In which snail mail provides a lesson in the loveliness of slow living.
Recently a package was delivered to the home of Shane Crumlish in Carndonagh, Ireland. But unlike most packages that make it to their intended destination, this one was lacking a legible address. Written in black marker, the address was wiped off or worn away so that only a few traces of lettering remained. That, however, did not stop the mailmen from getting the package to where it belonged.
“How this got here, I just don’t know,” Crumlish told BBC Radio Foyle. “There was nobody in the house when it arrived so it was just left outside in one of my cars.”
Remarkably, two local postmen had figured out where it was meant to go; leaving it in the car was an extra nice touch.
And it wasn’t the first time that the Irish postal service went above and beyond duty. In 2015 postal workers figured out to whom they should deliver a letter addressed to: “Your man Henderson, that boy with the glasses who is doing a PhD up here at Queen’s in Belfast; Buncrana, County Donegal, Ireland.”
That the letter was sent from some 80 miles away and still found its intended recipient is mind boggling to me, someone who is used to the exasperating indifference that seems to infuse New York City mail delivery. I think the postal system is a miracle; but how can so much of my mail be lost or returned before getting to me? Certainly it has much to do with living in a big city. (For a good laugh, read the comments for the one-star Yelp review of my local post office, which includes things like, “This is not just the worst post office, but the worst place in the world.”) For all of its amazing advantages, and even though there are micro communities in every neighborhood, a letter addressed to “that boy with the glasses” in New York City would get the world’s quickest one-way ticket to the great “not deliverable as addressed” mailbin in the sky.
Although there are always exceptions, it would be wonderful if more people in the fast-paced city took the time to slow down and consider things a little more. And I am not blaming postal workers here; I think they do a great job given the system they are operating in. But do those of us who choose to live in the city have to necessarily sacrifice things like the lovely delivery of cryptically addressed mail? Even if that is way too much to ask, it’s still a great reminder to be take the time to be mindful … and then start planning a move to Ireland. Write to me there at “That writer lady with messy hair who moved from New York,” and rest assured that if I’m not home, I can find the letter in my car.