My mailman’s name

rural mailboxes

Small town problems:  I don’t know my mailman’s name.

He has told me, and I instantly forgot.  It is a terrible flaw I have, and I come by it honestly. My dad, for years, had a default first name of Fred for men whose names he couldn’t remember.

My mailman has gone out of his way to be friendly and helpful, and I wanted to get him a small Christmas gift, like a Starbucks gift card, but I didn’t want to just put an impersonal, “To Our Mailman” on the envelope.

Today, I was on the treadmill at the YMCA, our small town’s major gym, and who showed up on the treadmill next to me but our mailman.  I was oblivious, as usual, until he said, “Do I know you?” with that smile meaning, “Obviously, I know you, because I am sensitive to others’ feelings and I remember everyone’s name and I deliver your mail.”

I was ready for my big chance. I pointed to myself and said, “Janet,” as in, “I’m sure you don’t remember my name.”  He said, “I know,” but didn’t offer up a name of his own.  Darn it!   I said, “And what was your name again?” and instantly cringed.  He was hurt!  He was hurt that I didn’t remember.  He said something and darned if I didn’t catch the first syllable.  —something Val.  I smiled and nodded, and jogged for the next 22 minutes in silence broken only by my out-of-shape breathing.

Deval?  Lavalle?  I have no idea!  I texted my husband, who was working out in the weight room, to come introduce himself and get another shot at the name.  But Mark got all sanctimonious and said, “I don’t want to interrupt his workout.”  I kept running, spending 35 minutes on that darn treadmill in all, and finally —val was on his cool down.  I texted Mark again, but basically, he was hungry and just wanted to go home and eat, so we left, seeing —val on the way out, who wished us a Happy New Year.

”You, too!”  I called.

 

This post and all blog content Ⓒ Copyright Janet Farrar Worthington.

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