Snail Mail & Pen Pals

Who doesn’t love getting something in the mail box?  With the rise of digital communication it seems like we’ve stopped utilizing regular good ol’ fashioned mail.  The kind we still get delivered to our doors every day but if you’re anything like me, all that comes for you anymore are an assortment of catalogues, bills, and fliers with the occasional card from grandma (which is awesome, thank you grandma 😊).  Getting something exciting or out of the ordinary in the mail is basically something to celebrate because – who doesn’t like some special surprise waiting for them when they get home?

Actually, come to think of it, maybe that’s part of the appeal of online shopping?  We love getting fun mail so much that we send it to ourselves…? I may be on to something there – unless I’m alone in religiously checking tracking numbers hoping that by some miracle the delivery date is changed to today…

Mail
Me hoping against hope I’ll have something exciting in there.

 

                                                                             But, I digress.

My point is that mail is awesome. It’s undervalued and frankly I think we just don’t use it enough.  You might be thinking, that’s all well and good but if you love mail so much how often do you use it to send the fun personal mail you like so much?  Well…the truth is I am really absolutely terrible at mail.  Quite frankly the only part I’m good at is excitedly opening it (if its the kind of fun surprising mail I talked about before) once it’s been -quite literally- placed into my hands.  For some oddly embarrassing reason its all I can do to draft a letter, find an envelope, slap a stamp on it and literally walk it to the mail box.  If I’ve got to actually go to the post office to send something… good grief you may as well pull out a tooth.

I wish I could say I was exaggerating here but there’s just something about that perpetually miserable woman at the post office the few times I’ve gone over the years she’s always been there behind the counter looking as if it was my fault she was so upset.  Like if I’d just stayed away, she might be less miserable.  Their credit card swipe (or is it chip?) pin pad is always glitching  and then just when I finally get it right she asks if I want some stamps.   The real answer is no, all I want is to leave her and the post office and this oh-so-awkward-and-slightly-miserable-encounter to be over but then she looks at me in a way that tells me I really should want those stamps.  Like she might freak out if I say no, so then I try and look interested as I’m picking from the stamp book with butterflies or the one with flowers.  I get the same kind of stressed as when I’m next in line at Chipotle and then (just like Chipotle) end up getting whatever is closest to me so I can hurry up and leave.

Even though sending mail is such a mildly traumatic experience for my oh-so-lazy self, I still love receiving (hypocritical, I know).  Even little me recognized that this aversion to sending mail was unhealthy and I tried to overcome it by signing up for a pen-pal through a magazine I used to read.  I thought it’d be such a cool idea, I could potentially meet a best friend!

As you can probably guess, signing up for that pen pal was a really terrible idea.  I was eventually matched up with a supper-eager pen pal a few states over and initially I loved it because she’d send me letters all the time! Then when it came to responding…oh good grief who was I kidding – even then it was terrible.  It took me so long to finally reply to each of her letters (which I eventually did) that one day I got a letter from the pen pal quite literally breaking up with me.  It was sad but in the end I thought I’d learned a valuable lesson about myself – I stink at snail mail and even a pen pal won’t fix it.

Fast forward to when I lived in Washington D.C. for a semester, made an awesome friend (the same friend from my Shrimp, Grits & Long Distance Friendships post which you should read if for no other reason to see a beautiful picture of some shrimp and grits Evan and I made) and it was time for our goodbyes.  Through blubbering tears we promised that we’d stay in touch. Then she brightened as she looked up at me and said the 8 scariest words:

“I’ve always wanted to have a pen pal!”

It was like I was Raven from an episode of That’s So Raven and the camera zoomed into one of my eyes and I could see into the  future.

Thats so Raven

I could see her disappointment as I failed to timely respond to her letters and eventually I’d get a sad and familiar break up letter saying we couldn’t be friends anymore because I was a terrible pen pal.

I tried to shake it off, change the topic, and then even flat out warn her of my put-the-mail-in-the-mailbox-allergy but she just would not hear of it, she swore we would be pen pals and she promised it would be great.

Sheer panic ensued, how could I let this fantastic friend slip away?  Who was I kidding I couldn’t be a pen pal! I also couldn’t loose my awesome friend…oh Lord, why?! Why am I put in these situations?

