Nail up the letterbox

If only there was some way of making only HAPPY things plop floppily down on the doormat.

Yes, occasionally there are postcards from my little mother, or small packages from Amazon, or sometimes a cheeky appearance fee cheque for my scabby Beloved; but more usually, they are little rude notes about the PACKAGE from Amazon that was TO LARGE TO FIT THRU DOOR, or some other badly spelt inconvenience.

And you can join as many mail-preference services online and yes, fair enough, your actual posted spam-mail may stop, but all the other stuff doesnt. Your local freesheet, plus the other local freesheet, plus the ad sheet. Fliers for the newly opened clubs youll never go to because youre too old, and ratty looking takeaways youll never patronise, except in tone of voice.

This weeks favourite flier, the one that sent me flying out of the house in a foul mood and a feverish mind was the one for a local Church, advertising for new congregants. Shiny textured, well-designed, expensively printed, hand-delivered with a bundle of fliers for other services, it made me angry at organised religion all over again – just what you need at 6.38am. People should be free to believe what they believe, and good on them for it; faith brings many rewards and a great sense of peace. But churches that send money on producing advertising rather than, say, giving it to the poor or something (its a revolutionary thought), make me feel quite angry, and not a little dirty. Or maybe Jesus talked about single-venue evangelism through direct marketing in one of the gospels I *didnt* read. I dont know.

[Speaking of organised religion, how great is this paragraph:

The Vatican last night said Pope Benedict XVI had not intended to offend when he quoted a 14th-century Christian emperor as saying the Prophet Muhammad had introduced only evil and inhuman ideas into the world.

Well of course. No offence intended, like. He meant it in a GOOD way. What can we all be thinking?

Granted, it may have been taken out of context and now may, well, *possibly* be blown out of proportion, but one might think that the best way of not causing offence would be to choose a different quote. Perhaps one that didnt call the Prophet evil and inhuman. But then what do I know? Im not Pope this week.]

Then there are bills, which while correctly addressed, are still a pain in the arse. And Important information letters, which, as I have just discovered, while not addressed at all, correctly or incorrectly, can be a damn sight painfully arsier.

Dear Sir/Madam/Homeowner,

I would like to inform you of planned works to essential water connections in your area in the near future.

The work is planned for the 14th-15th on the corner of [the road next to us].

They have been digging for water mains, or diamonds, or gold or something, for the last 4 weeks. Mainly they havent been digging at all, and the rare DUGGA DUGGA DUGGA that alerts you to the presence of real live workmen is seperated by silent days of roadworks standing like a battlefield graveyard, protecting open graves of half-life waterpipes.

Well, that and drivers swearing loudly at their inconvenience.

During these works there will be an interruption to your water supply. Ths will occur between 23:00 hours on Thursday, and 03:00 hours on Friday.Also during these works a moderate amount of noise inconvenience may be experienced but I assure you that all endevours will be made to keep it to a minimum.

I read the note a few times over, trying to decide whether it was meant to be funny or not.

And what their endevours to keep noise to a minimum might be.

I imagined a foreman standing in front of a small cabal of JCB diggers, men with pneumatic drills and a medium-sized lorry going SSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I imagined a troop of water-boardmen tip-toeing through the streets looking watchfully toward my windows, making SHE SLEEPING ONNA PILLOW! miming gestures at each other before tip-toeing to the correct spot of workingness, muffling their giant metal hammer with a sock before SLAMMING it down on the pipes below the road. And then turning on the pneumatic stomper. And then shouting a bit.

I imagined my current slightly-over-5-hour night of sleep slipping to somewhere nearer a 1-hour one.

I imagined the grump I would spend the day in, and the fits of tears I would suddenly cry for no reason.

I scoured the letter again for a little tiny note at the bottom saying

<fontsize=”1″>haha! we kidding you!

but there wasnt one there.

Last night I lay as long as my tiredness let me, waiting to be kept awake.

Good lord, I thought, as I woke the several times to worry about whether Id be woken or not. Theyre being awfully, awfully quiet. Well done THEM, I thought. Havent they done WELL? That foreman really is a Very Effective Cha and then Id fall back to sleep once more.

This morning, padding past the orange-striped standing stones of we-didnt-dothe-water-main-work-after-all-ness, I realised. The only quiet workman is the one who hasnt bothered to turn up.

I know when theyll do it instead, of course.
Tomorrow morning.
My first lie-in in weeks.

Perhaps if I simply nailed up the letterbox, they couldnt deliver the letters. Then none of this – none of it at all – would happen.