As a kid I was weirdly envious of my parents’ mail, the fact that they were constantly getting what appeared to be letters (they were actually bills) but none were ever addressed to me–and then this frustration was vindicated when I read one of those beginning-reader books about the two frogs who are best friends, the homoerotic one, and there’s an episode where one of the two frogs is really upset that he never gets any letters in the mail. After he complains about this to his friend (the friend is also a frog), his friend takes the initiative to just write the guy a letter and send it.
Dude receives the letter and feels loved, warmed, engaged.
Anyway: twenty-odd years go by, I’m living in an apartment now, and every time I open the mailbox, and I see that there’s mail in it, my stomach drops.
I dread it.
Back in October I got hired as a busboy at a shitty restaurant in Coconut Grove for which I had to go and buy a buncha slacks and white polos–so I went to Macy’s.
I was strapped for cash, and the cashier told me that I didn’t have to pay. My clothes could be free! All I have to do is sign up for a Macy’s credit card.
So I enrolled for the Macy’s credit card.
Then I forgot about the Macy’s credit card.
Suddenly I’m getting luminous white envelopes with no return address. Menacing shit. I’m apprehensive about opening them because I just read the Fauci interview where he talks about strangers sending him mysterious powder. So I leave them alone until three or four of them accumulate on my desk and then, drunk one night, I open them all at once and see that they’re notices from the Macy’s people. Macy herself.
“The time has come,” etc.
I now owed double the amount I’d spent on the clothes, but I’d quite the busboy job, so I couldn’t pay it.
Then they started calling me–apparently they’d been calling me for a while, probably just to remind me that the card exists, and that I owed them a reasonable amount of money, but I’d been dodging their phonecalls because they appear on my caller ID as “Account Services,” which is the same name that pops up when Bank of America calls me, and I was also dodging Bank of America at the time. (I swear this was just a temporary thing!)
Point is: not only do I hate my mailbox now, and my voicemail box even worse, I also hate to get phonecalls.
If I get a phonecall that isn’t from my brother or dad or mom or Bob or Lynda, I send it straight to voicemail. Otherwise, if I don’t recognize the number, I don’t see the point in ruining my day. I don’t remember the last time I got a phonecall and said, “Oh, good!”
They’re all terrible.
Email’s a little different because it’s the artery through which business flows. I send out pitches to magazines and queries to agents and I get feedback through email. Steve Donoghue sends me messages and, occasionally, somebody will use the TALK TO ME function at the top of your screen right now and send me a message in response to something I wrote on the site, or something I said on the podcast, and we’ll have a nice exchange.
That kinda thing makes my day.
So this is a two-part observation:
- Being an adult is awful.
- If you wanna make my day, and have a chat, feel free to send me an email via the TALK TO ME function above.