The fanzine and mixtape trading movements admittedly aren’t what they used to be. But they still exist in certain pockets where you would have to pry those items from our cold dead fingers.
Believe it haters: some of us still write letters and send them through the post.
Canada Post was the vessel we used to connect with one another. It was the vehicle that drove our labours of love, our decoupage mash notes and our music to one another, whether we had met the person on the receiving end of our parcels or not.
It wasn’t just about the products that we made – it was the process. The clank of the metal mailbox lid, the sweet, giddy thrill of tearing open paper and the voyeuristic stalking of the post delivery person.
And maybe we took it for granted.
My love affair with delivered mail started long ago. I was a surly teen when I first took out a classified ad in Maximum Rocknroll, the authoritative international DIY punk fanzine of the time, looking for mixtape trading buddies and other likeminded penpals. I excessively wrote letters, applied stickers and doodled within the margins and then dropped the whole mess into the red monolithic postbox at the end of the block.
Some days, the only thing that got me through school was the thought of the postman walking up the steps to my suburban home, delivering me reciprocity.
Years later, when I relocated to Montreal and had few local friends, the postman – le facteur – became my pal. Hearing his thunderous footsteps clomping up the stairs to my apartment lobby, I rushed to come meet him every day. I rarely understood his rough, jaunty joual, but he always smiled at me, which was more than what most offered me at the time.
Sorry Canada Post, but thinking back on that is going to sting more than a little. But that seems to be the cost of change these days: hurt feelings.
I suppose the mail will continue to exist in some fashion – checking the PO box is okay. So will zines and mixtapes and stuffing love letters in garish envelopes – belles-lettres indeed. But, Canada Post, sorry to be dramatic, but it seems as though a part of us is withering and dying with your announcement.
But for now lets enjoy home delivery while we still can – penpals anyone?
– Featured photo from Flickr user “Stephen Rees” – Creative Commons.