There is a certain kind of person I have a hard time delivering the mail to. There are the rude ones, like Mr. Crabbypants, but I can generally deal with those. They make me mad at the time, but it usually passes. There are the super-uber-friendly people, and they tend to get on my nerves a little, sometimes more, depending on my mood, but they're not that bad either. I don't look upon their deliveries with dread. No, there's a special kind of customer for whom I look upon their deliveries with dread, especially if I have something they are going to have to sign for.
Now, when I say 'naked people', I know what happens in your heads: you picture some hottie, either male or female depending on what you like, naked. And hard upon the heels of that thought is the Hey, that's not so bad thought. And I agree. If the person you reflexively imagined was the one to open the door naked, I wouldn't have such a problem with it. Less of a problem if you were imagining a woman, to be honest with you, but still, if it was a good-looking man I'd still have less of a problem with it than I do now. It would be less … shocking.
Old people. It's always old people. Why is it always old people?
I have nothing against old people. According to my son I am an old person, and it's getting to the point where I can't really say 'no'. But I recognize that I'm older now, and I tend to cover up more. Sure, I'm naked in the privacy of my own home, in the shower, getting dressed, etc, but when someone comes to the door, and they knock or ring the bell, I know that they are expecting whomever opens the door for them to be dressed. Or at least covered up decently. And I strive to meet that expectation. Pants are a must, and a shirt if I can get one in a decent amount of time. But naked? Oh, hell no!
But the people I'm talking about are substantially older than me, no matter what my son says, and they seem to be more relaxed about their clothed state. And when I say relaxed, I mean relaxed. There are parts on these people that are quite obviously relaxed that I didn't even know you could relax!
So here I have three examples of mail deliveries gone awry. Mail deliveries with a side order of yeesh!
Judge for yourself.
Mrs. P. lived in an old-age housing community. Small, squat houses set out in a grid. I don't know why, but Mrs. P. would get certified mail all the time. I'd be ringing her bell and looking for a signature or two. Now, I also don't know why, but apparently whenever Mrs. P. was home, she would take off all her clothes. Every week I would ring the bell, and every week she would call out “Who is it?”
“Mailman,” I would answer. “I have a certified letter here I need you to sign for!”
“Just a minute!” she would reply. And she would answer the door. It didn't matter if it was summer or winter, early in the day or late, she would answer the door holding a blanket up in front of her, blinking at me standing out there in the sunlight.
“I need to sign for this?”
“Okay, don't look.”
And she would turn around. Still holding the blanket in front of her. Not wrapped around her. In front of her. And her naked septuagenarian fanny would meander off across the room in search of a pen.
I had a pen. After that first time, when she said “Don't look” and I said “What, ma'am'?” and looked right at her, I always made sure I had a pen; right there, handy and in full view. And I would tell her “I have a pen right here!” But usually I was telling it to a set of small, ancient and naked buttocks as they made their way across the room away from me.
I don't know.
I'll never know!
Okay, this one actually made me nervous. There is a house on my route with a very old fashioned outer door. It is entirely made of wood planking with no windows or screens. There is no way to see through to the inner door, and no way to see out without opening this outer door. The inner door is also solid wood, with no windows, but there is a mail slot in the center of the door. It's a medium-sized slot, and at the time the people who live there were getting an awful lot of mail. I couldn't usually get it all through the slot in one go. What I would do instead was I would take one magazine they were getting, usually the biggest, and I would stick it half-way through the slot and use it like a funnel. 3-4 big hunks of mail would go through this way, and then I'd shove the funnel piece through. Easy as pie.
One day I shoved that funnel piece half-way through and I started to push the rest of the mail through. Just as I was shoving the second handful through, that inner door opened. Mr. M.- was standing behind the door and reached around it to take the mail from me directly, rather than letting me funnel it through the door slot.
“Whoops! Sorry, Pal, you caught me without a stitch on!”
