Manhattan’s Missing Mailboxes

Holy Batman ! I’m sitting here in my big, comfortable, black leather poppa chair in my living room, rubbing my feet, and drinking coffee, trying to get over the uncomfortable suspicion that either the Grinch stole our mailboxes so we couldn’t send Christmas Cards, or some bright light at the Post office Department decided that they could save lots of money delivering mail if they didn’t collect it any more. It looks like our mailboxes have now gone the way of outdoor phone booths, rooftop TV antennas, hula hoops, lava lamps, and mini skirts.

 I’ve been rubbing my feet because I was walking a lot today getting to a meeting in New York City for my day job. I meant to drop off a letter at the post office down the block from my house on the way to taking the Amtrak train but it was too early in the morning for the coffee to kick in, and I forgot. Early mornings are that way for me. I have an old fashioned alarm clock that goes off with a noise somewhere between an arriving locomotive and a dive bombing seagull. It’s awful, but I like it better than those new clocks that wake you up with soft music and a gentle whisper. I can’t take hypocracy early in the morning.

 I found the letter I needed to mail hiding in my jacket pocket when I pulled out my train ticket. “No big deal,” I thought. “I’ll just drop it in a mailbox at Penn Station.” I live in a small town now, and we don’t have any mailboxes here. But ever since I was a kid growing up in New York, there was always a mail box at Penn Station. So it was a bit of a shock to see that it’s gone.

 Still…no big deal. I figured I’d drop the letter into some mail box on my way to the meeting. It was about a 2 mile walk. Lots of street corners where there used to be mail boxes. All gone. You may wonder why I didn’t take a subway. That’s because it was morning rush hour. You don’t want to ride a subway in New York during rush hour. Last year, 6 million fewer New Yorkers didn’t ride the subway at rush hour, and nobody noticed.

 So I started walking, and walking, and walking. No mailboxes.

Mailboxes are as American as baseball. As important as the strikeout and the homerun. As vital to our way of life as hot dogs and beer. In a 21st century world far too full of neutered, mangled men and worn out women, we know we can always look forward to the topper to short, the lunge, the flip, the spin at second, the stretch and the scoop at first…the dastardly double play. And until now, we took for granted the small pleasure of pulling down the squeaky lid, cramming a fat envelope into that little toaster slice sized opening, pushing it shut, and opening it again to see to it that our envelope was down there in the belly of the beast, ready to take its journey across the fruited plain, sometimes all the way from sea to shining sea.

 I should have seen this coming. There are no more subway tokens in New York now either. And no comic books on the news stands, and no Good Humor trucks. Life is getting tougher and tougher in New York. In some neighborhoods, they’re selling the bible under the counter. And they have alternate side of the street muggings.

 Dick’s Details Quiz. All answers are in the current podcast.

1-    Why don’t hormones and Burger Kings go together ?

2-    Who doesn’t like it when I spit across the table and blow my nose on the tablecloth?

3-    Why haven’t the Aliens REALLY not contacted us ?

 Dick’s Details. They take your mind off your mind.

 Traffic in New York is like no other city in the country. And like most big cities, they have to cut back on expenses. I have a hunch that in New York’s public high schools, the driving teachers have to share their cars with the sex ed teachers to save money. And I think that would create a somewhat confusing kind of instruction. For example:

 Never blow in your partner’s ear while he or she is looking for toll money. Close your eyes to enjoy what’s going on only when you have come to a complete stop. When the CAR comes to a complete stop that is. Never touch your lover’s favorite erogenous zone while she is asking for directions. Guys don’t have to worry about that because we never ask for directions. Never un-hook anything while your partner is trying to switch lanes on a super highway. Always remember to remove your seatbelts. And possibly most important…don’t assume that just because a woman approaches your car and asks for money in Times Square, don’t assume she’s a parking meter maid. 

 There’s a story in the Lovin Touch personal audio CD about parking meters…sort of. Sometimes writing a story like that is like spying on yourself. I used to live pretty much alone inside my own head…then I met my Lady, and I knew I  needed to bring her in to live there with me…at all costs. There were huge costs involved. There were lots of times when it felt like I was feeding my last quarter into my parking meter. That’s why every morning now…and for a very long time…I have to reach over and actually touch her smile…to be sure that it doesn’t disappear.

 “Parking Meter Life” is from the Lovin Touch personal audio cd. If you like it, you can just keep the current podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just download it from the Lovin Touch icon on the home page. 

 Outdoor phone booths, rooftop TV antennas, hula hoops, lava lamps, and mini skirts, subway tokens, comic books, Good Humor trucks…and now mail boxes. Gone. Even Batman can’t bring them back, because he’s gone too, except in re-runs. Regular light bulbs are next I guess.

 The poet says, “The moving hand of time has writ, and having writ, moves on.” But you know what? Sometimes I get lucky, and the moving hand of time gives me a nice back rub in the process. The mail boxes are gone, but Email is easier and faster anyway. My Lady Wonder Wench’s smile doesn’t disappear from my pillow in the morning. Baseball’s spring training is coming again. And in the end…no matter how often I watch the video…the Grinch never does manage to steal Christmas.

One Response to “Manhattan’s Missing Mailboxes”

  1. Carol the Dabbler says:

    Clocks too. When we were kids, every gas station had one in the window, every drug store had one over the soda fountain, and every schoolroom had one appropriately placed next to the door. Now they’re gone, and it’s even rare to find a clock on a waiting-room wall. But why?

    My current theory is that people are in such a hurry that they don’t need clocks, because they’re still going to be in a hurry, no matter what time it is.