Sitting on the passenger side of his rusty white mini van, our letter carrier struggles to reach the gas pedal. I can only imagine the cramp he has in his arm by the end of his shift from reaching over to the steering wheel on the driver's side of the van. He has to drive from the passenger side in order to deliver the parcels and letters to the mailboxes, which are located on the odd numbered side of our street, on what would be considered the passenger side while driving.
Initially, I thought that having mailboxes line our street was quaint, but during my time in the US I have become annoyed by the need to tromp outside to collect my mail. I miss the door to door service of the homeland. The tagline, "neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow will stop the mail from getting through" hardly seems apt when the guy delivering my mail is in his dirty sweat pants, drinking a Super Big Gulp, and driving from the wrong side of his 1987 mini van.
Why is it that our letter carrier does not look like a letter carrier? These are employees of the federal government. The first few days here, I wondered what the heck this man, who was adorned in grey sweatpants and a NASCAR t-shirt (what I later discovered was his "uniform" as he wears it daily!), driving a white van (with more rust spots than Bea Arthur has liver spots!) was doing outside of my house everyday at 1pm. I am accustomed to the letter carrier actually looking like, say, a letter carrier. Someone in a fancy uniform with a bag of mail hanging over his (or her - must be PC!) shoulder; someone who actually looks like they are not a sexual predator. The pizza delivery man looks more like a professional than the letter carrier for goodness sake.
Is this normal? My only touchstones for what an US postal carrier should look like are Cliff Clavin
from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
(Yank spelling for a Yank show!). Both of those fine gentlemen had uniforms and bags of mail from what I remember. Don't get me wrong, I do receive my mail on a daily basis (minus Sundays and holidays, of course) and am quite happy with the service, I am just wondering what is up with appearances.