KITCHEN SINK DRAMA
n the same day’s post, I get called for jury service and a cervical smear. While neither of those missives is entirely welcome, I only give serious consideration to trying to get out of one of them. I presume I don’t have to tell you which one — generally speaking, it’s not necessary to engage with lawyers if you want to avoid a smear test.
But whichever way I look at it, my twin summonses constitute a poor day’s post. I don’t know why, all these years into adulthood, I still retain a childish glee about receiving letters, but I do. When I was very small, the only person who ever wrote to me — birthday cards don’t count as proper post; everyone knows that — was my Auntie Binnie, down in Macroom, who would reply to my regular, lengthy letters with a single scrawled page and make my week. I can still see the envelopes; Basildon Bond, pale blue, with my name preceded by the title ‘Miss’, and all the telltale signs of an important missive that had spent a couple of days wending its way from Cork to our doormat. I don’t remember much about the letters at all — it was all to do with the envelope, with my name and with the postal service acknowledging that I was a little person, too.
My Dublin granny once sent me a letter too — and even though I saw her twice a week, I remember more about her exciting envelope than I do about most of those visits.
Even in today’s era of electronic mail and instant messaging, I think all children get a thrill from receiving a letter — even if the only correspondence they ever really receive concerns dental appointments and the occasional excursion to Specsavers. Sensing his gargantuan enthusiasm for even these pitiful crumbs, I once signed a very, very, young Boy up for a regular newsletter from an obscure order of missionary priests — partly because I reckoned they would be the type to keep in touch, but also because I knew how much he longed to see his name on an envelope. I’m not even sure he could read back then, but the simple act of picking up a monthly missive that was for his eyes only, made him, for a couple of years, the happiest little mail recipient in the world. And because I remem-
The Husband and I corresponded largely by letter for our first year (which makes it sound like we met in 1793, not 1993)
bered exactly how that felt, I shared his joy.
But I really should have grown out of it by now. Although The Husband and I corresponded largely by letter for the first year of our relationship (even writing that now makes it sound like I met him in 1793, not 1993), since then, pretty much all I have got in the post are bills — most of which are paid by direct debit and so don’t even require a response; appeals for charitable donations and a mountain of deeply unpleasant correspondence regarding the Celebrity Bainisteoir court case. Given that, you would think that the sound of the post landing on our hall floor would make my heart sink — but still every day it skips, and I can’t wait to be disappointed all over again.
That said, there is a complication to my relationship with the postal service at the moment, as I am currently being stalked by a pair of boots. I bought the offending pair online — or, to be more specific, I bought an identical pair of the offending boots online, and then, because the promised email trumpeting their dispatch never arrived, I bought them all over again.
Cue great euphoria at exciting boots arriving in the post; followed, a day later, by deep gloom when an identical pair also rocked up. Still, in spite of a weight of evidence to the contrary, I am a grown-up, and so I followed the incredibly elaborate returns instructions and, in jig time, UPS arrived to take the second pair away.
But apparently, those boots were made for walking. Because even though I had mailed them to an address in The Netherlands, within a couple of days, the exact same pair — with my completed returns form still in the box — was back on my doorstep, this time dispatched from Germany.
Three days ago, I sent them away again, though to be honest, there is a tiny, mental part of me that looks forward to seeing them again. I will know if they do come back, of course, because the postman will have to ring the bell. And that’s the thing, you see: in this house, populated by eternal children, the postman never has to ring twice.