Christmas is upon us once again and so are the catalogs. Today I found 35 in my mailbox and the substitute letter carrier in a fit of frustration and slippery snowy rage told me to my face that she hated me. I don't know her and looked at her sideways while I yanked another thick Swiss Colony brochure out of my little slot in the box at the bottom of my hill. I wish there was an adjoining dumpster, whether for her or for the books, I'm not quite sure. She says people like me make her life hard. Some would argue we're the reason why she has a job but I've got family working at the USPS and I know they hate to hear that more than 'your insurance premiums have been raised.'
My brother David is a letter carrier in my hometown, a small city with a lot of people who know each other. I visit very occasionally and I'm bound to be approached at least once on the street by a smiling someone asking if I'm Dave's or Donny's or even once in a while, Lisa's sister. Forget six degrees of separation. Like the oft ridiculed incestuous family trees of the deep south that don't fork, my hometown might MIGHT have two degrees of separation and even one of them is probably related by marriage. So when I recounted my interaction with the harried mail-lady Dave got all huffy and told me to locate and complain to the carrier supervisor which made me laugh because it sounded exactly like, I'm Gonna Telllllll. He DID tell me that it costs a lot of money (relatively speaking) to mail a catalog so that's big revenue for the post office.
Now I'm not a squealer and I wouldn't be one today. I live on a steep hill off an even steeper mountain road and under the best conditions, when you're not dodging a pick-up truck barrel ass-ing down past you from the dude ranch at the top of the peak, you're on the lookout for Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo and your front bumper can look like a mighty fine pic-a-nic basket if you're smelling like the meatloaf you've had in the oven for the last half hour so I wasn't going to argue with the whiny chick with the uniform and I wasn't going to tell her boss. I've had bad days too and although I don't recall taking it out on any of my customers when I worked with the public, the post office is not the most rewarding and fulfilling of career choices. I've been told employees need to sign forms in triplicate and get a supervisor to notarize requests to urinate.
I turned around and got in my car and sat there dividing everything into my toss and keep pile and wondered aloud over how much money was being wasted on catalogs. I looked into it and I'm not going to bore you with the scary details but it's millions and millions of dollars and what makes the pages all ooh-shiny is a clay coating which basically renders all of it un-recyclable. I confess I'm not the must enthusiastic recycler. I do sometimes reuse plastic cups, cutlery and foil pans. Maybe a zip-lock too because those gallon size suckers are just too valuable to squander. I do have a separate barrel in the garage for plastics, cans and glass and a big box for newspapers. Recently the town recycling drop-off has started accepting those catalogs and also cardboard so I have more piles I'm trying to keep separate and mouse-free in a garage where keeping the door closed seems at best only a suggestion to Spouse and a source of contention whenever I go out there in my nightgown to get another can of crushed tomatoes from a storage shelf and get frostbite on parts I really prefer to keep toasty cozy warm.
I'm keeping Dean & Deluca, J.Jill, Williams-Sonoma, Swiss Colony, Sephora, Smithsonian, Vermont County Store (recycled paper YAY) Acorn, Harry and David, Ulla Popkin, Silhouettes and Hammacher Schlemmer. The TCM 2010 catalog was so big it came in its own box and oh...my last remaining magazine subscription which I won't allow to lapse under pain of death, National Geographic....still an impressive pile. There's also a couple of Italian clothes and objet de art catalogs I can't be bothered typing the names of. Just take my word for it.
Before you think I've got the money to burn, I don't. Well, not much. But I do have a handful of pretty things to look at while I'm in The Library (or what you peons call the bathroom) or while I'm on line or sitting in traffic. They're free (for me, at least) and I can fold over the pages of what I'm pretending to buy when I win the lottery I never play and then most of them eventually hit the recycling bin. I find it hardest to throw away Williams-Sonoma or any if its clones because the images literally make me all tingly and wanty and drooly but then I recover and have a candy cigarette. Ahhhh....satisfying.
I'm satisfied with what I have for the most part. In fact, I feel blessed and privileged. This season is supposed to be all about giving but for the longest time I've been discouraged by the 'what am I getting' attitude that permeates everything. I do 'want' things but in a distracted detached sense of, "Well, it would be nice," rather than an, "I gotta have it." I don't want to constantly 'want'. It seems such a never ending struggle and the more I pay attention to that the more I get sucked into it.
So now, I look and ooh and ahh for a few minutes and then throw all of it in the recycling bin where it belongs and my eye-candy jones is satisfied. Until the mail arrives tomorrow with probably a death-threat from my letter carrier. I wonder if I should get her something from Swiss Colony.