I hate the mail. It’s taken on Grendel proportions.

First there is its problematic arrival. My mailbox hates me, and the feeling is mutual. It’s recalcitrant at best. Every day I insert my key, jiggle it and curse for 2 minutes.  Sometimes it opens, sometimes it doesn’t and I have to come back the next day when it’s in a more forgiving mood. Even the lock is conspiring against me. Why don’t I have it replaced? Because it’s my not so passive and extremely aggressive resistance to what’s contained inside.

Open the mailbox- release the Kraken!

A vomiting forth of things I don’t want to deal with, things that are the boiled peas on my overfull plate. There are bills, bills, and more bills. There are three bills for the phone service alone. The local, the long distance and the mobile. I know, I can hear my Millennials out there sighing at my refusal to give up my landlines. I cling desperately to phones with actual wires, crisis-crossing the nation. I have a good reason- it’s because I live in a colander. My cast iron loft somehow reflects cell waves back up to aliens who are secretly eavesdropping (and I’m sure quite amused by my conversations). There are only small pockets in my home where I must perch unmoving in order to have a conversation on my cell that doesn’t sound like a rendition of “who’s on first”.

The miscellaneous other bills pour over me like molten lava, mortgages, taxes, energy, cable, doctors and health insurance for the family and myself. I run screaming from the room and toss my checkbook behind me hoping that pile of bills will devour it, burp, and leave me be.

I also get about a gazillion notices from every charity to whom I have ever donated even a dime. I really do care about feeding the homeless, the multitude of diseases plaguing us, and many other manner of social injustices- all too numerous to name. My heart does wrench with every plea. I love animals and really care about the reduction of their environments. I love gorillas who know sign language. I am horrified we still use primates for research, and I don’t want polar bears to drift off on a final ice floe. I can’t seem to throw away a single plea for funds and the stack grows ever higher. I’m afraid I am becoming a socially conscious hoarder.

The next category belongs to the arts. I’m actively involved in the theater community and as a gesture of support for them I subscribe to four (count’em four) not for profit theater companies. Their marketing people are no dummies- I am clearly a theater sucker. Each production, Broadway, Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway and Somewhere in the Boondocks, inundates me with postcards and pleas for additional funding. I can’t seem to throw those away either. And of course, being a painter, I get the glossies for every gallery and opening, complete with Emperors New Clothes.

This year we have the additional onslaught of colleges all seeking the consideration of my son who is a junior. A dozen each day- which I neatly stack on his bed. Whew, at least they aren’t for me. They do however add to the visual of the overflowing mailbox. I know, I know, I’m just whining now, but those additional envelopes make my gone-postal heart skip a beat.

What have I forgotten? Ah, right. There are the school newsletters, which are occasional, and letters from the school soliciting funds- which are incessant. Really people, tuition just isn’t enough?

And finally… the magazines. There are way too many. Of those, none of which I read, all gifts send by my well-meaning family who know that I am a voracious reader…of books. Magazines scare me with their needy piling up, week after week, month after month. They slip and slide and multiply when I’m not looking, unlike my well-behaved stacks of books. Books stay put and wait their turn, quietly talking among themselves and not breeding tiny novellas or thin volumes of haiku. Magazines are not nearly so well behaved and breed like rabbits. Especially … The Dreaded New Yorker.

 This one I have to own. I brought it upon myself. In a moment of overzealous weakness I subscribed. What was I thinking? It’s like a mongoose in its lair, waiting to leap out on the guilt that broke my camel’s back. In The New Yorker, I read two things each week, the theater reviews and the cartoon. Actually to be more precise- the caption contest. And I’m not reading the cartoon and caption winners any more. I am on strike because the bastards never chose my captions- which are vastly superior to the ones they pick each week.  I blow my nose in their general direction. Their mother was a hamster and their father smelled of elderberries.

I do get the occasional real live honest to god letter, but not really. It’s usually a thank you note from my mother. That doesn’t really count because I believe she just copies them from a little etiquette book. There are occasional birth announcements, bar mitzvah invitations, or wedding invites, not necessarily in that order. Those thick ornate envelopes mean slithering into a cocktail dress and crippling heels. But the hors d’oeuvres can be tasty, so I’m good with all that.

Okay, that’s the diatribe for the week. Any comments, opinions or rude remarks? Just stick ‘em in the mail to me….

~kate