writing letters for a hobby
“I write letters for a hobby” said the postal clerk as he prepared the postage for my two letters and one postcard yesterday at the post office.
“I do too,” I replied, vaguely gesturing towards the items in his hands. I wondered where the conversation would go. It was one of those rare, quiet moments at the post office. There were three clerks behind the counter and I was the only customer.
“I also remember when postage was a lot cheaper,” I added as an afterthought.
“Yep, that’s true and I can’t tell you that quality of the service has changed” mister postal clerk said, adding in his own afterthought: “I write poetry on the back of telephone bills.”
While mister post office clerk shuffled through his folder of stamps, I hesitated but then said “Well, if I were to write poetry on the back of a bill I’d write on the electric bill because …”
Though I had more to say, I was cut off with the clerk exclaiming “Oh! The King. The stamp I’ve got for the USA is the king. Is that OK?”
What was I going to say? “Good grief, not that guy!”
I mean really, I may not be an monarchist, but how much did I care about the image on the stamp? A little bit obviously. I still am thinking about it today. Were there other options? But I said, “That’s fine. Thank you.”
I paid and left. And smiled and shook my head the whole way home. And I still am today.
Trips to the post office, wherever in the world, can be that universal nightmare of long lines, misinformation and discourteous service, or quirky little snatchs of some other person’s reality. A shared moment. And sometimes, fun. Perhaps not an encounter deeply enriching or life-changing but that snug, warm, yeah all is good with humanity kind of embrace.
That is probably one of the other reasons I write letters. The passing of messages from hand to hand and all the conversations in between and around and before and after …
2020 keeping in touch plan
I have written before about my letter-writing hobby as a way to draw together threads of important, long-standing relationships from the various chapters of my life all the while time and distance also march on.
As my third trip to the post office in 2020 demonstrates, I am keeping up my letter-writing. Not at a sonic pace, but steady. Remember there are usually three or more letters when I post.
Out of the blue and naturally a few other connections have emerged this year. Friends being in touch via good old fashioned email or other social media platforms. Bam! Those are nice surprises too.
I do still prefer a letter. But digital communication is welcome and lovely, isn’t it? And even better a spontanenous phone call or face to face visit, which have also happened a few times already this year. Yes, connecting via that good old fashioned technology of the “telephone” (or voice over internet platforms to be preccise, but you know what I mean).
Yippee, huh? I love these sorts of little unexpected gifts from the universe. It feels like life is giving me a hug.
And what a good idea and easy task. A relaxed, long chat can really fill in the gaps or clear up doubts about what’s been going on with a friend that we haven’t seen for a while. Or short yet regular chats with another friend is another approach we’re trying to keeping in better touch this year.
And in between all this I will just keep writing letters and I hope to catch up with as many of you as possible this year. One way or another.