Well that was some months ago, Honestly I haven’t gotten too much better (Amazon and Etsy have literally saved me) but I have made some progress.  We’re still friends after all and I’m supper lucky to have someone who appreciates, understands and shares my sometimes crass and dry humor.  Every time I get something in the mail from her (or if she casually asks if I’ve checked my mail box recently), I know I can count on something awesome and a fantastic card that will brighten my day.  I was lucky this week to have one of her cards sitting on my desk when I got home.  She braved her post office’s version of the miserable woman at the counter to send me a card just because she missed me.  She also included all these fantastic beads to use in my wedding bouquet (I’m making fabric flowers and these beads will be absolutely perfect).

20160717_163644-1

Her fabulously wonderful snail mail surprises are just the thing I needed for me to put on my big girl panties and face the lady at the post office.  I hope one day that you find someone just as crazy as my friend who will inspire you to do the same.

 

 

 

 

Here’s a fun little slideshow of some of my favorite cards/gifts my too-good-for-me pen pal sent me (all of which are on proud display.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Snail Mail & Pen Pals

  1. I’m lucky, in that the folks at my nearest post office are not grumpy. Also, I sometimes use the nearest facility–a UPS store, and the owner there is extremely nice! Actually I have tons of options of local post offices & various businesses with postal counters. Your post made me see it’s not an option everyone has.

    Maybe you should try Postcrossing! It’s very low-commitment: Just click at a time when you actually feel like sending a postcard. No post office visits necessary: you can buy stamps from the postal website, then just drop in a box. It’s one-shot communication, for the most part, but it is usually interesting, and is an easy way (I think) to exchange “happy mail” with other people.

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    1. Postcrossing sounds perfect for me, thanks for sharing! I didnt know about them before you mentioned them. I know my unsatisfied pen pal would love receiving more frequent post cards/mail from me and I’d be happy avoiding my local post office & it’s sad/grumpy employees!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You should check out the snail mail community all around the web (especially on instagram). It’s really neat to see what’s out there & all the awesome people that are a part of it. I didn’t know how big of a thing it is (and how beautiful flip books amd stationary could be)! Good luck & happy pen-paling 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As for POAS, I made it up, but it should definitely be a thing. You should make it one. I am sure mine has odd closing times too. Same thing with the library, actually, it seems everything I try to go-it’s closed!

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  3. I totally get your reluctance to walk into the post office! I have my dad’s father’s day present sitting in my room, not yet mailed because of POAS (Post-Office Avoidance Syndrome). It”s out of the way from anywhere I have to go, the people ARE miserable, and the wait times are totally unpredictable! They need a post-office wait times app for sure. I believe you should be able to go online, pay for services ahead of time, and then the mail carrier will be able to pick up your package directly from you. So much less hassle!!!
    Like you, I wish I was as able to send snail mail as eager as I am to receive it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness is POAS an actual thing? I’ve never heard of that, it perfectly describes this aspecr of me in a nutshell! I’m glad I’m not suffering POAS alone. Also not sure how your PO is but my post office closes at akward times too so even if I get the courage to go in, it might just be closed. An app would make things easier…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I just Googled and the USPS does have an app! Go figure?! Anyway, I completely agree. I absolutely love getting actual mail (like in the mailbox). My good friend and bridesmaid, Maddie, always sends special little the things to me and our friends in the mail, whether it’s a written note or photos from a recent girls trip or night out, Maddie always has a special way of brightening everyone’s day with her packages. There’s just something so personal about actual mail. It really makes you feel loved. My Aunt Mindy and Uncle Tates (who live in Florida) do the same (with cards and photos) and it really means a lot. Plus, like sending snail mail, no one ever prints actual photos any more (myself included) so I love that my aunt, uncle, and friend take the time do that.

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      2. Wow, that’s pretty neat about the app – who knew? Then again, I guess that makes sense…there’s an app for everything now a days but..I guess I was just never motivated or committed enough to search for or take up any of the precious space on my phone download it. That’s great about your friend & uncle 🙂 I love people like that! The challenge is to try and reciprocate their snail mail which at least for me is easier said than done 🙈

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