Mail Musings

>> Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I originally titled my blog "Random Thoughts and Suggestions" because that is often how my mind operates. I have a very Seinfeld-esque way of posing questions about the most mundane things and then taking the time to actually try to ponder out some sort of solution.

Today, I am pondering Mail. It really is a pretty neat concept. The concept (and reality) of mail is changing though, and I guess that I am getting a bit sentimental as I type here in the blogosphere instead of sending off a nice letter to someone through the good 'ole postal service. When I was a little girl, there was nothing more exciting than getting a card or letter in the mail. My grandma and family would send me cute cards with news about what was going on in exciting places like "Florida" or "Colorado". Mail at summer camp was even better yet. Ahh, the joy of hearing my name called out by the camp counselors. Words from the outside to reassure me that the world kept turning even when I was stranded on a mountain and subsisting on marshmallow s'mores.

When my curiosity got the better of me I even signed up for some PenPals. Remember those? You could get on a list and write letters to a kid in some other country and swap stories about life in their world versus yours. I must admit that I was a pitiful PenPal, but the concept was still very cool.

Now that I am a "grown-up", or a reasonable facsimile thereof, Mail has an entirely different meaning. There is Bill Mail, Junk Mail, Catalogue Mail, and of course Fun Mail. Fun Mail is the best, but sadly the rarest. I love the holidays when those cards start rolling in. I love to order presents and packages and eagerly await their arrival on my doorstep. Anything is better than Bill Mail, but packages top the list.

My mom loves to retell the story about how when she was little packages arrived via the train service. A truck would then come down her street and she'd get all happy because it meant someone was getting a present. Today, I look for the FedEx or UPS trucks (don't get me started about the lackluster performance of DHL). They come rolling up my street, and I cross my fingers that they are bringing me something exciting, and not just a delivery for the home office neighbors a few doors down.

The newest kind of mail to consider is Electronic Mail. This is the newest evolution/revolution in mail. With Email, Instant Messaging, Texting, and all that other stuff that our new gizmos give us the ability to do, we have changed the concept of Mail forever. The convenience is fabulous. I can tap out a quick note to almost anyone, hit send, and then forget about it. It is quick, efficient, and sadly, rather impersonal. Yes, I don't have to buy stamps, burn gas, or use paper. So electronic might be considered a "green" way to communicate, but given all that is involved in constructing, operating, powering, delivering, and disposing of computers, the jury is still out on that one as far as I am concerned. Sometimes, I look at my childhood stamp collection and wonder if stamps will soon be something of the past. I hope not, as I would really miss those tiny little pieces of art affixed to the corner of missives.

So, I shall conclude this rambling and somewhat incoherent discussion with a salute to the glory of Mail. Long may she be delivered and long may she help us keep in touch with our fellow humans.

Time to go watch for the UPS truck now.


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