Right now we have a kind of postal strike/lockout/stupid disruption of a moribund service here in this country.
That’s pretty silly.
Now, there was a time when such strikes by (already pretty handsomely reimbursed and pensioned) postal folk would throw the system into chaos. We were forced to rely on their good will because a lot of stuff ground to a halt if they hit the bricks.
Today, not so much.
A postal worker strike is moving into the realm occupied by manufacturers of buggy-whips and blacksmiths, and if any of the remaining members of those callings were to down tools, well, nobody would care so very much. In other words, if you’re going to bargain you have to possess a few chips.
It’s not that I don’t have a teeny-tiny bit of sympathy for those folk who labor in the bowels of the post office – we all want job security, after all – it’s just that I, along with millions of my contemporaries, don’t avail myself of their services a whole lot any more.
I’m trying to think about how many items of snail-mail emit from our home in the course of a month. Maybe three or four. There are a couple of bills we still pay by cheque, more out of laziness than anything else. That is, we haven’t switched over to online payment with those, but we shall.
Other mail? In the past year? Utilizing the service of Canada Post? Mainly none other than a very few Christmas cards and a couple of birthday cards. For the most part, however, we rely on electronic keeping-in-touchness, or courier services. In that we are much like everybody else.
There was a time, however, when the post office ruled all our inter-connectedness. Their impact began to wane with the advent of the telephone – surprisingly enough, a bit before my time. And then came all our electronic links – well, not immediately, but soon enough in the total scheme-of-things, and we could basically say ‘have carnal knowledge of yourself’ to the postal service.
In the days when it was a PO world we used to get delivery 6 days a week with twice-a-day delivery each day but Saturday. Stamps cost mere pennies and local postal outlets were very busy places. Then it all went away and we are connected with everybody all the time – oh, and feeling more isolated arguably than we ever have been in human history, but that is a matter for another discussion.
Once upon a time people used to look forward to the arrival of the postman (and he didn’t always ring twice, despite what James M. Cain suggested). There would be letters. Oh, certainly bills as well, but letters were the cherished items.
Do I miss the demise of the post office’s influence? Not so much as I miss other things from my past. But there was one always-to-be-cherished aspect of snail-mail — the love letter.
I actually got a few of those in my misspent youth, from some much adored people. And I can honestly say I have kept every one of them and they are stuffed in an old desk out in the garage. I don’t bring them out much, but I recognize the (often) pink envelopes and perhaps imagine there is a tiny remnant of the fragrance that the missives once were doused with. Try perfuming an email.
And, to write a love letter one had to have a certain mastery of the language and persuasive charm because the hope always was that a good letter might lead to some sort of silky bonus event somewhere down the road. Oh, and unlike much electronic stuff, a good love letter was never dirty, but it was replete with suggestiveness. A writer needs skills to give good letter.
That seems to be lost now. Sigh.
So, have your labor dispute, postal dudes and dudettes because I don’t really care one way or the other.