Thursday, October 25, 2007

WC: The Renaissance of My Mail Box

When I was younger, getting the mail every day was exciting. I had a serious magazine addiction, and many days brought brand new editions of the New Yorker. Or Entertainment Weekly. Or Smart Money. Or Time. Or--well, you get the idea. Also, I was a freelancer, so the check often was in the mail. When I had a somewhat-syndicated column, the mail might include publications with my work in them. And, of course, there was an occasional letter, and many bills.

Time marched on, and my mailbox became anorectic. People email now. I've pruned my subscriptions way down. I hardly even get bills anymore, as I pay most of them online. Over the years, the daily excitement of the mail evolved into a very occasional treat--for instance, a post card from a traveling friend or my twice-yearly royalty checks. There were days that I did not even check my mail.

And then it came to pass that I joined Netflix. And my mailbox is a source of joy again. The little bit of excitement I feel whenever I see that iconic red envelope is almost silly. But having lived in an age when I would set my alarm for 2 am to catch a showing of a favorite movie that I might never see again, having films and TV shows appear in my mailbox feels a lot like magic.

It seems that each development in technology takes away a bit more of the joy of anticipation. Even Netflix seems too slow for the young technophiles who download movies. I suppose some day we'll snap our fingers and the movies will appear in our heads. But, for now, I'm savoring the moment of suspense as I put my key in the mailbox lock and wonder if a work of art or entertainment or education is waiting for me inside.

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