Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When I impersonate a matador

As you can probably tell from the lack of posting, life has been a bit chaotic recently, and some things have been pushed to the last minute. For some tasks, that’s not an issue, but for others it can have amusing results.

Such as mailing letters.

I even have a dedicated box filled with all sorts of notecards.
Mailing letters (thank you notes in particular) fills many hours of my week—and I do love it as much as I might grumble over what can seem like an endless task. It’s a chance to express my gratitude, to pray over people, to offer encouragement, to be humbled at their love. However, finding cost-effective thank you notes that aren’t too frilly or too sparkly or too pathetic is a task for a Private Eye, which means I scour stores and clip coupons and have become adept at peering into shelving crannies to find the last 10-pack on sale—envelopes included. If there was stock in the Wyoming Post Office, I would buy it, seeing as I must single-handedly contribute a high percentage to their mailings.

My view from my desk. In red is the infamous mailbox.

On my street, the mail is picked up anytime between noon and 6 pm, and so, the tension begins building for me about 11 am, when I realize that I haven’t stamped, addressed, or perhaps even finished my daily thank you notes. I sit at my desk, curling my handwriting over the card in grateful appreciation…and always throwing quick glances over my shoulder out my window (strategically positioned to see the streetside mailbox). There, done. I breathe in relief. Then panic as I watch my computer’s clock change. 1:14. Digital clocks give no warning of passing seconds.

I search through the hundreds of addresses—is it Ms. or Mrs.? My ear strains for the distinctive, high whine of the mail truck, and the speed at which I rifle through the drawer for that last book of stamps slowly increases into a frenetic pace. 1:15. Hurry, hurry!

I can almost hear the movie soundtrack, violins quivering in anticipation. Has it come yet? Will I make it?

Folding the letter, tucking it in, almost…NO! I see the perky little truck zip to my mail box, tuck the letters into the mouth, begin to drive…

I smash the stamp on the letter, flying down the stairs. Front door…No shoes…wait, still snow! Yes, shoes! Past sleeping dogs, now awake, blinking. Out the door, down the sidewalk—I can’t see the truck anymore!

As I tore down my driveway like one of those sprinters in high-stakes races, it occurred to me that this was a scene that belonged in a movie. Not at 1:16 pm on a Tuesday afternoon. That maybe I was over-reacting.

Funny how those thoughts only occur later, when you’re standing in the middle of the street, panting from the adrenaline high, strategizing interception routes as you realize the mail truck must circle the cul-de-sac and return down this same road.

There was only one mailbox left—one chance! The truck slowed and I sprinted, waving my fistful of letters like a postal matador, and dodging to the side as it braked next to me.

“Would you…” I gulped my breathing under control, trying nonchalantly to act like the idea just occurred to me, “please mail these?”

She grinned. I shrugged.

Just another day in the life of support-raising.