Mailbox Part 2: The Clustering

Sunday the husband and I went to see another new construction subdivision. We called ahead and were assured that these homes would have individual mailboxes. Excited because they had some floorplans we really liked, we made our way north for a noon appointment.

The saleswoman, who seemed more interested in telling us how busy she was and how she was working all alone and that it was going to be “that kind of day,” informed us that there would be a cluster mailbox there as well. And because the universe has a gigantic sense of humor when it comes to my life, another person was there viewing the model home that works for a company that put in mailboxes, and explained to us that it is a federal mandate that new construction not have individual mailboxes.

An article from 2013 in the opinion section of CNN’s website talks about when the Post Office was figuring out how to cut costs. It appears as though the choice was between getting rid of Saturday delivery or eliminating house to house mail delivery for all future generations. Local developers could opt to contest the decision with the local postmasters, but apparently new homes lacking their own mailboxes have been a thing for the past 5 years.

And this doesn’t just affect us. Another article I unearthed brings to light the effects that this policy might have on the disabled and the elderly. The law states that mailbox clusters can be no more than a block away from the houses that it serves, but what if you couldn’t walk all the way there? What if a mailbox cluster is not accessible? How does a federal mandate about mailboxes jive with federal law against discriminating against people based on age or disability?

My increased understanding has only increased my anger. The “greatest generation” has benefited from retirement plans, affordable homes, social security, medicare, among other things, and come to find out that as our society declines the simple convenience of mail coming to my house is now also beyond my reach. And yet I am the whining millennial, the spoiled brat, expecting that everything be handed to me. You know what? Yes. I expect that my mail come to a box at the curb of my residence. IT IS THE LEAST I EXPECT FROM A HOME THAT I OWN.

Now I know that I can add “individual mailboxes for single family homes” to the list of shit that should be a given, a right, something all people should have, but somehow don’t get to have in this After Times garbagescape that we inhabit. No thing is too small apparently, to be taken from us and our children. It’s like an endless chain of “well at least it’s not…” At least I can still have my own home. At least it’s only a duplex. At least I get an apartment for just my family. At least I only have to share this home with one other family….and on and on. All in the name of cost cutting and saving money for…well, someone.

Since 2013 we have elected Trump. Flint, Michigan still can’t drink their water. Our EPA is working actively against its mandate, allowing for the poisoning of our land, waters, and air.

It’s funny how it starts with the little things during times of safety. Stuff that slips under the radar, that seems helpful. Then again, a frog in cold water never suspects being boiled alive if the heat is turned up slowly enough.

Until it’s too late.