Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 29 May, 2024
long distance

"I fell in love with someone else during my long distance relationship - the post office clerk"

How everyone could benefit from a trip to the post office.


So came the response as I shoved an a small envelope and a badly wrapped package containing nothing but a few Wispa bars through the gap at the post office till.

My boyfriend had been in Canada for approximately two out of the 11 months he was due to be abroad for. when I made my first trip to the post office. Well, not my first ever trip, but my first memorable visit as an adult at least. 

Admittedly, I was not a postcard person. Despite spending my 9-5 writing – to varying degrees of success, you’ll agree – putting a physical pen to paper had begun to slowly slip down my list of priorities. Sure, what can you say in a letter that you can’t communicate via a GIF or a gourmet selection of memes. 

I might have carried around three notebooks at a time, but rest assured, they were all less than half full. The thoughts of sitting down and writing a full-length ANYTHING were unfathomable.

Given the amount of advice – solicited and otherwise – we got with regards to long distance communication, we practically felt obliged to give it a bash. Suddenly, there was great excitement about sourced cards, sign-offs and extra special somethings that might arrive two weeks after the original letter. Say what you will about the Canadian customs lads, but they’re thorough if nothing else. 

shutterstock_1116236900 Shutterstock / Distinctive Shots Shutterstock / Distinctive Shots / Distinctive Shots

Suddenly, I was finding any excuse to go on my lunch break; to send something. Maybe it speaks to my craic-killer character (á la Clare in Derry Girls), but the rush of anticipation I got sending something off was drug-like. Like a good Aisling, I began hoarding envelopes from press drops and packages, re-purposing them for my plight. Every day, my bag would be weighed down with new tricks and treats to send, to the point where I began losing track of what I’d sent.

In no time at all, I knew the post office workers – well, as you much as you can know someone when you’re dealing with them through a pane of glass.  I had favourites whose windows I longed to stop it, judging the queue ahead to see where I’d land. I was keen to catch up with the man who regularly visited Cork with his wife, and couldn’t recommend a pre-paid card for travelling highly enough. 

“I haven’t been to Canada yet,” he told me. “Some day. We’ve a bit more time now that the kids are grown.”

The world felt smaller in those moments, like I was on the other end of a string-up telephone or a talk tube in a playground. An echo across oceans, encased in an envelope. 

Month 11 out of 11, and our respective birthday cards (two August babies) were the last cards we sent off before he made the journey back. As much as I vibrated at the thought never having to note a time difference again, a part of me lamented the loss of my weekly visit(s) to 19 St. Andrew’s Street. I began looking for excuses to send anything to anyone, though my mam and sister did enjoy feeling like bloggers when their beautifully addressed parcels arrived. Nothing elicits comments from a postman like a chrome purple envelope, that’s for sure.

Though I’m saving a lot of money on heavier-than-expected cross-continent chocolate deliveries, I do make a point of going in to a post office now instead of my previous stop, drop and roll procedure at a post box. Maybe it’s an effort at reconnecting, or making new connections or simply trying to reduce the distance you can sometimes feel between yourself, the wider world and the people you share it with. 

Because we could all do with feeling a little less adrift occasionally.

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