Last week I took a leisurely stroll down the magnolia lined drive of my plantation to retrieve the mail from the box. I stepped into the street, opened the box and collected what amounted to divots of mail. Glancing up, I noticed a white vehicle speeding in my direction. A firm hold on my junk…mail, I dove away from the vehicle and into the tall grass behind it. With a blunted thud, followed by clanking of my box returning to earth, I saw the faceless driver of the white automobile speeding away from the scene of the crime. Dusting myself off, a flurry of salty language spewing from my tongue, went over to asses the damage both to the box and my heart.
The post, snapped in half was a total loss, but the box, having endured this plight about four times prior, was still serviceable. The two bushes I planted in front of the post about 3 boxes ago are reduced to but to one small gesture of their original selves.
I live in a residential neighborhood, with speed breakers, street lights, lots of walkers in the street (but not street walkers), it is generally quiet, except during rush hour, when it is used disrespectfully by idiots who have figured out they can save forty seconds off their commute if they will speed through my neighborhood.
When I moved into my house years ago, the box was mounted on the back side of a railroad tie. One of my first home improvement projects was to unearth the unsightly post; appropriate on some rural back road but an eye sore in fashionable Smitherton, and replace it with a fabulous metal post with beautiful iron finial. Three weeks later my new post was holding the tarp down on the woodpile having been summarily smashed by either a drunk, child, idiot, or some combination thereof; sailing recklessly through my neighborhood.
Over the course of eight mailbox posts, a few boxes and several address numbers, I have come to the realization my box is strategically located in the firing line of drunks, children, and idiots. My property is at the top of a hill and the box sits at the end of a bit of a curve that comes out of the hill. Due to postal regulations and aesthetics there is not too much I can do in terms of relocating the post. After each incident of destruction I come up with all kinds of clever strategies for implanting a structure which will either stop a car or cause enough damage to render it useless. Inevitably though, those same strategies would likely result in death or the impalement of one of the neighbors’ kids, so I find myself out buying a new post and starting the circle of destruction all over again. I can not bring myself to striking a deal with the local railroad to procure one of their ties. The aesthetics combined with the smell of creosote in the summer is untenable.
Never; not once through all the years, has the drunk, child, idiot or combination thereof stopped to apologize, offer to replace the post/box/bushes, or pick me up out of the grass. I wonder if they are just that oblivious? I do believe there is a seat warming in Hell for them.
Being light on discretionary income combined with being the cheapest guy on the planet, this time I decided to build my own post. Rather than hauling down to Home Depot and dropping $40 for the cheapest post; for less than $10 they sold me an 8 foot piece of pressure treated pine then threw in another 2 feet of cedar, someone else had paid for but had cut down to size. At 7:00 p.m. I fired up my circular saw followed by my miter saw and router, and kept them running until 10:00. I kind of thought I might piss off the neighbors but when I thought about the fact that they generally don’t turn their dog off until midnight and then crank him back up a 5:00 a.m. every friggin’ day, I decided not to lose any sleep over it.
By noon the next day, I had exhumed the bottom half of the old post, stripped the numbers and box off the old post, repainted the numbers (I am that cheap), waxed and buffed the box, assembled the new post, stained, reassembled and planted the new structure.
Here’s the thing. History suggests that between now and three years from now, I will have to face this demon all over again. So I am left to wonder, who is the real idiot here? I think it is time for a beer.