Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Mail Thief

Yesterday, oh boy. What a day. So many errands and chores! Vacuum the house, take stuff to the charity shop, take books to the charity used-book shop, pick up the cleaning, buy groceries, do two loads of laundry, walk the dog. Oh, and then bathe the dog, when said dog manages to not just roll in goose poop but dive in, headfirst, greening her fur from chin to pelvis. (What an embarrassing walk home that was.)

Fortunately, I got a break in the early afternoon when most of the list was completed. I read for a while and took a nap, a newly clean Olga snuggled up next to me.

Then our English friends Sally, Mike, Liz and Andy came over for a quick trip to the Museum of Brands, which is a few blocks from our flat, and dinner. I've been to the museum before -- it's an amazing collection of vintage packaging, toys, games, clothing, marketing material and other stuff, all organized chronologically by decade. It was interesting to me, but I knew the others would love it, since they grew up in England and  would remember many of the products and packages from their childhoods. So we finally managed to coordinate a group visit.

Dave kept dinner simple -- a yummy lasagna from a Jamie Oliver recipe and salad, and apple crumble for dessert. Olga charmed everyone by being her usual, over-friendly self. A watch dog she is not.

Speaking of which, have I mentioned the crazy old man who lives in our building? He stopped by last night while our guests were here. He lives on the first floor with his wife, and has an increasingly severe case of dementia. He has developed an obsession with the mail slots in everyone's doors. Sometimes we'll be sitting in our quiet apartment and we'll hear the gentle squeak of the mail slot, and know the crazy man is playing around with it. He seems to want our mail, and in fact, sometimes he'll knock on the door and ask whether we've got any magazines. It's the strangest thing. I'm thinking we should save a few magazines to give him. (Fortunately, our actual mail usually falls to the floor after the postman puts it through the slot, so the crazy man can't reach it.)

I know it's uncharitable to call him a crazy man. He's ill, really. And you know, that may be me in 30 years, feeling around in my neighbor's mail slots for random, overpriced issues of The New Yorker and Harper's. I guess I should remember that, right?

(Top Photo: What is going on beneath the pavement of this street in central London? Is it any wonder that manholes sometimes explode, with such a profusion of wires, cables and ducts? Bottom Photo: A cat-shaped graffiti tag on Portobello Road. Graffiti tags are seldom cute, but this one might qualify.)


  1. I am grinning from ear to ear imagining you skulking around the hallways playing with everyone's mail slot. What an odd man! If and when I ever get dementia I can only hope that it manifests itself differently than peeking in mail slots. :)

    Ah, Sally ... say hi to her for me when you see her next.

    What? No photos snapped of Olga covered in goose poop??

  2. I think keeping magazines around for him is a great idea.

  3. the old man sounds like an "Amelie" opportunity! Next time you hear the squeek, have a letter ready for him, preferably in French with illustrations- a love letter. OR just a simple drawing from the waste paper can at school...I would love to get that sort of letter.

  4. Yes. You need to give the old man some magazines. Why not? Unless you think it might just encourage him to increase his visits.
    I think I would love that museum.

  5. I love your pic of the street. I take pics of the marks on the streets here all the time. They're like sigils.

    The crazy man is crazy. It isn't rude to just say it. I feel sad for him.

    A dog adorned by goose poop. Oh man. Jake loved to eat goose poop. Disgusting!