Waiting For All Those Letters

There is something fundamentally indecent about attacking the United States Postal Service. That's a thing that should be off limits, part of that third rail of American politics where Social Security resides. It should result in automatic disqualification for higher office when a politician messes with the constant and reliable flow of the mail.

Stories like this are helpful as far as understanding why this matters:
My favorite activity, my only faithful daily ritual, is to check the mail. My husband pokes fun, but whenever I’m not traveling he lovingly leaves the task to me. These days, it goes without saying, I’m always home. And while time has become a confounding concept of late (What day is it? How many weeks have gone by? How many months? How often have I cooked this exact same meal?), one reliable marker of pandemic time passing is that once a day the mail arrives, and once a day I go outside to lift the mailbox’s creeky lid. Some days something interesting comes, most days it does not. But every day there’s the possibility of arrival.
What is it that I’m waiting for? Some days I’m expecting a check from one of the various, and inevitably delayed, writing commissions I’m owed. Some days I’m expecting a package—a book, my new toothbrush head, one of the several floral onesies I’ve purchased on Etsy in the past few months in order to brighten my mood and rid my mornings of the burden of too much choice (a jumpsuit is the energy bar of clothing: efficient, a complete outfit unto itself.) But most of all, I’m hoping for a letter, that old fashioned language of love.

My correspondence with loved ones, and particularly fellow artists, is what has kept me aloft in recent months in this era of devastating loss. Their letters, postcards and care packages have reminded me that there is still real, thrumming life out there, on the other side of my door, through the toxic smoke of the California wildfires and the haze of so much uncertainty, and that there is a reason to keep writing.
Veterans are waiting for prescriptions. Kids are waiting for learning materials. A million things that we never imagined we'd ever buy through the Internet and get through the mail are now flowing into our homes in a never ending river of brown boxes with the Amazon smile on the side. How the hell could anyone survive tearing out sorting machines and slowing down the damned mail?

I will never understand it.

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