It was true, he did not have a stitch on. As he leaned around the door to take the mail from me I could see bare skin from his armpit down past his hip to his knee. It was just a strip of him, the outer edge of him, so to speak, but when he leaned out further to take the mail from me, more of him was exposed. The exposed portion of him was getting precariously close to his own personal “Danger Zone”.
What was not true, was that I “caught” him. I didn't open that inner door; he did! While I was in the act of pushing mail through the slot! Obviously someone was out there when he was opening the door! He was all smiles about it, but I was slightly creeped out.
It hasn't happened again, but I still feel a little dread whenever I approach that solid outer door. I can't help but wonder what might be waiting for me on the other side!
Mr. and Mrs J.-
One day I had a certified for Mr. and Mrs. J.- . I had never rung their bell before, never seen the inside of their house, I just knew that it was an elderly couple living in there. I rang the bell and heard a faint holler in response. I opened the door to find that the front room in the house was actually the porch; it had been enclosed and made into a kind of foyer room. There was another storm-door setup to go through before you got into the house proper, and it had that big coming-in-from-the-porch step to get in there as well. I could hear a television turned up loud coming from the other side of that second door, and I heard someone yelling “Hello” from in there as well. I opened that second storm door and pushed the inner door open.
Inside was a sort of long, narrow room, almost like a hall. There was a door at my end and one at the far end. The television I was hearing was at my end of the room, right next to the doorway I was standing in. The door at the far end was bracketed by a pair of easy chairs, set up so the occupants could watch the TV. The chair on my right was vacant, but the one on my left was occupied. Mr. J.- was seated there, leaned back in the chair with one leg up, the ankle resting across the opposite thigh. Over his lap was spread the newspaper, and he was obviously using his own lap as a kind of desk as he read the paper and watched the news. He was stark naked, and saying “Hey there! Can I help you?”
Now, you may think that the paper being spread out like that was essentially keeping him 'decent'. I think he may have thought so. But remember that I was at the other end of a long room from him, and down a step. Down a tall step. The way he was sitting, kind of slouched back, both knees high, one ankle lying on the opposite knee, meant that the paper was held as high as the knees. From my position, in front of and slightly below him, I could see that he was not alone. From where I was standing, probably open-mouthed, I could see that he was not the only one sprawled out in that chair. Between his thighs, beneath the paper, lying all spread out on the cushion in front of him and staring back at me with it's one good eye, was his constant and lifelong companion, whom I'll call Johnson. Johnson was, as I said, all spread out and taking the air, actually protruding a bit off the front of that cushion, a bit like a lion looming off the edge of a promontory, ready to pounce. An old, wrinkled, sagging lion, with not an ounce of pounce left.
And kind of … purpleish.
He asked me again, shouting over the sound of the television, if he could help me. I'm pretty sure I was stammering when I answered that I had a certified letter for them that required a signature.
“Hold on” he said, and then he called out loudly for his wife to being him a pen. It took a couple of tries since she couldn't hear him over the television, but eventually she came through the door behind him with a pen.
A pen. And nothing else. Not. A. Single. Thing.
Apparently my mind was unable to cope with the very old, very naked Mrs. J.- after having to deal with purple, non-pouncing Johnson.
My mind shut down.
The next thing I remember is being out of the house on the sidewalk again, blinking in the sunlight. I'm not sure how long I was in there, but I have the impression that they were a lovely couple. Just naked. It kind of freaks me out that I can't recall exactly what happened in there.
I hope I didn't eat any home-made cookies or anything. Who knows what could fall in the batter!
Well, that's it for me and my Naked Deliveries. Well, that's it so far. No pretty girl answering the door accidentally nude, no hunky guy just being buff in the buff and taking on the mail.
One old girl who wold tell me not to look and then show me anyway, again and again.
One smiling old guy giving me the old “Whoops! You caught me naked!” while he practically flung the door open at me.
One old couple who seemed very comfortable with my discomfort, and actually caused a little black-out.
If it wasn't what you were expecting, hey, I'm sorry, but I wasn't expecting it either!
Thank you to everyone who participated in my poll. And for those who voted for the other titles, don't worry. I'll get to them eventually.
Talk to you later!