(I found this randomly today, first written on 12-10-04 and not touched since then. I re-read it and decided that I was either drinking, really bored or just going out of my mind. Though it was probably a little bit of all three. It wanders a lot, but I like the last paragraph about soda and how water brings all of the rambling into some sort of arrangement….)
I have a very tardy mailman. Come to think of it, I always have. While most people are mail-content by noon, I am usually waiting til 3 or 4 and sometimes 5. It’s not a big concern really. But I’ve moved upstairs now, and hearing the front door, if there happens to be a large package that doesn’t fit inside the door, is a problem now. I’m not worried about thieves of theft or any pieces of hopefully big packages falling to the wayside because they don’t fit in the front door and I’m too far away to hear the mailman knocking; I’m worried about the rain. I’ve had several packages not get stolen and not fit inside the door, that have gotten wet. Very wet. I guess my problem really isn’t with a lifetime of tardy mail deliveries, it’s with water. I can drink it and use it to dispose of food particles and bodily waste, but I don’t want it to touch me or my belongings unless it’s under controlled circumstances, like that of the shower. I often wonder if there ever were a time when being wetted by the elements was perceived as welcoming, or if humans and our ancestral line always viewed dire elements as enemies.
I try to think what animals still in a somewhat natural habitat do on rainy days, and the stray cats in the neighborhood possess the same natural aversion to water that humans have. So I’ve assumed in the past that they would be pissed had they moved their office upstairs, couldn’t hear the mailman’s knock at the door and then opened the door some hours later to a wet package. But they’re cats and that’s a far stretch of the imagination for anyone to take. Cats don’t get mail. People get mail. Wet mail if that person is me and the day calls for rain. Oh you tardy mailman.
I’ve seen this mailman at earlier intervals in the day. Around noon, in the Quick Chek, waiting to pay for 3-4 different articles of chocolate-based candy. He’s got a candy fix, easily fixed by Quick Chek’s 3 for $2 candy policy. And so it goes; M&M bars, Twix and Chunky’s, all held together in one hand, while the other one grapples onto a 20 oz. paper cup of QC (assume that’s the abbreviation for Quick Chek here on out) coffee that is supposed to be fresh and strong, but always weak and old. And I’ve seen this similar circumstance multiple times, but I don’t feel that it’s my place to make conversation with him outside of our standard place of business; my front door, him on the porch, me bracing the storm door open and trying my best to bar any cats from getting outside while I wrestle packages back inside. He seems cordial during these encounters, but I feel that possessing the knowledge that these encounters are fueled solely on bad coffee, sugar and artificially flavored chocolate would taint any future displays of cordiality we might have. He would know that I know that he’s a sugar fiend, and then he’d feel shameful around me in the way that an alcoholic might lament over themselves when the cat is out of the bag around friends. (There’s no cats in bags here. It’s a figurative statement.) I’d try to force an apple on him. He would recoil in shame, and all future encounters would be utterly uncomfortable on both behalfs. Maybe that’s why he’s tardy, but probably not. Had I come into adulthood as a government employee given free reign every day of the year, I would assuredly be tardy and sugar-fueled and oh so weary of the rain. In a way, mail man are the stray cats of the governmental work force, only they don’t beg for food and start fights with other neighborhood cats. They’re not really governmental or symbolic stray cats at all, they both just have an aversion to the rain. Plastic coverings would help both of them.
I make a note that plastic really isn’t as bad as the environment makes it out to be. The parts of the environment covered in plastic don’t get wet, and if they were thinking like a stray cat or a mail man, that would be a good thing. But it doesn’t seem to matter to the inanimate though. They seem to like getting rained and snowed on, if the opportunity arises. It’s not the be all, tell all difference between mammals and the inanimate, but it’s one small piece of the puzzle to tell the two apart.
I had previously been having a moral argument amongst myself over the various fors and againsts involving the use of plastic. I was using it frivolously and needed to do something about. When I tried to be conservative with the amount of plastic I used in public places that also sold more disposable plastic, I was told, “Don’t use your plastic. Spend your hard-earned money on our plastic or you will need to leave.” I vowed not to leave, under the condition that i purchase recyclable glass from the place, which held beer instead of water. It wasn’t a battle over who’s plastic merited better qualities; it was more a battle over spending or not spending money, which is what all personal moral arguments always come back to for me. Should I go to see the movie in the theater or wait for it come on video. On the one hand, it’s $9 to get into the movies, but the sight and sound are better. On the other hand, Pepsi probably paid for the stereo sound and high-definition screen, and why do I need to pad their pockets anymore than they already are? I wonder if my mail man drank Pepsi on the days when QC coffee was really lacking in substance? One the one hand, Pepsi’s flavor is static, and he would undoubtedly appreciate the high volumes of sugar and caffeine. On the other hand, it’s a larger corporation than QC, and who did he want to support more? See what I mean? On the one hand, I might be spending money, but on the other hand, I’m consistently worried about where I want to spend what little money I have. Same goes for my mail man’s choices of drink, and why I can’t decide whether or not to go see movies down the road or wait til they reach my house. The only absolute in both equations is that time is passed easily. I wonder if my mail man was a Coke or Pepsi man.
I have wanted to be a neither man for quite some time, but when all else fails, I’ve reached for Pepsi over Coke time and again. Everyone would love to lament over rooting for the little guy and why choosing Pepsi isn’t the choice of a new generation, but a choice for the one with less of a fighting chance. But the honest truth is, I just like it cause I can drink more of it faster without getting that soda water upheaval feeling in the back of my throat. It goes down easier physically, and I like their ads just a bit better as well, which makes it go down easier socially. Soda’s social ubiquitousness is strange in a society where water in uncontrolled circumstances is deemed harmful. Soda to me is the ultimate form of out-of-control water, chemically and socially, and yet we welcome it into out hearts and minds and ask that it mend social ills and spark romances. We want nothing more than to be surrounded by it, and in many forms we are, but take away the coloring and the sugar and the caffeine, and it is once again an enemy, of the mail man, the stray cats and my lonely wet packages.
Some things, I’ll never understand. I know this and know it well.