Keeping In Touch

The U.S. Postal Service has a new service, or at least I think it’s new. New to me.

It’s called Informed Delivery, and every day they send you scans of the mail that’s going to be delivered to your mailbox. Like this.

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This is useful to me, because I rarely see the need to check the mailbox, although there can be issues with overcrowding. Other than stuff like this (yay, a check), it’s just circulars and credit card offers. Probably a lot like your mail.

I haven’t checked the mail, then, since Thursday. I know what’s in there. Most will go into the shredder, some recycled, and you bet I’m gonna cash that check, but I’ll just scan it with my phone and then THAT will go into the shredder. If you follow my thread here.

Snail mail, including paychecks, isn’t important anymore, and I’ve been thinking about that. I’m a freelance writer and I still get the occasional check, although most of that is now done through PayPal or the Cash App or Venmo, or some other form of digital transfer. My wife, who has real jobs, gets direct deposit, of course.

And apart from card-senders, who are some of my favorite people but a dying breed, people don’t mail me stuff. Why would they? If someone wanted to contact you, would the first detail you gave them be your street address? I doubt it.

So we all understand this. Life moves on, things change, it’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s both, whatever.

Oh, hey, here’s an interlude. Just thought of it. Back to mail in a sec.

I think I’ve mentioned that a group of us from our college days are planning a reunion for next summer. It’s at the dinner theater we all worked at, particularly the summer of 1983. We’re aiming for late July.

But we did that show two years in a row, a few of us, and even though this was primarily for that particular summer (when Julie and I were in the cast and got married), we’ve been encouraging the other casts from other years to join us, particularly the summer before. Four of those people were in the ’83 cast, one has passed away, and one is nowhere to be found (and no one is really interested, for various reasons).

The last one, though, is someone we remember fondly. I’ve got lots of video of her, and she was my partner in that 1982 show anyway. Eventually someone found her (different last name) on Facebook, and sent a friend request, as did I. I also followed her, so I could see what she’s up to.

Here’s why this came up. This woman seems fine, got a career going, all the things, and she posts to Facebook all sorts of things, usually either relating to her work (I think) or just stuff she cares about. I’ve written her comments. No response to those, or to the friend requests.

Here’s the thing: She could just be not the slightest bit interested in us, for whatever reason, but I don’t think so. I think she’s posting to Facebook from other sites, just pushing a “share to Facebook” button. I don’t think she actually visits the site. That’s my theory, anyway.

It just put an interesting spin on what I assumed was a given, that most people are able to be contacted these days if you’re willing to make an effort. This seemed easy. Obviously not.

And obviously I know other stuff about her, and as time gets closer I’ll look into that. Just seemed funny. A person who uses Facebook but doesn’t really use it.

OK, mail. It’s not a big thing anymore. Check it a couple of times a week, and now I’ll know more.

But I walk around my neighborhood, and on nice days I see them. Older people, obviously retired with not much to do, waiting outside, obviously for the mail. Waiting for that mail truck the way we listened for the ice cream truck jingles. The big part of the day for these folks, I imagine, and of course that’s sad, and of course this is nothing new.

EXCEPT THERE’S NO MAIL ANYMORE.

I mean, isn’t this is situation of diminishing returns? If you sit in your lawn chair for 40 minutes until the mail arrives, so you can hobble over to the box and retrieve a bunch of junk mail, wouldn’t that make it worse?

Or—new idea just coming in—maybe a service should be arranged, in which some clever person sends mail to lonely people several times a week. Occasionally a package. Certainly birthday cards.

Now I’m sorry I wrote this blog. I’m thinking this is a great idea. Never mind. Forget everything you read.

Except that part about Informed Delivery. It’s kind of cool. You should do it.

Chuck Sigars2 Comments