Friday, October 12, 2007

My Allies Have Turned On Me

I love Netflix. I love my ridiculously long queue of movies and tv shows. I love prioritizing this list so that all of the homework movies that I feel like I should watch but that I secretly think sound kind of boring are at the bottom (The Fog of War – I’m talking to you.) and things like the documentary on Tammy Faye Baker and the third season of Smallville and are located in positions 1 and 2. I especially love not having to enter the evil den of disappointment that is Blockbuster (the parallel universe where “new release” means “not more than 5 years old” and “cashier” means “just doing our part to provide jobs for the mentally challenged”). So you can imagine my sadness when NetFlix stopped working.

Despite my obvious love for the internet I’m a huge fan of snail mail and the US Postal Service in general – I even like the postal service in NY despite the fact that they refuse to pick up mail for delivery at my house like every other postal service in the country. I assume that the mail carriers in New York were granted some sort of exception as a trade off for having to walk everywhere while other mailmen leisurely cruise the street in their right side driving mail trucks (driving on the right side is such a boon when it comes to leaning out the window to pick up babes) and I’m ok with that (sort of). Sadly, this love has now soured and shriveled up and is all but dead.

My last interaction with the Netflix was an evening curled up on my couch post Costa Rican vacation with a copy of “Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor.” I happily regressed to age five to sniffle over the death of his pet goldfish and got choked up like only an adult on the cusp of middle age can when the movie reminded me that the gold fish death was 20 odd years ago and perhaps a 29 year old women should have better things to do on a Wednesday night than lovingly devour a Jello pudding cup while replying to work emails. Luckily, I had the Netflix movie to help me remain in denial about such things.

Well no more, in the last three Netflix-less weeks I’ve been left with ample time to get in touch with reality. I can no longer pretend that the US Postal service is my BFF nor that Netflix is going to be my rock in crises to come. Ever since I returned Mr. Rogers Netflix movies no longer make it to my mailbox. I’ve called to confirm that yes, they are sending to my correct address. They’re also getting my movie returned to them which rules out a DVD thief and triggers one of those cheerful little email announcements that, -- oh yes -- “The Outsiders” and “Friday Night Lights Disc 2” have been dropped in the mail just for me, but what was once a foreshadowing of delight to come has morphed into a cruel taunting of what could have been. “Hey Brianna, you could be looking forward to greasers and some hot teenage butts in football pants but instead you’ll just be staring at an empty mailbox for the next 4 days!”

This no Netflix state of affairs continued in my mailbox for a month but came to an abrupt end today! When I suddenly received a Netflix movie the elation I felt at the possibility that maybe the problem done fixed itself lasted until later in the day when I received a phone message from Verizon letting me know that the last bill they sent me was returned to sender. Oh US Postal Service how you taunt me.

The most troubling aspect of this problem is exactly how helpless I am, and really how helpless we all are, to do anything should sleet or snow or the hand of god deter the mail in its journey from point A to my house. I’ve left a note for my mailman (which I found tossed aside on my porch…) and filed a complaint with the Post Office but neither of these efforts has resulted in movies or bill or letters (I just KNOW that Ben and Jerry took this month to ask me to be an official spokesperson) reliably showing up at my house. I have no idea what my next steps should be. This experience has brought into focus just how blindly I rely on the mail. It is likely a testament to how well the postal system works that we as a nation haven’t seen fit to implement a snail mail back up plan but that ain’t helping me implement my Friday night backup plan of thai food and a movie.

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