True Story©... The Snailest of Mail

     Home life has me WILD bored…
[Phlip note: y’all benefit from this in the form of consistent output]
I have been in my house and have only ventured outside of my OMB-designated Combined Statistical Area one time since March, with most of that time spent in my own home.

     That has left me with plenty of time for online retail therapy, documentary films and series, a couple of old movies revisited and some around-the-house projects.  That said, I have spent my spring and summer keeping myself busy.

     During my above-mentioned (and previously discussed) departure from my own area code for a few days right at my birthday, Disney+ threw the world a bone and released the Broadway smash Hamilton to at-home streaming instead of the planned 2021 theatrical release.  Upon my return home from my little trip, the wife person and I dug into it together and repeatedly.  I would be embarrassed to admit how many times we have watched it in this 53 days if it weren’t so good a production as to belie said embarrassment.
Somewhere in the midst of week one and around 8-to-10 viewings of the production, I began to notice things aloud…

Me: “Hmph…”
Wife Person: “What?”
Me: “They sure do seem to do a lot of communication by letter back in the late 1700s.”
Wife Person: “Well, they didn’t have phones back then.”
Me: “Well no shit, I understand, but.  Um…”
Wife Person: “But what?”
Me: “This is also the years before the United States was technically a thing yet, so there could be no United States Postal Service.”
Wife Person: “And?”
Me: “Who was carrying these damn letters?”
Wife Person: “I don’t know, Phillip.”
Me: “… and furthermore, HOW much of this shit got lost on the way across the Atlantic?”
Wife Person: “Do you want to keep watching, or do you want to talk about the history of US Mail?”

     Ah-HA!!!  Just as sure as I am actually working right now as well as writing this at the same time, I am quite adept at doing two or more things at once.  I broke out my phone from the couch and dug into the history of the postal service and learned [link] how letters were delivered in the 1700s and the answer – well, the short version of the answer – is “by hand.”  In the 18st century, it was common for a letter to take two weeks(!!!) to travel distances that in the 21th century is so close that you can travel there and back without even having to plan to stay overnight (unless you’re my bougie-ass wife).  There were no “official” postal officers, even if ol’ Ben Franklin was doing all he could to standardize the postal service.  As I suspected, a lot of letters – business, personal and I assume government – often never reached their intended locations.

     In a story in which I am discussing having left my area only once in what is now 5 months and one week, I had an idea.  In my trip down the internet rabbit hole, I learned that rail travel helped to speed things along in the dearth of proper road travel and still yet 120something years before motor transit.  I thought down through my years-drunken mental rolodex and thought of the furthest address away that I could think of off the top of my head.  I then went outside and killed a bald eagle to make quills of its feathers, cashapp $callmephlip if you want one hand-wrote a note to an otherwise unnamed gentleman at an address across the street from the address in question.

“Dear Sir, I hope this letter finds you in good health
And in a prosperous enough position to put wealth
In the pockets of people like me: down on their luck
You see, that was my wife who you decided to fuck

Uh-oh! You made the wrong sucker a cuckold
So now it’s time to pay the piper for the pants you unbuckled
And hey, you can keep seeing my whore wife
If the price is right: if not I’m telling your wife

(stop judging me, I am telling you I have seen Hamilton an insane number of times)

I took the letter to my local Amtrak station and looked for someone looking to catch a train south on a line that might take them through the city where they might be able to get my letter where it needed to be.  I happened upon a couple who actually were headed directly toward the (unnamed to protect the innocent) city.  First, I explained that as a historical project for a book I am working on, I was relying on 18st century technology to get the letter delivered and would use the outcome for the next chapter of a semi-autobiographical story I hope to publish one day. 
I then explained to them that I was trying to reconnect through the letter with a lost connection and that I had exhausted all of my available avenues to try to contact her, and was trying desperately to either rekindle what might have been or to at least get closure.  It was total bullshit, but I needed to make them want to help get this message delivered without me having to bribe them because I’d spent my spare change for the month of August on new watches already.  If they had bothered to notice that I hadn't remembered to remove my wedding ring to work this ruse, I would have been busted.  They were left with instructions not to interrupt anyone, simply to leave the message in the mailbox and scram so as to not have to answer for the content of the letter themselves.  Through the wife’s tears, they agreed that they would carry my letter as far as possible and then try to find someone to carry on the mission direct to the instructions.

So what now?
I waited…
… and waited…
… and waited…
I kept the news (and the Police-to-Citizens wire) in the still-unnamed city on constant F5 to see what shakes.
Monday morning, I was off work and slept in til about 7:15 and got right at it.  Using the old-world techniques the letter FINALLY found its location after about twelve days and, as designed, the man’s wife read the letter as soon as he did and the feces struck the rotating oscillator.  It was like a Maury episode, except this time the husband had likely done nothing – at least for sure not this – wrong.
[Note: what I am gathering took place here is an inference based on what I read in the police report]
Apparently the couple were away on (his) business and came home to a gang of mail in the box, plus this one hastily-scribbled note consisting of a section of lyrics from Hamilton, which it seems neither of them had seen or remember.  Wife understandably loses her shit and husband understandably can’t defend himself from some shit he has not actually done.  The problem was that all the “evidence” needed was in that untraceable letter.  She pushed and pushed and pushed, eventually (physically) pushing too far and he stopped short of reacting in kind, RIGHT in the front yard in front of all the neighbors and the police arriving to the commotion in their well-to-do neighborhood.  Wife gets sent up on simple assault charges based on not keeping her hands to herself on an actually-innocent husband.

The supervillain in me was not bothered by the commotion I had caused or lives potentially ruined.
The voyeuristic asshole in me, however, was still curious about the fallout.  I texted my now-married ex who I have not spoken to or heard from in a few years out of respect for our respective relationships.  The normal catching up and “how is everyone?” banter goes on, along with exchange of pictures of the spouses/kids/doggies gave way to my impatience leading up to “how are your folks?”
There was a lull in the text exchange and I was afraid that I would be soon visited by the cops again for the shit I'd set in motion.  Instead came a link to her little sister’s IG video explaining in detail EXACTLY what happened directly across the street from the one address I actually remembered which just so happened to be her parents’ house.

At this point, I only pray to GOD that the letter and addressed envelope never falls before her eyesight and if it does, that she doesn’t remember now after 18 years what my damned handwriting looks like.


Popular posts from this blog

True Story©... Cheatfish