You tell me if you think I was astonished for no good reason, or if this is actually amazing. Yesterday I was fishing for my keys to let myself into our apartment building in the Grau neighborhood of Valencia, when the cartero (letter carrier, postal worker, mailman, whatever works for you) hailed me from down the street.
When he got to me, he said, “You’re in number 7, right? Let me see if I have anything for you.” (Actually, that’s what you would have heard if you’d had a Babel fish in your ear, and English is your thing. But that was the gist.)
As it turned out, the cartero didn’t have anything for us in his little stack of mail. I let him in the door and proceeded up the many flights to our apartment, marveling.
I have only been here since mid April. He’s seen me maybe twice, and I think we’ve spoken once. How is it that, seeing me at the door of the building, he immediately knew I was in apartment 7? He’s either got a phenomenal memory, or the Spanish mail service has some great and creepy technology stitched into the seams of their mailbags. I don’t discount the possibility that his memory is unusually good. I do discount the creepy tech option.
Maybe, though, it’s simpler than that. I assume he’s got hundreds of apartments on his mail route, but perhaps most folks have lived around here for a long time. If el Guapo and I are the only newbies in this particular building on Calle Lirio, then it’s not impossible that he would remember that No. 7 is where we live. Still, as my Irish friends would say, I was gobsmacked.
[Images: logo for Sociedad Estatal Correos y Telégrafos, S.A.; post box photo by Manuellebron]
Postscript: I talked to our cartero again today, and asked him if he really can remember the names of all the people on his route. “Casi,” he said–almost. So the first answer was the right one. If he gets tired of delivering letters, maybe he could start another career as a memory expert.