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Today in My History

2000:  Oh Boy!
2001:  And the Doctor Said...
2002:  Christians
2003:  More Last Minute Stuff
2004:  What's the Buzz, What's Happening?
2005:  Well THAT Was Fast
2006:   Yeah, I Watched the Emmys

2007:  "You Fat F**k"
2008: Move Over, Harold Hill
Into That Good Night
2011: Passion for Piano
2012: The Prime Directive
2013: Alone and Hryvnia-less in Kiev

Bitter Hack
The Ladies Foursome

Books Read in 2014
"The Man Who Loved Books Too Much"

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mail to Walt


August 30, 2014

You know, we think of the mail as just something that "is."  It arrives in our mailbox every day and we don't really think much about how it got there.  And I guess we assume that everybody pretty much gets their mail the same way.  We used to know our mailman, but it seems that it now changes so often, I don't make an effort to know who it is any more.

Today in a Swap Bot discussion someone mentioned that her mailman had tried to deliver a small parcel and when the woman wasn't home, he left a note that she could pick it up at the post office.

But then he saw me walking in town... so he turned his bike, got some speed to catch me and gave me the package so I didn't have to pick it up myself tomorrow..

Everyone agreed this was a special mailman, but many were confused about delivery on a bike.  I assumed this was a small village.  But it turns out it has a population of 90,000 (bigger than Davis).

I don't get it... what is so odd about a mail man on a bike? asked the woman who posted the first message.  I checked her profile and discovered she was from Belgium.

All mail mans do their work by bike. Only very large packages that won't fit on the bike are being delivered with a small postal truck.

mailbike.JPG (136542 bytes)

Looking at that photo, I wonder how many trips they make back to the post office to refill their boxes. Then she asked how we got OUR mail.  I guess it never occurred to me that mail was delivered in many different ways. I just never thought about it. Someone from Berlin uploaded pictures of the mail bikes in Berlin.

mailbikeBerlin.jpg (128577 bytes)

Someone else wrote that in Mexico they use either bikes or motorbikes.  Someone from Latvia wrote, "our mailman has a small car not truck, and they stop, get out, deliver, drive a bit... I think I have seen them sometimes doing it together (maybe a relative helping or so), so one is at wheel and other runs out to deliver. Our mailman comes from a town 8 km away and no nice biking road between those towns."

Another woman wrote "I live in the rural area in TN and mail people use their own vehicles, and stop at my mailbox out front by the road, if it is a package he always brings it to the door, he is pretty awesome, leaves a bag of goldfish crackers for my grandson every once in awhile."

When I was growing up, the mail was sorted at the main post office and put into boxes to be delivered to big metal boxes around the city.  They looked like mail boxes, but had no slot for inserting mail.  The mailman then loaded his bag with his first load of mail at the post office and took public transportation to where he started his route.  He walked the route and when he finished the first batch, he was at one of those collection boxes where he picked up the next batch and walked some more.   He did it once a day, and twice or three times a day during Christmas time.

mailtruck.jpg (9973 bytes)Now all the mail for the mailman's route goes onto a small truck. The mailman parks the truck about a block from our house.  He then gets out and walks the route, down one side of the street, around the two cul de sacs and back up the other side of the street and back into the truck again to move to his next parking spot. (We have occasionally had a female mail carrier, but most of the time it's a man.)

When I did a search for this picture, I found lots of other US mail truck designs, some smaller, some larger.  Some are designed so that the mail can be delivered without the driver leaving the truck--these are for communities that have mail boxes right on the street.  The mailman has to walk up our driveway to the front door of our house in order to deliver our mail.  It never occurred to me how far he has to walk besides the streets that he walks, because almost everyone on this block (and probably all of his blocks) have long driveways.

Someone else wrote, "The postal service is pushing to have communal mailbox areas at the front of a neighborhood (that is already often the case in apartment complexes). It would be more efficient for them but I love having my mail delivered right to my house."  Me too, though I have not heard that discussed for here.  Seems strange that it's not, since this is the "city of bicycles" and with a terrain so flat it would be a simple thing. 

This whole thing got me curious about various methods of mail delivery.  If you have a different kind of service that seems normal for you, I'd love it if you'd share here.

Photo of the Day

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Day 61:  A nice way to start the day, with a beautiful sunrise

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