You'll know you're really special if you get a Christmas card from me next year. But alas, I digress.

We have actually had the good fortune that has been afforded only a quarter of the population to this point. We're in a newer neighbourhood and therefore have had a community mailbox all along. As my 84 year old neighbour can attest, she was particularly appreciative of the opportunity to walk several blocks and get her exercise during the recent ice storm, power outages and fallen/falling trees.

Just as it's sad to see the disappearance of cursive writing, I think it will be even sadder not to see any personalized handwritten mail.

I have a small collection of postcards which I have saved. My grandpa sent some to grandma during the war. Mom sent some to dad after he first came to Canada and vice versa. I sent a few to my parents at some point. I suppose postcards were a quicker way to reach the other person than a full length letter. They were also a way of sharing an experience and they usually arrived in less than a week. How wonderful is it to have these memories?

A friend asked me to send her a postcard while I was away last unusual request. I had fun being silly and writing them and I sent not one, but six. I dated them and mailed them on different occasions and from different places, hoping that one would arrive on her doorstep every few days. I was gone over a month. The postcards arrived two weeks after I returned and all at once. I'm not certain when and where the postal service broke down, but the fact remains that even with faster travel and frequent air service, sending mail is not efficient any more.
So for now, as we check our community mailboxes, we might still see some surprises. In the future, there might be nothing more than ads and the occasional bill or magazine. There'll be no urgency to go to the superbox. Then where will the seniors get their exercise?

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