I’m going to go out on a limb and say that not very many people in LA are on a first name basis with their mailman. And probably very few people have their mailman’s cell phone number. And maybe even fewer people actually get called up by their mailman on a weekly basis. Am I right?
Well, guess what, all of those things above… Yup, me and Darren, my mailman. We have a special relationship.
What fostered our relationship is he fact that we never get our mail. Correction: we never get any piece of mail that actually matters. We get all the junk. All the time. We even get our neighbors’ junk mail from time to time. (I mean, can one ever have too many Bed, Bath and Beyond in-store coupons?)
You know that motto that postal people are supposedly supposed to follow, about how neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom, blah blah, will keep them from delivering the mail? Well, we don’t have any of things in LA. In fact, I often look at the mailmen and women, in their shorts uniforms, strolling along flat street neighborhoods with their nifty mail carts, and I envy their jobs. While I’m stuck breathing dusty, 60-degree air, sitting in a cubicle staring at a computer screen all day, with no real sense of privacy or autonomy, they’re out in the fresh air getting exercise and feeling the warm sunshine on their skin. I suppose the biggest downside would be papercuts, but surely, there’s some sort of glove to protect against that.
I don’t even want to think about all the mail that’s out there with my name on it that I’ll never ever get to see. The mail that is at the bottom of a mail pile somewhere in the post office or in a mail truck or god knows where in between. But when I have something coming that I know is coming because I ordered it and it’s time sensitive (like my wedding save the dates!), I’m on the lookout for it.
(Small pause for a big announcement: I’m getting MARRIED! *happy dance*)
So, I’m stalking UPS tracking trying to figure out where the heck my design proof is, and for days, it’s telling me that it’s been delivered to the local post office and it’s in transit to my house by the good ol’ USPS (who, coincidentally, has lost so many of my fiance’s Amazon packages that he has a special notation on his Amazon account that the post office is forbidden to deliver his orders). When I’m out out walking my dog, I spot my mailman, so I flag him down and explain that this parcel that is allegedly in his possession is woefully late. He proceeds, in his kind and gentle demeanor, to tell me that “a lot” of my neighbors have been saying lately that they too have not been not receiving their mail. He seems genuinely perplexed by this. He takes down my cell phone number and promises to call me back after he’s looked into it at the post office the next morning.
So I get a call from him the next day, and he leaves a voicemail saying that he “found” my letter in his truck and that he’d drop it by the house on his route that day. He apologizes and tells me, “I hope it’s not too late!”
In the meantime, I’d placed a re-order for the proof because I was convinced that the original was lost in the mail forever. And since then, we’ve ordered two more proofs because we didn’t love the first design. Each subsequent parcel from this sender has been hand delivered to my doorstep, and Darren calls me every time to make sure I got it, and to ask if there are more coming for him to keep an eye out for.
I had a missed call and voicemail the other day from a number I didn’t recognize. My phone wouldn’t let me hear the message, and I kept trying to for a few days. Finally, I just called the number back, in case it might be important. Turns out it was Darren. We ended up having a five minute conversation that ended with him suggesting that I add his name to my phone, “Darren the mailman!” so I’ll know it’s him calling next time.