A few months ago, I signed up to Postcrossing. It’s kind of similar to Bookcrossing, but instead of following clues to find books anywhere in the world, registering your finds on the website, and then hiding them somewhere new, there’s a simpler manner of connection. You send (initially up to five) postcards out to addresses you are randomly assigned, anywhere on the planet, and, when a person registers receipt of your card, you become eligible to receive one of your own from another random user.
It’s a fun idea, and I might have gone a, ahem, little overboard when I signed up. Luckily for my wallet, I am going at a more leisurely pace now with the sending out of postcards. And I think it’s more fun that way: rather than sending all the postcards I can, I am pacing myself, choosing carefully, putting effort into the choosing and writing of each one.
And, in turn, I’ve gotten some amazing cards from everywhere. It’s made checking the mailbox quite exciting, let me tell you! That’s why I initially signed up, in fact, because I was a little tired of receiving boring and impersonal bills and bank statements and such. Someone from Italy who saw that I like baking sent me a card with a cupcake recipe on it. I’ve received a classic Inge Löök card, and incredible landscapes. I’ve made contact with people from Belarus to Brazil, and from France to Finland.
I am enjoying these tiny moments of contact with people with whom I will never again interact. It’s a small-scale and recordable version of life in general. It’s a mailable version of glances across a room, little kindnesses in your day, intimate conversations that only last the night.