Friday, October 2, 2009


I galloped downstairs whenever he buzzed. You don't want to leave a busy man standing outside, who's taking the trouble to hand-deliver your packages, rather than leave a note (which requires a phone call, or a pick-up at the post office).

And it wasn't just stuff for us, it was for the two other tenants.

We always had How are you. How's your family? conversations, often with Kirk's commentaries on the plays he and his wife had just seen. It took me a while to realize that he had strong, succinct comments, but he didn't impose them on me. (I appreciate that -- when acquaintances insist on praising, dissecting, raving on and on about a play, I retreat a bit, from the friendship.)

Kirk mentioned a wife and a young daughter. (I gave him tickets for the musical "Hpw the Grinch Stole Christmas" when JC was playing the narrator-dog, "Old Max.") A week later, there was a Hallmark thank you card in our mailbox, signed "Your postman."

Kirk didn't wear a uniform -- just ordinary, no-color clothes -- in winter, earmuffs with his jacket and cap, also workman's boots -- summer. a blue shirt, jeans, and sneakers. I'm not sure where he lives, but I know his last name from giving him a "Happy Holidays" check each year. Something he said makes me think that he wasn't worried about money -- his wife had a "good" job, editorial or executive secretary. I don't think of postman as a "good" job.

But I've evolved -- I used to think piano tuners were people who once played the piano, and wanted to be a concert pianist, or dreamed of playing with an orchestra, perhaps? (Probably, because when I was taking piano lessons I thought about being a famous pianist, and The owner of a music shop I talked to, said he had a similar failed dream.) I guess I should have asked Kirk -- how did you end up being a postman? I didn't because he seemed proud, pleased, comfortably ensconced in what I have always thought of as an unrewarding job. Not as low (on the good job totem pole) as street cleaner -- not as unpleasant as garbage man, who are higher, because they make "good" money.

(Mail carrier's starting salary: $7.70 an hour. Street clearner $7. Garbage man earns between $12 and 18 per hour.)

Okay, so why am I writing about Kirk?

Well ... he's a nice looking, stand-tall guy. I notice and like nice-looking stand-tall guys. Is it because he was a pleasant, helpful, undemanding "convenience?"

I don't like writing about him in the past-tense, even though in my life, he IS past-tense. Right now, he's probably traveling, seeing the Grand Canyon (which he mentioned wanting to see). He said that he was retiring, but this guy certainly wasn't in his sixties -- more likely early fifties.

I asked him (during our goodbye conversation), what are you going to be doing all day long? He smiled and said he'd probably be doing puzzles. He said he enjoyed crossword puzzles, and reading.
(I had a feeling he was making stuff up in order to give me the answer that I was apparently looking for.) "That's all?" I asked. And he repeated -- "I like puzzles, I enjoy reading."

So I'm left with a memory of a postman, not an ex-actor, not a guy who had big dreams and settled into mediocrity -- nope -- but a very special, interesting, polished, skillful, reliable, faithful, industrious, mysterious man who brought the mail and made it into an occasion.

It isn't that anymore. I miss him.

I like the fact that it wasn't important to Kirk Robbins, to make an impression, to make an imprint on JC or me. But he did.

1 comment:

Carola said...

Dick and I like to do puzzles too, now that we have time. He does crosswords, and I do Sudokus. I look for the hardest Sudokus I can find. I really enjoy doing them.