i gave up my post office box yesterday. it wasn’t a very difficult decision, because i simply don’t have the $100 fee for the annual renewal. yet it still feels like a very big step. taking my keys up to the counter to fill out paperwork and get my deposit, i was glad to be served by my favourite postal clerk. she’s the one with the long wavy black hair and the cheerful smile, and the kind of laugh that people would call infectious. she’s passionate about surfing, and is probably in her early 30s. i’m going to miss her.

i started renting the box in august of 2001, when i first arrived in this city. there were two reasons: one, because i anticipated moving a lot over the next several years, and two, because i’d always found the idea of post office boxes very romantic. they have a certain mystery and aura of intrigue around them, or at least they do in my eyes. i liked the fact that i could live anywhere and still get packages from my mom, and that i recognized the faces of the different postal clerks. i liked picking up my mail and taking it to the bean, and reading letters while drinking good coffee. it made downtown feel like another home, a comforting place outside of whatever neighbourhood i was living in.

but. having a post office box was also part of my problem with attachment. i did not want to feel tied down to any one house or apartment. i might put up book shelves, but i would just as easily take them down and polyfil the holes in the wall. i might plant a garden, but it would probably be in pots. i did not trust landlords not to evict me, lovers not to leave me, roommates not to go crazy or move away.

i still don’t trust my landlord, but at least now i don’t depend on anyone else to help pay the rent each month. so, i have more reason to believe that i’m staying put for as long as i want to. from now on, i’ll be using the little mailbox in the front hallway of my house, and put that $100 postal box renewal fee towards next month’s rent on my apartment.

[photo: random beauty in winnipeg, captured when the lovely anna m. was showing me around her hometown last december]


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