Friday April 18, 2014

End of door-to-door delivery is an end to personal service

This is the Friday after the Wednesday on which Canada Post informed us all that it intends to stop delivering to the door in urban areas.

I deliver Walk 61 in downtown Kamloops. It wasn’t until today after work that I had the time to figure out how I feel about it; I’ve been too busy delivering mail to take the end of my job seriously.

I realize this evening that what I feel is a great sadness and sense of loss.

Like all carriers on foot walks, I deliver to hundreds of calls, one step at a time. I can picture every house on my route. I know each house number and in many cases the names of the individuals living in that house.

When mail arrives at my sorting case with the wrong address, I experience a sense of satisfaction every time I figure it out and get it properly delivered.

I know all the uneven walkways, all the sticky gates, and which dogs are petable.

I see the front gardens pass from spring crocuses to fall chrysanthemums. People introduce me to their newborns and tell me about their renovations.

Some move away because they split up, others move into the neighbourhood because of a new job. Some of them die.

The longer you deliver the same walk, the wider it opens to you.

I know that for over 100 years, as long as this neighbourhood has existed, letter carriers have been delivering mail to these same houses.

The idea that someday someone doing a job sort of like mine will just drive by on their way to sort mail into community mailboxes is a loss of connection that this neighbourhood, and thousands like it across Canada, have had since they began.

It will be the end of a mail service rooted in personal knowledge.

The only things I won’t miss are the wearing out of three pairs of shoes a year and having to hear that old chestnut, “If it’s a bill, you can keep it.”



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