notes on the side: Connecting Through Mailboxes

Posted: January 25, 2008 in Notes on the Side
d_18640.gifMailboxes always seem fancy to me. When I was a kid, I’d dream of living in a nice bungalow with a wide lawn, squared-in by a really welcoming white picket fence and of course, a wooden mailbox standing at the front. That was before I read Stepford Wives, and shuddered at the thought of “white-picket-fencedom” ala Pleasantville. But still, I find residential mailboxes a fancy dream. Especially when I watched the romantic movie “Lakehouse,” where the only means of communication for the lovers were letters placed in the mailbox outside the glasshouse by the lake. It seems to me that people connect through letters in whatever way possible. They have to, because human beings live by the desire to communicate, to make connections worthwhile or not, last longer than necessary. So we strive to keep in touch.In the Philippines, residential mailboxes are few and far between. I guess I can say it is not a norm to put a mailbox outside your house where the postman would just dump your mails in. I grew up with waking up to the ding of the doorbell, and finding a postman standing at the front door with a tired smile, handing a bunch of envelopes to me. Those were exciting times. I’d be running to my Mom in glee because I’ve always loved receiving letters.I also haven’t seen buildings around Davao  that have commercial mailboxes, except for the huge industrial structures like Pryce tower. For small offices, there are always receptionists who are willing to receive company mails. Otherwise, people just rely on Internet connection these days so that they can keep in touch with other people through e-mails. But even e-mail services like Yahoo or Google mail still use “virtual mailboxes” with matching cut-looking icons.Still, for those of us who haven’t experienced the western world of Mary Poppins or Desperate Housewives, mailboxes in all shapes and sizes still in one way or another fascinate us. I particularly wish to have one that is made of wood with a bird that goes “cuckoo” every time you open it. But for now, I’ll just have to rely on our “not-so-reliable” postal system, apply for a postal ID just to ensure that my mails won’t get lost in the dozens of metal mailboxes lining up the Philippine post office.

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