M is for Mail

Our local post office has a picture of the old Spanish King hanging on the wall.  It’s not hanging completely straight, which troubles me. The sun must have reached one part of the picture more, because it’s slightly faded on one side.

An old style day calendar is on the other wall, stuck on a different date than it is today, it’s one of those calendars where you have to change the numbers, at one time it must have been very modern.

Why did they decide to no longer change it on that particular day? Is it a reminder to the post man,  did something happen to him that day is only he privy to it? Did it seem pointless to change the date as the days had blended into one monotone cocktail? Or is it an intellectual joke, not allowing the calendar to be correct, apart from one day a year and have costumers ask themselves questions, like I am doing at this moment in time?

I like the mail man who works  in the post office. He’s got kind eyes and always smiles and I’m pretty sure he’s in some way related to Enraged Enrique. The longer I’ve lived here, the more I recognise the branches of the different family trees.

But however nice he is, there’s also something awkward about him, which makes me feel uncomfortable. Maybe it’s better to use another envelope for that… you have to write the address exactly there…I’ll check the price again, did you want it by express or standard? He’s always giving me too many choices I’d rather not have. I just want to send this letter.

There is a giant sorting table behind the counter which is always empty. Like a conveyor belt in an unused airport.

It’s too big, this post office, and too modern. The calendar and the mailman belong in  a tiny office in a non distinctive building, somewhere in a backstreet, a post office you could barely recognise.

*

Our mail gets delivered by car, by a mail lady.  She wears just that bit too much eyeliner and  her hair worries me. I know this is fashion now, but my brain always reacts to colours like that with pity, just in case something has gone wrong and she simply grabbed the wrong bottle when trying to get rid of the grey hairs.  Always a smile, but when she arrives with certified mail I know I’ll have to wait 10 minutes or so. She simply hasn’t been able to get the hang of the hand-held device. Give me that passport number again love.

The previous mail lady was a numerical genius. I have no idea what happened to her. It seems impolite to ask. She knew my passport number, which is Dutch and consists of a series of letters and numbers, by heart and reeled it off whenever I had certified mail.

Wrongly addressed mail always reaches me. There aren’t many people with just the one surname in the area.  But foreign letters end up here too, or the mail lady comes and asks me if it is maybe for me.

Not long ago there was this letter which had the village name mentioned on the address, but I didn’t recognise the  (not Spanish) name of the person. The mail lady and I were quite puzzled about this until I looked again, it was actually supposed to have gone to Romania. Turned out that our village has a namesake.

There is a possibility that mail from our village ends up there.

I like that idea, the confusion this cultural mail exchange might cause there as well.

It would be even better if they also had a calendar stuck in time.

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