Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Silly and Significant Presence of Correspondence in the Life of Me.

I love mail. I love correspondence of all varieties, actually. One could say, even, that I derive a probably absurd amount of joy from written or drawn communication of any kind. This includes anonymous or not-anonymous instances of the following: letters (especially with doodles all over the envelope), packages (these are better when smothered in doodles too), friendly notes, personal poems, stupid drawings, cryptic threats, and Polaroid messages.

As I mentioned in a previous post, receipt-paper message distribution is a key factor at work to keep me from going comatose. I also occasionally plant little folded bits of paper around the store that say WATCH YOUR BACK and other such threats.

Another of my favorite things to do at my job is to take mental note (heh heh, punny) of missionaries who look like they could use a pick-me-up and leave little notes in their mailboxes. One time an Elder found out on the day before he was supposed to leave that he was being delayed for another six weeks or something, and he was pretty devastated. (I think that in the MTC visa problems are up there on the list of worst fears at the back of every missionary's mind). So, I sent him some snacks that aren't available at the MTC Bookstore in a plain white box with nothing but his name and address on it in bright colors, with a note inside that expressed in the same overenthusiastic hues that I hoped he had A GREAT DAY!!! I think he knows it was me, but whatever. The very next day when I saw him again he was significantly more upbeat and like his goofy self. Now I periodically leave a little letter in his box. I don't know if my little notes and such always really impact the Elders that much, but it makes MY day. I am highly invested in the fun of giving them.

In the past few months I have also developed a penchant for Polaroid messages. They usually involve getting a roommate (usually the lovely and ever-helpful Deeds) to take a Polaroid of me doing or holding something, then I write a message on the back and leave it taped to a person's door or something. For example, one time I accidentally walked off with a little toy that belonged to my 10-year-old buddy Ethan, so, naturally, I made a hostage out of it. The next day, this Polaroid

was tucked into his front door along with a note demanding an original Ethan drawing as ransom.

Of course, I also quite enjoy receiving mail. I'm even the designated mail-checker of my apartment, and my day feels uncomfortably incomplete if I don't get the chance to retrieve whatever is in our mailbox (usually a profoundly disappointing wad of junk mail ads or previous tenants' subscriptions).

...I just realized that I have no visuals to provide for you as examples of the mail I'm sending. If I remember, next time I send a letter or package I'll scan it and put it up here; I can never send anything out without at least some ridiculous embellishment.

Whew. This has been a pretty scattered post. So anyway. I LOVE MAIL. There is something so beautiful and wonderful about receiving a personal, tangible manifestation that someone is thinking about you. It's like you're holding a little bit of that person's unique light in your hand. And sending things to others feels to me like casting out fine threads of light...little lifelines along which I hope to be sending a handful of amity to people whom I care about.