As a mail carrier of 14 years in an otherwise pleasant and serene suburban neighborhood, it never ceases to amaze me what I find while delivering mail on my walking route. The following list summarizes some of the most unsafe or sickening situations that I have encountered on my path to the mailbox located at or near the front door.
- Broken glass. Recently, a young male homeowner partied heavily at his house the night before he left town on Spring Break. Broken beer bottles and shards of glass serving as evidence of that eventful night obstructed the path to the mailbox. I casually referenced the mess to his father who had stopped by to pick up the mail while his son was away on his Spring Break vacation. He stepped carefully around the glass and explained that maybe his son will grow up one day. And now, weeks after the son returned to his home, all the glass is still there but the garden hose is neatly coiled up near the porch. It is a scene that makes no sense.
- Your dog. No explanation necessary. A dog that loves everyone in the world will still hate the mail carrier. We don’t want any accidents, headaches, paperwork or legal action. Really. And while we’re on the subject, let’s have a word about dog waste. I’ve seen it completely covering the grass, smeared on driveways and even stacked up against a house’s foundation right by the front door. If that’s where you want to start your compost pile, I don’t want to see it or smell it.
- Ice. There is a difference between an innocent fresh snowfall and days or weeks of thick accumulated ice that you have made no attempt to clear. I have seen solid sheets and massive chunks of ice form impassible barriers on steps due to leaking gutters, dripping icicles or overall neglect. If you want us to drop dead, you’ve made your statement clear. A little sprinkling of salt can go a long way.
- Nudity. Children should not come to the door naked or half dressed and neither should adults, for that matter. If you are dressing your child, finish the process. Teach them some discretion. If you are the one exposed, trust me, I don’t want to see it.
- Piles of cigarette butts. I don’t care if you smoke, but how many hundreds of butts will you throw onto the heap as a testimonial to your bad habit before sweeping them up? They’re not going to disappear on their own.
I understand different mail carriers are bothered by different things, depending on geographic region, type of route and various other factors. I am sure there are carriers out there who have found much worse things at the front door. And who knows? Maybe I have, too. But for security purposes we’ll just stop the list here . . . for now.