Our brains can’t feel pain, and no one understands what headaches are.
I have a few friends with whom I have long shared a correspondence. Email nearly killed it (there is no cute shoebox that a sentimental friend keeps email in—though this is a product idea), and Facebook and Twitter have not improved the situation. I feel a personal responsibility to write and send a real letter from time to time, and I also feel a personal responsibility for the decline in fortunes of the U.S. Postal Service. Obviously, I need to write more letters again, and so do you. Perhaps then I might have the courage to stand up to that one woman who works at the North Salem post office and insist she stop yelling at me when people use my street address instead of the P.O. Box number.
A friend sent this flyer with a note which says, in part: “It is so awful that I had to send it to someone and you are the only one I know who might appreciate its awfulness.”
Creepy is easy for dolls, especially the realistic looking ones: their soulless eyes and empty heads, their frozen expressions and stiff limbs. This officially licensed doll is a study in contrasts: hyper-realistic creases and missing nipples; naked but for his hat and diaper; sitting up and pouting at a size and age he should be lying down and sleeping. It’s “Hand-crafted like a true champion.”
It has been such a long time since we last moved addresses, I had an oh-gee-cool moment when I discovered that changing one’s address with the U.S. Postal Service can now be done through a secure online form. But after three days in New York with not a single scrap of mail arriving, I gave the management company of our temporary housing a call. I was assured that my mail would be delivered to my apartment. I also asked if there was something special I needed to be doing to get my newspaper subscription working. Again I was told that it wasn’t them, it was the New York Times.
I had called the New York Times around the 29th of June, when I had them transfer my Seattle delivery to New York delivery. Not only do New Yorkers get a different edition of the Times, but it’s cheaper, so my freshly renewed six months’ worth of daily newspaper there translates to something like sixty-seven years’ worth of paper here. Better yet, the woman on the phone said, “Welcome back to New York!”
“Oh,” I said. “I’ve never lived in New York before.”
“Well then,” she said. “Let me officially be the first to welcome you to New York.”
Of course, all the cheerful conversation seemed to have resulted in the paper starting in New York on the 10th of July, instead of the 2nd as planned. I straightened this out on Friday.
My other Friday discovery was mail. While it clearly says in our agreement that mail will be delivered to our apartment, new mail is sometimes sitting in a pile in an in-box on a small table in the lobby. Two more small stacks of mail are held together with rubber bands and sitting on a shelf in the utility closet in the laundry room (the same utility closet with the special blue lock-boxes). At one point we were all headed out together and someone was slower than the rest of us and I rifled through the stack on the table in the lobby. There I found some bank statements, and a credit card bill—bank statements and a credit card bill with my name on them—just the sort of mail you do not want to have lying around in the lobby of a building in a strange city, or even in the lobby of a building in a familiar city. Emboldened by my discovery, I went in the laundry room and pulled off the rubber bands. Yes, I found more of our mail.
Sunday morning we headed out for the first dog walk of the day, a daily affair prepared for in extreme haste in the perpetual hope of no accidents. We had even overslept. Just as we exited the building, there on the steps down to the key-pad and locked door was a Sunday edition of the New York Times, secured with a tan rubber band. Affixed to the outermost section was a label with our name on it. It felt sadly comforting to be able to read the paper again after a week away from it. I found out that South Sudan is a new nation, and everyone is unhappy about the verdict in the Casey Anthony case, and that Derek Jeter is a big fat Yankee. I am happy for the people of South Sudan.
Later on Sunday I noticed a new small stack of mail in the laundry room, and found another piece of my mail, probably delivered Saturday. I am trying not to be neurotic about the mail, just as I am trying not to be neurotic about finding a school for my rising 8th grader, a place to live, new friends, and a life. But of course I am being neurotic about the mail, and all the rest of it.
Monday, Ramon came and changed sheets and towels. He was hesitant to come into the apartment because of the dogs, but I assured him they were fine. The truth, of course, is that they might not have been fine, because for all nine years of her life, Cherry has had to be confined to a crate when the housekeepers came. There, she has barked in a frightened and angry voice, unsilenced by cajoling or threats. Captain loves everyone, including the housekeepers, and greeted them with a celebratory trot-around, his own square dance. I sent the dogs to lie down, and they both headed to the quilt-covered chair, where they lay down in a tangle of dog parts and fell asleep. I am pleased with Cherry for being willing to try something new. Perhaps today I need to be more like my dog.
On the other hand, the cat is displeased with the presence of a stranger, and is in his new favorite hiding place: behind the fridge.