For some reason, I tend to do a lot of street talking with my local mailmen. After our old carrier retired last year, our new carrier is even older, and perhaps, kinder, and he is a traditional Indian gentleman Sikh who wears a Dastar that matches the pewter blue color of his official United States Postal Service uniform. He is very proper and absolutely resolute in everything he does.
We’ll call our new mailman “Jerry” to protect his privacy. I always run into Jerry on the street, and I warned him when he first started that I would always say “Hi” when I saw him on the street just because I’m from the Midwest and that’s how we operate and I can’t help myself to pretend I don’t see him. Jerry seemed to be okay with that, and we often exchange pleasantries on the street and oftentimes we stop and chat a bit.
At first, I always found it odd that I would bump into Jerry on the street everyday no matter the time of day, but since I walk everywhere, and since Jerry walks everywhere, I suppose it makes sense that we will often be on the same streets together.
The other day, Jerry and I bumped into each other right outside my apartment building, and he decided to hand me my mail instead of putting it in my box. He told me there was some alumni mail from Columbia University, and I replied, “Love that!”
Without hesitation, Jerry dismissively said, “Oh, you love everything.”
For a nanosecond, I was taken aback by the negative tone of his voice and commentary, but I decided to forge on with the truth of the observation and replied, “You’re right! I do love everything. There’s so much hate in the world, it’s easier to love.”
Jerry, unconvinced, quietly said, “I guess that’s true.”
I took my mail and we said goodbye.
I wasn’t sure why Jerry felt he needed to make an observation about my stated loves — yes, I have publicly confessed to kissing many human and inanimate objects — but I wondered what difference it made to him? I can’t remember one other time telling him I loved something, but he’s certainly been paying attention to my every move and utterance and stock of mail I make, stake, and take!
As I now privately contemplate, and recount, my endless expressed loves, I still wonder why Jerry felt the need to reprimand me for loving everything — is that such a bad thing, after all? Or does he think I’m cheapening the honorific Homeric notion by “loving everything” without cause or comment?