Friday, September 21, 2012

You've Got Mail (Or Not)

In college it was the little yellow slip of paper tucked into the mailbox in the basement mailroom of the campus center.  Here it is the new email that arrives in your in box each Monday and Thursday afternoon signaling that the plane arrived with the pouches.  Both notifications- sent twenty plus years apart, indicate the same thing.  I have a package waiting to be picked up. Some things never change; the excitement is the same for me.  In both cases I rush to the mailroom and stand in line to sign for my precious new arrivals.

More often than not, in college that package was a box filled with quirky items sent from my mom. Home baked goodies, a trinket picked up during her travels, or even a bottle of shampoo, it was all exciting.  In reality the contents of the package didn't matter since it was the thought and connection with the outside world that was really important.  Today the arrival of mail is still my connection with the outside world.  I may have purchased the contents myself and more often than not, the package consists of diapers, toys, and other Sidney centered items, but it doesn't matter.  It is still a connection to the world outside of Albania.  Here we rely on our mail arriving twice a week via diplomatic pouch. This is on a good week.  On a bad week it might not arrive at all; or  as was the case last fall, it might not arrive for six weeks. Yup, no mail for a full six weeks.  Talk about a let down.

Then as in now, not receiving a package on mail day is disappointing.  Back then, peering into the mailbox and seeing nothing but an empty metal abyss was a sure disappointment.  It was even more so when everyone around me received something.  Now when that email arrives in my inbox I immediately scan the list to see if I am one of the lucky ones who gets to rush to the mailroom and stand in line.  Perhaps what is even more disappointing is when the email comes out saying that no mail arrived today.  Or this week for that matter.  Such has been the case of late.  I envision my packages piling up in a warehouse in Dulles, Virginia just waiting to be shipped overseas.....

I'm sure all this sounds silly to most people. But for those of us who rely on these little pick-me-ups to make it through those not so easy weeks (after all running to Target is not an option), not getting my mail is disappointing. It is more than the ball dress not arriving before the ball, the Halloween candy arriving the day after the holiday, or the medicine not getting here before the next illness hits.  It is a lack of a tangible connection with the outside world.

This has been a week when I really wanted to receive my mail.  I've been bracing myself for it but I'm fearful that we are entering another long period without any mail.  Yes I know I will survive without them but life would be so much easier if my incoming boxes would hurry up and arrive.  I just want to open my inbox on Monday and see those magical words:  you have mail.

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