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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Technology, Modernization-Or, Why We Can't Have Nice Things

You know what the Post Office says. If it fits, it ships.
I don't want to say this. I don't LIKE saying this. I'm the grandchild, great niece, and child of postal carriers. The USPS has put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. Well, chomp, chomp, chomp!

I love handwritten letters. I love writing them, I love going to find the interesting stamps... (I had to hold back a squeal of joy at the Miles Davis/Edith Piaf stamps.) Christmas time, I send out quite a few, including some international mail. I try to make them look bright, different, and interesting for each person. You don't want everyone to get the same prosaic, "Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays, How are You, I am Fine." formulaic response. But it's becoming utterly joyless. Why am I spending $20/sheet to hear how letters arrived mangled, to receive apologies that say "We care, but our fast sorting machines, well, you know how it is. Progress!" Begging your deepest pardons, but while your carriers are still humping 60lb bags on their backs and going out in all sorts of weather, you can't take personal responsibility and are letting machines do it all? THIS, THIS is progress? 18 cards to various people arriving damaged?! That's not a good average.

I'm kind of glad, that after standing in a 20-deep line to send international mail and buy stamps, while suffering a fever and kidney infection, I did not give into my feverish idea and decide to mail myself. Anyone want a 47 kilo package? May arrive slightly worse for wear. And weight may shift in transit.

It's not progress if your fast sort ends up causing damage to a person's mail. It is not fast sort when the slicing is done roughly and looks like someone is less than honest at the sorting office. "We're sorry, progress causes mishaps"- is NOT an apology! If I wanted to do everything technologically, so I could then blame technology for any mishaps, I'd simply email everything! But no, I keep buying stationary and stamps, because I'm old-fashioned. Or I'm simply the world's youngest old person. We haven't decided yet.

Vintage Estonian postcard, courtesy of Diane Kappa of Art of Collage Design

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