My postbox has been home to many things.
I check the miniature home on a pole at indiscriminate times. Not one for a routine, the lid can go for days untouched while at other times endure multiple violations of its position within a two hour period.
Occasionally there will be a letter or piece of plastic with my name and address adorned. This is no surprise, really. In fact it’s a pretty important function of the box and were it to no longer serve this purpose I’d be forced to uproot the bloody thing and place it in my backyard as an attempt at ironic, pastiche art.
What does surprise, however, is when one of these seemingly identical pieces of correspondence are labelled with the precisely identical location but completely different name. A window into the past that interferes with my self-righteous desire to be the important name of the house.
At some point in the indeterminate past the person who belonged to that name would have disturbed the lid – probably at much more regular intervals – to withdraw the delivery and open it with excitement (or dread).
Unsettled as I am to receive a message at my address directed at someone else, I continue to check infrequently in case I am to receive something myself. Occasionally my existence is validated by viewing a bill or wedding invitation labelled “YOUR NAME…EXACT ADDRESS YOU RESIDE” and the relief is palpable.
More frequently, I am roused to greet whatever lifeform occupies the box itself. Whilst yesterday the sight of a ladybird couple featured on the western wall of the mailbox, today a wolf spider resided in the greater portion of the north/eastern side. Whether it was a forcible removal of the previous owners or not cannot be disclosed but I can comfortably postulate that the spider would have felt incredibly uncomfortable if confronted with the thought that another living being had rested in its house once upon a time.
What then, to spider and ladybird alike, would they say to two weeks previous? Upon removing three versions of advertising addressing “HOUSEHOLDER” I was lucky to escape with my hygiene and piece of mind by narrowly avoiding the cockroach nestling happily between adverts. Disturbing indeed.
Perhaps they walked with the same intrepid steps I take upon re-entering my house – each time after receiving a jolt of mortality from reading the names of strangers who slept in my room, cooked at my kitchen and stood naked as I do in the same shower.
To these things I cannot predict logically. All I know is this. When I move, I will not be updating any of my details.