The Mailbox

Here is another story of a more recent experience. Something that has been unraveling since over a month ago. I want to be clear that, above anything else, this is a story of my failures and not of others’. Certain things that have been happening have caused me a great deal of frustration. Unfortunately, I have not been as patient and calm about this issue as I would like to have been…

On December 3rd of 2021, Nadia and I received keys to our new apartment. We met the leasing consultant on site and received our apartment keys from her. Along with keys to our new home, she gave me one mailbox key and told me which mailbox was ours. That weekend, with the help of family, we moved into our new apartment.

Closer to the following weekend, Nadia went to check the mail. When she tried opening the mailbox, the key didn’t work. On that Saturday (December 11th), I emailed the leasing consultant with some maintenance needs, and included the issue with the key in my email:

“By the way, I also wanted to ask about the mailbox key – we tried the mailbox that you pointed out and the key didn’t work for it. Either the key is for a different mailbox, or we need a whole new key. Could you please help us resolve this? We need access to our mailbox as we have time sensitive documents arriving.”

On Monday (December 13th), she responded to me about the maintenance requests, but ignored the portion about the mailbox key. I followed up about it a few days later. It was already two weeks since we moved in by this point, and we still hadn’t been given access to our mailbox.

The same day as my follow-up email (December 16th), she responded. Only what she said was no help at all. In fact, it got me riled up. She passive aggressively repeated the same exact instructions as the ones she gave me on the 3rd. But I had clearly stated in my email that we tried that mailbox and it didn’t work! Either she thought that I am a total fool, or she didn’t even bother to pay attention to my email. Or both. I was furious. To be treated like a witless goof by someone so lackadaisical and absentminded filled me with rage. Looking back, I feel sorry for the overflow of emotion that I experienced. I could have taken it far better than I did.

When I read her email, I slammed my fist on the table. We had almost been denied this apartment because of the same person’s lackluster approach to her work (a whole different story); and, now, we were not getting access to our mail because of it. This wasn’t just a matter of principle, or anything like that. We were waiting for some important documents to arrive! Our address change confirmation, medical documents, bills, etc. This was affecting my family quite a bit.

After the initial wave of emotion, I said a prayer and my anger abated. After that, I decided to not respond right away but wait until I clear my mind. That evening, with a cool head, I wrote my response:

“Unfortunately, the key does not work for that one. Either the key that we got is wrong, or it’s actually a different mailbox. Could you please confirm this for us? We really need access to our mail!”

In a certain amount of time (I, quite frankly, do not remember how long) I received a call from the management office. It was a different person than the one I had been dealing with over email. They told me that they had a mailbox key ready for us at the office. Nadia picked up this key, and we tried it before leaving town for the holidays. Guess what! It didn’t work.

After this, we got caught up in celebrations and time with family. The week after Christmas, I got back to this issue. On December 29th, I emailed the leasing consultant again:

“The new key that was provided for us did not work for the mailbox either. Could you please help us resolve this ASAP? We moved in close to a month ago and still haven’t been given access to our mailbox! I understand that it is the holidays, but we have not been provided the proper key or mailbox location for a long time, and this is a serious issue! We need access to receive our bills, time-sensitive documents, medical documents, etc. Please provide us with the proper mailbox number!”

I was worried because I was waiting for certain bills to arrive in the mail, and we were also waiting for some medical documents. I didn’t want to end up missing a payment or losing important data because of this issue.

She responded to my email on that day, and once again, it was as though I was the one being unreasonable. She offered to meet in person so that she could show me which mailbox it was. As though I was so incompetent as to not be able to follow some simple instructions. Once again, I was furious, and chose not to respond to her email right away. We were out of town, so I would not be able to meet with her anyway. A couple days later, I wrote my reply. I told her that we were out of town and were unable to meet with her. Then, I asked to meet on Monday morning.

When Monday (January 3rd) came, she responded and said that her manager would be able to meet with me that morning. I agreed and waited for the set time. Five minutes in advance, I got dressed and headed over to where the mailboxes were located. I waited for twenty minutes but no one arrived. After this, I came back inside and got back to work. Ten minutes later I received a call – she was on her way.

Once again, I got dressed and headed over to the mailboxes. Finally, the manager arrived and brought a new key. Indeed, the mailbox that Nadia and I kept trying over and over again was the one that was ours. We had been given the completely wrong key twice, and constantly sent for a loop by the leasing consultant. But now, finally, exactly one month after our move-in date, we were given the proper mailbox key.

We did, in fact, miss a payment deadline. We also received some other documents late. Also, something less consequential but also frustrating – we missed some personal letters and Christmas cards. But the truth is, in the grand scheme of things, this all wasn’t so bad. What was worse was how I let this experience affected me. I was impatient and angry. There were a couple moments when I let my emotions get the better of me in small outbursts. Looking back, I believe I could have handled the situation with less emotion and more patience. This experience has taught me a couple lessons, and I wanted to share it with you, my dear reader. If you take anything from my story, let it be this: Be patient, be compassionate, be kind, and be gentle. You will find life far more pleasurable, and perhaps you will impact someone for the better.

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