my mailman hates me

I'm not entirely sure I can explain how funny this was. But let me start with a fact:

I think my mailman hates me.

It is entirely a beast of my own making. I run the Winter House and so I mail a lot of things. Mailpeeps--and this one is a man--are busy.

I think he doesn't like that Will used to park too close to the mail box and he had to sort of zigzag to get to the box. I think this because Will told me once.

I think he doesn't like that sometimes I have about 3 packages stuck inside the box with the little red flag up.

I really don't think he likes that around the holidays I set a little wrought iron table out there (under the mailbox) and set 2-3-4 packages out on the daily. The flag is up, but there is nothing in the mailbox. Only boxes on that little table. In my defense, he did not need to get out of the truck to grab them. But, still. Long about December, that table disappeared. I think he burned it.

And I think he hates me.

So I'm scared of him. I've never seen him up close, but like a cat I don't want to be seen by him.

"Why are you scared of him, babe?" Asks Dan when he finds out about this teeny quirk in my character.

"I think he doesn't like me!" I say, whiney like a toddler. Then, "...and I'm scared of people who don't like me." He laughs.

Laughs and laughs at both my problem and my honesty. Dan does not share this fear. And if he did, he would certainly never admit it.

This is literally crazy. I get it. I get a little jolt if I happen to be outside when he comes by. I walk around the corner. I sneak into the garage. It's all I can do not to run. But...I mail a lot of packages and I think I'm making too much extra work for him.

Why am I like this? I don't even know--except that I think this pandemic has turned me into the crazy neighbor in a television sitcom.

Today, I picked Mags up from school. Our snowy return home with purses and school bags and Bread Co and sodas all required some doing. I grabbed the stuff on my side. She, laden down with her things, asked if I could possibly grab her soda. I went to grab it and...I heard it. The revved engine of the mail truck approaching.

It's weird that it happens. I actually love GETTING the mail. But, viscerally, I reacted to his arrival.

"OH CRAP!" And then, in my nervousness, I sort of fell into the car. You know the way you do when you slip on ice and sort of splat all over the back seat? My feet couldn't find purchase on the icy driveway, and my arms were sort of trapped so I wiggled and grabbed everything while I was down there. I clutched it all to my chest like a college kid on the walk of shame and said to Mags:

She said, "What th--what is WRONG with you?!"

"Go!" I shouted again. "GET IN THE HOUSE!!"

She kept looking around which, as I sit here now is truly the funniest part of the whole thing. Her confusion. Her panic. I wish you could have seen it.

"Save yourself!"

She started grabbing stuff faster. And I want to stop right here and tell you it was NOT because she was even remotely afraid. Her panic was short-lived, her speed was opportunistic. It was all about being as fast as me so she didn't miss a single minute of this lunatic adventure.

Let me be honest...We've been here before. Sometimes it's her. Sometimes it's me. Crazy abounds in the Mudd house, and crazy likes a sidekick.

I stayed low, inexplicably using the bushes to screen myself. And then it--everything: me, the bushes, my behavior, his ominous engine getting closer and closer made me start laughing so hard. I mean, SO HARD.

Maggie came running up to the porch. Not low like me, but curious like a reporter. "Why are you running like that? What is going on??"

Maggie was laughing just as hard while she watched me, huddled over, trying like hell to get the key in the lock and turn it, and then finally... FINALLY!...I plunged through the door. I ricocheted around to slam the door, then laughed until I cried. Great, heaving, gobs of air and tears and laughing.

"Wha--" Maggie looked outside. "What in the HECK was all that?!"

"The mailman scares me!" Then I doubled over to laugh twice as hard.

She moved the curtain to peek outside. I went to the window on the other side of the door, and peeled the curtain back enough to see out. He grabbed the packages, put them in his truck. Then put two or three letters in our mailbox and drove on.

"I'm going downstairs," she flicked the curtain smartly back in place.
"You are a lunatic."


~originally published February 2021

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