I made small talk with the new mailman this morning. He doesn't know what happened to his predecessor. I imagine him recharging his batteries somewhere exotic. Still wearing his neatly pressed uniform and custom orthotics. I was planning to tip him for the Holidays this year but now he's in Tahiti. Or the back office. New mailman is all business. I'm not sure if I should tip him. I guess we'll see if he brings me good mail.
Rolling Stone magazine's "2011 in Review" issue. I love round-ups.
New York magazine's "Reasons to Love New York Right Now" issue. The "right now" bothers me. Feels gimmicky. Maybe I'll write my own list.
My life insurance premium reminder. Shite, is it next quarter already?
A coupon for 70% off select items at "Onofrio's." I wonder what they sell at Onofrio's... I guess it doesn't matter at that price.
A menu from Chiquitita Mexican Grill. I want a shrimp burrito for dinner. I wonder how much they paid to make me want a burrito for dinner before I've even had lunch.
A big red envelope with five Australian stamps announcing a Christmas card from my mother. My mother never writes the letters 'a' or 'r' in loweRcAse. A handwriting expert might say she is hiding something. The card is not the generic 99c variety; it has weight to it, a tailored message, glitter, and embossing. I wonder if she made a special trip into town to buy her cards. I hope she took the scenic route by the beach. Sigh, the beach. She probably stopped at McDonald's on the way home for coffee, but only if it was before 4. After 4 she runs into (and over) kangaroos.
A Christmas card from a relative who can't spell my name. She's probably dyslexic or maybe it's her weak ankles. Either way, I look forward to being christened anew in her cards each year. This year I'm "Jantica"—I try it on and decide it makes me feel like a bone-rattling Ocean Liner or a Sci-Fi series that won't last beyond the pilot.
A Christmas card and letter from my grandmother. A handwritten letter is a treat any day but it feels like such a luxury in the clutter of catalogs this time of year. I read it fast at the door before I take off my hat and coat and then slowly at the table, once I've made a cup of tea. Nana's letters have grown shorter and less frequent in the last year so I read them over and over until the ink, or my eyes, give. She has all the news about everyone but herself. The weather—miserable, showers of sleet and hail. The latest on her longtime neighbor Tess, struggling with liver cancer. The rundown on Tess's grandkids, and how they are getting on in their jobs and studies. The rundown on each of my cousins and their health, jobs, leases on their houses, travel plans for the next year. There is always a gem, a precious little something that makes me ten again, and in this letter it was news of the 89-year-old neighbor across the road, Mammie.
"Mammie is still the same Mammie. She came in to me the other morning and she said I didn't sleep a wink all night the fairies were tormenting me. They were all around the bed talking and singing and then they got the paper and cut it all up. The following morning she said to Gerard [her son] to sweep up all the papers after the fairies. He said good luck I am going to work."
I think that deserves a tip.