Since the labour dispute at Canada Post ended on June 28th following passage of bill C-6, I’ve resumed my usual habits as far as mail is concerned. Every weekday morning at 11ish — so long as I’m working from home — I throw open the door of my Montréal apartment, sprint down the six steps to the building’s front hall, and eagerly unlock my mailbox.
So far it hasn’t been a great haul. There’s been a statement from Revenue Canada indicating the payment schedule for my GST refund, a bill from Hydro-Québec for myself and my roommates and the final transcript from the two month French course I took after my move here last October. Yesterday the lady who usually brings our mail rang the doorbell and delivered into my grasp a new record from Beirut.
I’ve already mailed several things: a book, loaned to me on a home visit in May and quickly devoured upon my return, restored to its owner; and, for a visiting friend who couldn’t make it to the Post Office on the day she caught her train homewards, two letters and a small box of personal belongings. I’ve got four letters planned for this weekend, on separate paths west and east.
So it’s probably clear by now that I care very deeply about mail. By most accounts, I shouldn’t; smart people everywhere are telling us that mail has lost its place in the modern world. I can’t reconcile that opinion with my own experience of reaching into my mailbox and pulling out an envelope from afar with my name on it. Or the knowledge that someone took up a pen and paper to write, and the appreciation of the care and time that this takes. Perhaps I’m a sentimentalist, but my correspondents seem to share my enthusiasm.
This is all to say — I don’t believe that e-mail can ever replace the old-fashioned kind and I hope it never gets the chance to try. Long live the mail, and here’s to the mail carriers!
P.S. In writing about mail, I would be remiss not to mention this. Halifax’s humble messenger does some wonderful work.