“Have you checked the mailbox?”
It may seem like a simple question – but it is not. It is not even a question, rather it is an imperative. It is my wife’s way of telling me to brave the bitter cold so that she does not have to.
“Yes,” I tell her, “I did.”
“Was there anything in it?”
Here is where things get dicey. If I say no, I am being honest. If I say not really, I am being all the more honest – because the truth is the box only contained junk mail addressed to her, so I threw all away.
“Not really,” I say.
“Uh huh,” she says.
“Would you check the mail again?”
“There wasn’t any,” I insist.
More minutes pass…
“I heard you toss my mail into the recycling bin,” she says.
Our recycling bin is a large square box that coincidentally is colored a deep postal blue. In the front, near the top is an inviting slot through which I deposit all the mail destined for the big direct marking firm in the sky.
Using the box is perhaps my greatest daily delight. It is where I dispatch everything from insurance offers that cleverly disguise themselves as official looking documents to the breathless prose of extended warranty come-ons – but the bulk of what I so gleefully skim into the trash is the flotsam carried by an endless streams of credit card solicitations.
My wife is the exact opposite. What I throw away, she stockpiles.
She not only reads through every flier and shopper that lands in our mailbox – but she holds onto them, building walls of newsprint that transform our sofa into a fortress.
It frustrates me because I make sure I never get junk mail. I have been known to snarl and lunge at hapless clerks who are foolish enough to ask for my email or house address.
“Why don’t you throw that stuff away,” I ask.
“I need to sort through it,” she says.
And she does. She spends whole afternoons meticulously sifting through catalogs from home furnishing stores or travel agencies, lingering for hours in every room and visiting each port.
In a small way, I envy her that. She is more adventurous than I am. While I am content to remain anonymous, confined to my ten acres of heaven and the gravel roads where I walk my dog, she explores the world – if only through the pages of glossy catalogs.
So I give her a tender opening to tell me about what she sees in this wonderful world of advertisement.
“What have you found that is so interesting?” I ask.
“This,” she says, as she reaches into the fold of a coupon flier and retrieves our cell phone bill.