I love snail mail. Let’s start with that. I love receiving handwritten notes. I love going through the bills and spam and seeing a personally scribbled letter made out especially for me. I love the idea of words flying through air and space, so special that it required extra postage, so intimate that the immediacy of technology just doesn’t give it justice. Maybe I’m just being romantic, but why not? I love snail mail.
When I was in the Philippines, my love for letters and postcards was a bit more difficult to communicate. While we did have postal offices, they weren’t as efficient as I would like. Most of the time, when I would attempt to send a postcard to our family here in New Jersey, it would be a hit or miss if it ever gets to them. I always picked out interesting postcards, especially when they came out with 3D ones. But those never made it to them.
I had this image in my head that the postal worker would see my beautiful postcard, read what it’s the back and decide to keep it for himself. At first it would make me mad, but soon enough, it would turn into hope — hope that it inspires them, hope that it brightens their day. Then I just write another one.
Postcards have become a staple, especially when my niece Machiko started learning how to read and write. It has become her preferred souvenir whenever I would go on work travels, so I always made an effort to find a post office and mail one in. When I moved here, she challenged me to find better stamps, make it more colorful.
Slowly, it became my secret courier. Whenever I would have news, as big as the last one, I would always write it to my best friend/sister Marga first. I would hold it in as long as I could until she gets the letter, Facetimes me, screams in my face, and then we can talk about it. Something about writing things down makes it all the more real; holding it in your hands makes it all the more real.
Soon enough, my friends started doing the same. In a world of instant messaging, nothing beats the love that comes from the moment the ink is absorbed by the paper.
You would get medical bills, phone bills, credit card offers, junk mail and voila! In the thick of it all, there it is. A note. Sometimes with a picture, sometimes so thick that the envelope barely closes over it. You see where it’s from and your fingers run over the stamps, seeing how far it traveled to get to you. And there it is. In the hustle and bustle of the everyday grind and more, the world pauses as you read your letter, your postcard, and for a moment, everything is quiet but the words that lift off those pages.
I love snail mail.
Would you like to receive one from me? Send me an email with your preferred address at firstname.lastname@example.org.