Last week my friend H stopped by to surprise me with a “just because” present.
I’m a big fan of “just because” presents, both giving and receiving. (Duh, who doesn’t like presents?) Just a little something to brighten the day. And what did she have for me? Muppet note cards. (I. Love. That the world knows I love Muppets. Because I do. Because they are awesome.)
She said, “I don’t know if you would use these, but I saw them, and they were cute, and I know you like the Muppets.”
And then I thought about putting them in my antique secretary with the many other note cards and lovely stationeries I have accumulated there, and what a waste that was.
And then I thought about how much I love getting a handwritten note in the mail. Don’t you? Mail these days is boring. Bills and junk mail, with the occasional charitable solicitation. Birthdays and the holiday season are so much fun because the mail might come with colorful envelopes and sparkly cards with messages from friends and family. It’s lovely. Maybe you get lucky every once in a while and receive a thank you note or some other off-season communication from a friend.
It’s definitely a sign of the times. In college my best friend and I sent long, chatty letters back and forth between Bloomington and Ann Arbor. I kept a supply of funny cards on hand to mail to out of town friends for when I wanted to catch up. Now we are super connected with Facebook, and texting and email are faster and cheaper and more efficient than mail. So doesn’t it make you feel a little special when someone goes to the trouble to write a note, to rustle up a stamp, to actually be able to produce your address?
And the thing is, it doesn’t actually take that much time and effort. I know this because after H left, I took my new Muppets cards to my desk, sat down, and used one to write her a thank you note. It took all of five minutes to write, address, stamp, seal, and pop into the mailbox. I thought to myself, “I should do this more often.”
This would require overcoming my graphophobia. Holy shit. That is a real thing. Did you know that? I did not. (As previously mentioned many times, the internet is effing amazing.) Once again I’m feeling a wee bit of remorse for what sounds like I’m making light of something that might actually be a serious affliction for someone. Although as I’m perusing some of these sites, I do probably fall somewhere into this. My handwriting is atrocious. And I am extremely self-conscious about this. Unreasonably so. If I were to write you a note, I would freak the fuck out about my sloppy penmanship. I would be mortified by my inability to write in anything resembling a straight line, and how I can’t actually write in cursive, and instead do this weird hybrid that is mostly printing, and also, as a southpaw, am afflicted by smears and blots. It would look like a first-grader wrote the note. A first-grader with bad penmanship and really good spelling.
However. I recognize that everything I just said, while true, is also ridiculous. And that you might be willing to overlook my first-gradeness and simply appreciate the wonder that is the unexpected piece of mail that merely wants to say hi and make you smile. Which is a very wordy way of saying that I am embarking on a mission.
I am going to write more handwritten notes.
I am going to do it on a regular basis. Like, say, once a week. That will be my goal. It’s not going to be hard & fast – I don’t want to miss a week and beat myself up about it and let it derail me and declare it a failure resulting in abandoning the mission. I want it to be an enjoyable project, not a task. Writing to your friends should be fun.
This will allow me to use all the fun note cards and stationeries I already own, and then get more. A fringe benefit is shopping? Suh-weet. I am a sucker for pretty papers and fun cards.
Tangent: While we’re talking about stationery, can we please take a moment to discuss the correct spelling? For the last 10 or 15 years I’ve been on a quest to get the entire world to learn this. “Stationary” means immobile or having a fixed position, like a stationary bike at the gym. “Stationery” is writing paper. And here is a silly mnemonic trick: stationery with an “e” goes in an envelope.
Ok, let’s sum up:
- I have horrendous handwriting, and this causes me anxiety.
- However, my desire to make you smile supercedes that.
- Hence, I am going to send you surprise notes.
And if you want a note, make sure I have your address – if you leave it here, or send it to me because of this post, I promise I will write to you. I don’t know when, I don’t know why, but that note will come. And I’ll give y’all updates from time to time by way of a loose sort of accountability, so that I stick with it.