Friday, April 09, 2010


All of my adult life, which began in earnest at about forty or so, I have been plagued by mail. It comes, every day, unsolicited piles of it, each piece demanding my time and attention, neither of which I have to spare. Avoidance, however, is more time consuming, mentally and physically, shifting uneven piles of shit from one place to the next, purchasing yet another plastic box to store it in until I have time to deal with it. The illusion of organization, always just out of reach.

Now, "dealing with it" just isn't that hard. I know this. I know I know I know. All I would have to do is to hold each piece in my hand, identify it, open it, scan the contents, and ususally, toss it. but do I do this? I do not. I wait months, years even, to go through boxes and bags marked "later" and "even later than that."

I'm exaggerating, as usual.

But I used to. I used to have mail bags big as the Pony Express. Great heaving sacks of unopened mail: bills, notices, refunds, advertising... you know. At one point I asked my old friend Vivian to sit with me while I opened all of it I was so scared of what I might find. There were bills, of course, but I remember one check for 85 bucks that I really needed, a refund from the electric company of all places. But the thing about the electric company is that if you don't open their bills, they'll just eventually come to your door and bring it to you in person. That was a pretty long time ago, but it was, for me, disincentive to open my mail. Or pay my bill for that matter, but that's another story for another time.

I have always been good about reading letters. And writing them. I love letters. I like email okay, but really, I miss 13 page letters from Lorretta on scraps of paper and beautiful stationery. It was kind of like a competition to see who could find the most interesting paper. I was a good letter-writer. So was Joyce, my sister in law. We wrote piles of letters back and forth rather than picking up the phone. Now, all I get is an email from time to time. And the rare phone call.

What's the point? I do have one. I just plowed through a pile of mail and it was all just crap, and I'd been avoiding it for two years, just moving it here and there, dedicating a drawer to it, a nice wooden box. But I couldn't just throw it away. I had to do my time, give it its due. Because in my piles, there are bits of writing, some of it good; there were 100 dollar bills with GW Bush's face on them, and old photographs of my neice's kids, and a great recipe for lemon curd, so I can't just toss the pearls out with the paper.

Finally getting through the pile always makes me feel like cleaning house. Freedom. but instead of cleaning, I saved my gardening overalls for another year. I sewed on about ten more patches over the patches from last year, so they should be good for awhile. They are my favorite pants. I actually wore them out of the yard today and got a few looks, but who cares. They have character.

Gardening update: Tomorrow is fuschia saturday at Freddy's. I'm taking five pots. I'm being somewhat conservative because I am also taking pots from work. I don't want to seem over-eager.

The big bowl I made last year -- the one with spring bulbs, didn't make it through the winter. I think they froze and rotted. Truth be told, they didn't do all that well over the summer. When I dug into it, the bulbs were all just gooey white muck. I replanted it with these trailing flowers, kind of a cross between evening primrose and petunias, only smaller. Orange and purple. Should be pretty. And although I built a handmade pea trellis, I found a nicer one for pretty cheap, so replaced it. It is bamboo, stretchy, and not so tall.


PamBo said...

Your blog made me smile and giggle and she depressed.....or just nutty?
At any rate, it was entertaining and reminded me of my late Grandma who NEVER, EVER threw stuff away. She'd recieve poetry anthologies from all over the world and saved the big brown envelopes with the colorful, interesting stamps on them for us kids.
As adults, we learned to tell her no when asked if we needed the envelopes for anything. Although, sometimes I took them (and other stuff, like cleaned up, labeless tin cans) just to make her feel good.
My mom (her daughter) made the mistake once of telling her, "oh yeah...I'll take those envelopes, I can use them to put under the mulch to help prevent weed growth!"
Grandma snatched that stack of envelopes back so fast, her hand was blurred (quite a feat for a 95 year old!) and told her, "YOU WILL NOT!!" Mom and I laughed so hard. I told mom to NEVER tell Grandma what you're going to do with what she give you!
Anyway, I enjoyed your blog and will sign up as a follower.
I hope your C5 area gets better!
And yeah, hand sewing is beautifully theraputic....even if you aren't depressed, but just nutty! haha

Anonymous said...

I like this piece as much as any you've written, couldn't have said it better, but you sure nailed it about the mail... and bills.

dokprofessor said...

yes, patched overalls have character, and if you ask me, old overalls is simply the best overall clothing thing ever invented, getting better and better to the bitter end ! overall greetings from Niels, like your blog !