I rarely open the mail. Instead, I let it make a big pile of itself until it sloshes to one side or the other. Today we had a long purposeful rain to which I responded by scooping up the top third of a mound of envelopes and sitting down with it. (If a check comes in the mail, I can feel it before I see it. That I’ll open like an addict. The rest? Why bother? Not like in the days of Jane Austin or Charles Dickens when revelations of inheritance or unforeseen cousins or declinations of affection came in the mail.)
I must have fallen asleep while opening these. My head jerked up and my eyes beheld a darker room. I heard the lady next door shouting in the hall, “You got power? You got power?” as she knocked on doors. She knocked on mine. “You got power in there?” I ignored her. She has no life. The lights zapped themselves on. I saw the microwave and the alarm clock flashing in that eerie way that will continue after our race is extinct and no one is left to reset them. I had slept through an event. In my hand was a card from Starbucks offering me any drink for free because I have used my gold card so frequently. It is more than a month old but I know they will honor it. I need it now. Why wait? I put on clothes and go down the elevator mumbling to myself, “I got power. I got power. I got power.” I cross the lobby and burst through the door and onto the sidewalk where I come face to face with Olympia Dukakis who looks at me as if I were about to accost her. She holds onto her stylish shoulder bag with the wary reflex of a New Yorker. I draw in a startled breath and blurt, “I got power.” She looks at the card in my hands, and casts her eyes down with a slight smile as she steps around me and regains her stride.
I cross the street and push my way into Starbucks where I order a “grande bold no room black eye.” I take it home and the rain has stopped. I put the mound away and make plans to do the laundry tomorrow. I rarely do the laundry. Instead, I let it make a big pile of itself until it sloshes to one side or the other.