I deliver mail.
I’ve mentioned before that delivering mail is the job I do. Six days a week, I sort and load my collection of bills and checks, letters and magazines, good news and maybe even some bad news….and then I take it out on the road to deliver it.
I have some routines that I follow. When you do something 6 days a week…for what seems like forever…routine is the word of the day.
I pull my mail down in the same way.
I load my vehicle in the same way.
My dog bones are in the same place in the vehicle everyday.
I eat the same breakfast and lunch everyday.
I don’t know why. Maybe it’s so I don’t even notice that it’s a different workday? Maybe I want it all to run together so I don’t notice what kind of stone I’m rolling up the hill? Maybe I’m just a creature of lazy habit…
Anyway, this post isn’t really about all my many habits and routines. It’s about one consistent part of my day that got me thinking about expectations and observations.
I have a customer on my route who is known in the community by the nickname “Zippy”.
Zippy ( I call him by his name, Michael…but Zippy sounds more colorful, so I’ll call him that in this post ) uses a wheelchair. Everyday that the weather allows it, he powers down the road from his house to his mailbox and waits for a couple of minutes of conversation when I pull up in the mail jeep.
It’s an everyday occurrence. I look for him and expect that my forward momentum is going to be halted for the time I sit and visit with Zippy.
That’s OK…what’s my hurry?
A typical conversation always goes like this:
Me: ” It’s nice outside today.”
Zippy: “It’s HOT.”
Me: “Yeah….but the breeze feels nice..”
Zippy: “Yeah…but it’s going to rain. ”
Me: “Where’d you hear that?”
Zippy: ” 40 percent chance today, 60 percent chance on Sunday, 20 percent chance on Monday, (etc. etc. etc.)
Me: “So…there’s a chance it won’t rain, too….”
Zippy: “Maybe….Maybe Not.”
That’s the way our conversations typically go…day in and day out. “Maybe…Maybe Not” is sort of the joke that punctuates the end notes of our visiting….kind of the admission that even though something bad could happen, we don’t know when or what, so whatever the weatherman tells us can be held under suspicion.
My amusement out of all this is trying to figure out if there is going to be a day when I say, ” This snow is amazing…see how that one drift over there looks?! ” and Zippy will say something like…
“Oh, I know…isn’t it beautiful outside today?” or even that something to do with the weather is really kind of pleasant.
That’s my game. It feels like a victory if perfection is ever recognized.
Zippy is not a bitter guy. He delivers his observations of gloom with tremendous good cheer. He is happy to point out that it may not be as nice as I think it is…and even if something strange has happened and it really is pretty nice right now, and he has to admit to that fact…well, something is projected to come along soon that will turn “nice” on its ear.
But all I really want is the admission that it might turn out to be an amazing day.
Just once or twice, I want to pull up and have our talk turn to how nice it is outside.
I don’t know if that’s going to happen. It doesn’t seem to be the way our conversations are ever going to go down.
( It takes a lot of creativity to talk for five or ten minutes about how a beautiful day could turn sour. It takes more muscles to frown, too…or so I’ve been told.)
Zippy is not a bitter guy. I said that before….he’s pretty hilarious in his own way, and I think that we enjoy talking to each other. I don’t know how many people become captive audiences for the moment at the end of his driveway….I think I’m the only car that has to stop at his mailbox…so I may be the only person he gets to talk to consistently.
He waits for me to pull up so he can wheel on down….and I wait for him at the mailbox when I see him coming.
That’s part of my routine.
I think that one of the things that keeps me going is that small break in the routine that I look for…the one where I pull up and before I can even start talking, Zippy says…
“You know….today may be a good one”.
Anything good can happen.