To Be Like the Postal Carrier

138328_GrabBagNormalWorking from home reveals all the daily routines that happen around your house while you’re typically away.

  • 3 different garbage trucks come on Friday. (Garbage, recycling, yard waste. Though the later two come on a secret schedule which lives on our refrigerator.)
  • An elderly woman picks through everyone’s recycling to get cans and bottles.
  • Our neighbors gardener comes on Wednesday.
  • UPS comes in the morning and the evening.
  • FedEx comes in the afternoon.
  • Amazon.com has their own delivery service, that comes in the afternoon.
  • Once a week the Schwan truck comes.
  • One neighbor gets daily food delivery and another has a daily home healthcare visit.
  • Once a month a volunteer drops off the neighborhood newsletter.
  • Each Thursday afternoon a guy drives by and tosses the Penny Saver onto our driveway, which is conveniently timed with garbage day.
  • Utility workers read meters and check connections and all sorts of things.
  • At some point each week a utility worker climbs the power pole. Or checks it. Or parks in front of it to eat a snack.
  • Speaking of snacks, it’s normal for contractors or cops or other workers to park in front of our house to eat a snack. Our house must make people hungry. (Or a good place to hide from your supervisor.)

Lots of routines happen all day, every day. Most people leave to go to work in the morning and come back in the evening. Little do they know that their house is a virtual ant farm. Like Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day I have a tendency to notice these patterns and play mental games in anticipation. What would happen if they all came at once? What would happen if things got out of order?

The Postal Carrier

The most consistent visitor is the postal carrier. Matt comes five days per week at about 11 o’clock. Stoney barks, I wave, and in 2 seconds he is gone… off to the next house.

Every day Matt visits several hundred homes just like mine. He’s friendly, efficient, inquisitive, and helpful.

Matt also knows everyone’s name. He knows a little about them because of the mail they receive. In my case he knows about McLane Creative & The Youth Cartel. He knows I work at home and ship gold packages of books all over the world. He knows my kids names and when they have a birthday coming up– he even knows the names of the people who lived here before us. (5 years ago!)

We are just one house in a very large neighborhood. You see, he knows this stuff about each house.

He knows who has a dog. He knows who has kids. He knows who is a shut in or in the hospital or on vacation.

More than knowing stuff Matt also does stuff. Stuff way beyond his delivery duties. He cares and responds. When something is out of place he’ll knock on the door and check on someone. He connects neighbors, so if one person has a need that he thinks someone else can help with, he’ll take the initiative to ask. Recently, he helped a neighbor get an educational resource for someone fostering their grandchildren. That’s just the type of stuff he does all the time, no big deal in his mind but a very big deal to the hundreds of lives he touches each day.

There isn’t another person in this neighborhood that knows more about what’s really going on than our postal carrier. Not a neighbor, not a politician, not a policeman, not a pastor… no one.

For me that’s a challenge. If Matt– a guy who is doing his job with excellence, but is ultimately not a resident of my neighborhood, but a civil servant– knows all of this stuff about hundreds and hundreds of people in my neighborhood, why don’t I know even the most basic stuff about the 6-7 houses that touch my house?

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40

Published by Adam McLane

Adam McLane is a partner at The Youth Cartel, co-author of A Parent's Guide to Understanding Social Media, blogger of 10+ years, and a fan of all things San Diego State University Aztecs.

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

  1. I have no idea how people remember names like that. I can’t remember half of my in-laws most of the time. I wouldn’t get too hung up on it, though. Yeah, we should probably know our neighbors, but don’t ever feel bad that you aren’t as good at something as someone else. Matt’s blog probably isn’t as well-read as yours…

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: