Our weekend started out great. We went to a basketball game. We went to the fights. We went to the gym for Body Combat. We ran errands and went grocery shopping. I relaxed a little on Sunday morning, and then on Sunday afternoon, I did the usual Sunday things… the laundry, a little vacuuming, a little cooking, a lot of preparing things for the upcoming week. I did not work out in the garage because there were too many random things to be done around the house, and I didn’t want my attention diverted from them.
Finally, at the end of the day, I sat down to do some writing. It was hard to do, though, because some unpleasant, cluttering thing was crushing the part of my mind that does creative writing and other things that I like. Something conniving and surly, taunting and smirking. Something obnoxious and potentially dark, but mostly sarcastic in a bad way. Something that laughs at my pain. Something tediously annoying and annoying tedious. It smelled like a scam, a bully, a filthy nickel, a plot to rip people off, a bundle of lies and waste and ecological mayhem and environmental irreverence and an obscene plunder of mind-numbing, time-consuming nothing.
It was the mail.
I had to finally open it. ALL of it.
This is the part of BEING AN ADULT that I do with the least success, simply because I hardly ever do it at all. I avoid it. I’m terrible with it, and so is Callaghan. It gets to a point where it can’t be ignored because suddenly it’s a 500-pound, four-cornered paper beast that exploded into fragments all over the place and won’t go away until I plow into it.
I loathe opening the mail with a terrible passion. It’s a dreary and slightly depressing chore, and I know that if I just do it the day it comes in, it would be a non-issue. I’m aware that it’s a good idea to open the mail on a daily basis. Honestly, I don’t know what my problem is. What’s so hard about opening the mail rather than tossing it somewhere and forgetting about it?
Sometimes, something important in the mail gets missed because of my negligence, like the bill I found buried in one of the piles of mail I finally went through on Sunday. (Yes, one of the piles. There were four piles in different parts of the house. I know. I know.) It was a gas bill, and I’d forgotten to look for it because for months, the gas bills have reflected only a credit and a big NOTHING in the “amount due” field. Evidently the credit finally ran out and this latest bill was an actual bill that needed to get paid, and it was due yesterday… the day after I found it! I put it in the outgoing mail the day it was due. Fortunately, the payment didn’t have far to go. But what if I didn’t decide to get off my ass to open the mail on Sunday?
Here’s a good adult’s system for dealing with the mail:
1). Get the mail. Open it. Sort it and discard the junk.
Here’s my system:
1.) Extract the bills (I know when to look for them) and toss the rest of the mail somewhere.
2a). Set the bills on the little metal rack thing that sits on my desk, because whenever I owe someone money and they send me a piece of paper to tell me about it, that’s where it goes. At the beginning of the week of “payment due by,” I pay the bill.
2b). The remnants of the bill get stapled together, marked with “PAID,” and left on my desk in the TO FILE pile. Or on top of the file box, itself. (Don’t ask why I can’t just do the extra little step of removing the lid from the file box and putting the bill summary inside its folder. I don’t know.)
2c). (If the gas bill reflects a credit for several months, I forget to look for it in the mail. This is especially easy to do because it arrives out of sync with the other bills.)
3). When the weight of the ignored mail starts to smother me, I seek out the piles and deal with them. It always feels like my legs and hands are made of deadwood and I’m dying a little.
4). After going around the house and collecting all of the mail, I redistribute it into different piles: Callaghan’s mail goes into one pile, and mine into another.
5). I put Callaghan’s pile of mail somewhere in his office/studio, thinking that he’ll notice it one day and do something with it.
6). Begin the irksome task of opening my own mail: First, identify the generic junk and put it in the RECYCLING pile. Then open all the envelopes and find that 98% of the mail… the overwhelming bulk of it… is junk with my name on it.
7). Prepare the personalized junk to be discarded: Open the envelope. Find the part with my personal information. Tear off that part and set it in the TO BE SHREDDED pile. Put the recyclable parts in the RECYCLING pile. Throw the rest into the TRASH pile. Put the items to be filed in the TO FILE pile. (The mail is still in four piles!)
8). Do the things: Gather the enormous pile of recyclable paper into my arms and haul it out to the recycling bin. Throw the trash pile into the trash. Shred everything that’s left. The shredding part adds some mileage to the tedium because I have to EMPTY THE SHREDDER when I’m done, and then that has to go in the trash.
And that’s it. I’m good for the next three months.
(I always vow to start opening the mail when it comes in, but so far, that hasn’t happened.)
Since I didn’t think I would spend Monday night writing this useless rant about the mail, I didn’t take a picture of the mail or the carcasses thereof. So here’s a picture of Callaghan:
Callaghan (blurry in a candid shot).
See? It’s male. Har, har. Lame, I know. So is this post. So is the mail. So am I, for not opening the mail. I wanted to write Haiku for today’s post, but I wasn’t about to write Haiku about mail. You’re welcome.