The United States Postal Service has a special place in my heart for no particular reason but maybe for a lot of reasons. My grandfather was a letter carrier and would share short stories with children on his route around Christmas time; my dad worked two jobs when I was younger, one of them consisting of sorting mail at the post office and I remember going in to visit him and seeing all these boxes being thrown around into all these different bins in a big warehouse which I thought was really cool; everyone in my neighborhood knew our mailman, Larry, and it felt like a celebrity brought us letters everyday. I remember one snow day as a kid, Larry was delivering mail to a neighbor and an enormous tree branch broke under the weight of the snow and he was almost crushed but, he emerged from a cloud of fresh snow unscathed and carried on to the next house; I always loved getting any kind of card as a kid, whether it was for my birthday or Christmas or just a reminder a dentist appointment was coming up; and packages... whenever I ordered anything online I would be so excited to watch Larry roll up in the mail truck everyday and see if he had any packages, oh the excitement!
A few years ago when I was riding my bicycle across the country I loved entering tiny little towns and seeing the post offices; sometimes they would be tucked in the back of a department store or a general store or at a kiosk in a little mall. Sometimes my mom would have to send me stuff while I was on the road (new journals, clothes etc...) and I would plan my route around going to a post office in a small town, and when I would finally arrive a week later the clerk would tell me how eager they were for me to get there which I thought was funny. Every now and then I would have to send a package home to my niece; I was sending her a rock from every state I rode through on my bike and the clerks would always get a kick out of my story, always a pleasant interaction based around sending a rock a few thousand miles back home, where else do you get that besides the post office?
Whether it's been T-shirts or art, I've been going to the post office fairly regularly for over 10 years and I love it every single time. There's something exciting about handing over a package to the person on the other side of the counter, enlisting them as an ally to get the mail to its final destination where it can lift the spirits of the person receiving it! Yes, the USPS actively delivers joy to so many people.
I think my favorite part of the postal service is its ubiquitous nature – everyone can receive mail, every town has a post office, it's part of the fabric of reality. It makes me sad to think during this global pandemic, this essential service and its essential workers are being neglected by the federal government. Never did I think mail could be such a political issue but, here we are. Covid-19 is presenting us with a huge opportunity to utilize and revitalize the USPS with mail-in ballots emerging as the best option for many states this election year but, our president is doing everything in his power to vilify and oppose this most sensical approach. As an establishment that provides so many opportunities to people no matter their background, we can't allow the postal service to fall victim to the current administration. I know sending out a few letters every month isn't going to magically save this institution but, buying some stamps and engaging with the mail system might make people realize how wonderful it truly is to be able to send and receive mail.