Mailman update #3: After not receiving my mail since last Thursday, despite repeated calls to my local branch requesting that someone out there PLEASE GIVE ME MY RSVP POSTCARDS, I decided to take matters into my own hands: I stalked the mail man.
After seeing him go into a nearby apartment building, letters in hand, I scurried down the stairs and waited next to his truck for him to emerge, attempting to adopt a casual stance ("Oh! Funny to see you here!") to encourage a casual, unconfrontational conversation. He came out of the building, I said, "Excuse me, I had a question about my mail." Without even asking my name, he simply said, "Oh yes. I cannot give it to you."
"I understand that you are having a problem with my neighbors," I said, "But see, their mailbox is at the top of one set of stairs, and mine and my landlord's are at the top of another." I pointed at the two staircases in question. "I was wondering if you could please come up our stairway and deliver our mail."
"I cannot do that," he said.
"Do you see what I'm talking about?" I pressed, still pointing. "There are two staircases! You can come up ours and deal with your problems with them separately."
"I cannot do that," he said again.
"I cannot go up two flights of stairs. It is a waste of time."
"But you don't have to go up two flights of stairs," I continued, flustered by the fact that he was being so matter-of-fact about something so patently untrue. Was I the crazy one? Had I missed some invisible fence in front of my stairway that permits only permanent residents access to our mailboxes? "You can just come up ours."
"I can't do that," he repeated again. "You can get your mail at the office."
"You mean I have to go to the post office to get my mail?"
"But you're the mailman!" I said, in a tone too aggressive to use with someone who wields so much power. "Your JOB is to deliver my mail!"
"Sorry," he said again, still smiling. "I cannot do that."
Then, sensing my exasperation, he suggested a compromise. "Okay," he said. "I will bring your mail. DO NOT TELL ANYONE. If you see me down here you can come to the truck and get it."
I pointed out to him that with the exception of today, I normally do not sit at my window watching for the mail truck to pass by.
"Sorry," he said. "If you see me, I will give it to you. Do not tell anyone. Anyone."
By this point, we were so far past rationality that I decided to roll with it.
"Okay," I said. "Thank you, sir." I extended my hand for him to shake. "Thank you very much. If I see you in the street, I will come and get my mail."
"Do not tell anyone!" he repeated, as I made my way up my inaccessible staircase and walked inside.