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Recurring Nightmares October 31, 2012

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Sometime over the summer, I was reading my college alumni magazine when I noticed an announcement that the student mailboxes were to be replaced and that the old ones were being offered for sale (the front of the mailbox nicely framed). “You tell us your mailbox number and we’ll have it mounted and shipped (first come first served) to you,” it said. Well, what with my recurring nightmares about that very mailbox, I was totally in.

“Thank you so much for your order!,” read my e-mail from the college. “Mailbox #1052 was available and you got it!”

Of course, it took a couple of months to fulfill this order—there are inevitably delays with projects like this. But a week or so ago I got a package with the right return address, and I rushed home to open it up.

It’s a lovely frame. It looks very nice. But when I looked closely, there was something strange about how the 1052 looked.

I searched for the blurry photo I had posted of my mailbox on this blog (see link above). I looked at that number and the one on the box that was sent.

It was a decidedly different font.

I e-mailed a friend who works at the college (who also happens to be the copyeditor of the journal I edit). I explained my suspicions, asking if she could find out if the college had actually changed fonts on the boxes sometime in the last three years (and why would they if they were going to replace them?) or if they were just putting numbers on old mailboxes to make sales? In other words, Is this really my mailbox?

Like she has time for this stuff.

Eventually, though, she got an answer and relayed to me: “A number of mailboxes were damaged in the process of extricating them from their decades-old perches, and [he] said that a whole bunch in the middle just weren’t found or recovered when the mailboxes were brought over to Alumni. Some of the boxes did not have numbers (for flexibility), so you probably got one that didn’t have a number during summer 2012, and they put your number on it. Without knowing your exact box #, he couldn’t tell me for sure. But if the typeface doesn’t match the one you took a picture of then it was either 1) damaged, or 2) ‘lost.’”

So this mailbox that I bought because it was my mailbox almost certainly is not my mailbox but a pretty symbol of my mailbox.

It upsets me, though, that after discovering they couldn’t send me my mailbox, they didn’t bother to tell me. To me, it shows that they assume that no one would ever notice or care. (And likely there are very few people who would.) However, I probably wouldn’t have purchased something advertised as one of the mailbox fronts with the number of my choice slapped on it.

Sometimes life’s recurring nightmares are simply disappointments—from the small, insignificant ones like this to the bigger ones that actually count.

Sigh. I wanted my mailbox.


1. Mali - November 2, 2012

OK. You thought you were getting YOUR mailbox. You didn’t. Therefore, that’s a breach of contract. Ask for your money back!

2. Eulalia Benejam Cobb - November 5, 2012

I guess small liberal arts colleges are pretty desperate these days, but that’s no excuse. Your college mailbox will have to live on inside your mind, which may well be the safest place for it.

3. Helen - November 7, 2012

I think you should mail the mailbox back to them with a threatening letter inside it. And don’t affix the correct postage so they have to pay for it.

4. bridgett - November 9, 2012

I have my locker numbers from high school. Of course, I STOLE them. But yeah, I’m with everyone else here. That mailbox isn’t your mailbox, and they KNOW it. Make em pay.

5. Dona - November 13, 2012

That’s so sad! I’d complain if I were you. You have the proof.

6. lhertzel - November 18, 2012

I”m with Lali. they can’t take your memories. but of course nor can they charge you for them.

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