Dear Mr. Postman...

Friday, October 9, 2015

Two commonly known facts about me:
  1. My full name is Sara Kathryn, but no one calls me either of those, not even my mom. During my bat mitzvah training, I once asked my rabbi to stop using my full name because it made me feel like I was in trouble with God.
  2. I've moved a lot of times. I counted recently, when I made the move up to Cleveland, but I've already forgotten the number. More than 10 times in 10 years, I know that - & I know that I am tired of moving.
The combination of these two facts has historically meant that I have to fill out multiple change-of-address forms every time I move (which, again, is a lot) - one for me as Kate, one for me as Sara, one for me as Kathryn, & sometimes still one for me at Katy, in case I'm getting mail from 1999. It is A) is a pain in the butt, & B) $1 per submission, if I fill out the change-of-address forms online instead of in person, as is my preference.

But when I moved back to D.C. in the fall of 2013, I realized something exciting: I could label change-of-address form as a "family move" instead of an "individual move," ensuring that any mail with my last name on it would forward to my new address. Hello, extra six minutes of my life & extra $3 in my pockets!

That's what I did when I moved from my mom's house to Cleveland in July, except I forgot one little thing: My mom & I have the same last name.

One day, I came home to find a fat stack of mail stuffed into my typically near-empty mailbox. I usually get, like, one piece of mail a day - & three out of six days, it's junk - so this was more than a little unusual. As I thumbed through the envelopes, I realized: These are all for my mom. What happe... Oh. Oh, shit.

That's right. In signing myself up for a "family move" so I could skip a few forms & keep a few bucks, I accidentally "moved" my mom, too. She's been at the same address in the suburbs for 28 years, & suddenly, all of her utilities & bills were rubber-banded in a rusty little mailbox in Cleveland, bright yellow forwarding stickers affixed to each envelope like a beacon.

For three weeks, I had to bring my mom a huge stack of mail every time I came home. Even after I stopped the forwarding service & switched her back to her "old" address, I kept getting her mail - & I continue to, because her electric company, which lists her correct address on the bill, now lists mine on the envelope. Damn you, "return service requested" feature.

Today, while visiting my mom, I retrieved her mail (because she's so forgetful about it that a neighbor once stopped over to make sure she was, like, alive). Her mailbox was once against bursting at its seams with mail that so rightfully belongs to her...

...& somehow, after all of that, at least five envelopes that belong to me.

Now, it seems, I get Sara's mail in Cleveland, & I get Kate's mail in Cuyahoga Falls, & thank God it's only a 40-minute drive & that I'm coming home every Thursday to watch Grey's Anatomy with my mom, I guess, because somehow, I am less efficient than the United States Postal Service. And that? Is one depressing sentence.

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