My Two Cents

Dear Canada Post,

I know a measly two cents doesn’t sound like much, but it’s another two cents and it’s another two cents on top of all the other cents you’ve added over the years.
  And it has become too much.
  The cumulative effect of the continual price escalation of a postage stamp in Canada over the past decade adds up to a 70% increase.
  No matter how you look at it, an increase of that size is a lot.
  With taxes on a 92 cent stamp, the cost of sending a letter is now well over a dollar.
  That is far too much.
  Now I realize that fewer and fewer people write letters these days, preferring e-mails and text messages to a traditional and time-honoured form of communication, but there is something special about a handwritten letter. It’s real, it’s raw, it is beautiful, and it may well be a dying art.
  An email simply doesn’t compare.
  E-mails are more like quick conversations, and given the ease of sending messages back and forth, it becomes easier to skip out a few details, or become a bit too casual, or forget to reply.
  You don’t compose an e-mail as you do a letter.
  You never take the time.
  A letter is not ignored when it arrives in your mailbox. There is a welcomed element of surprise when a personal letter shows up amidst all that other bulk material and advertising crap that also passes as mail (and can be sent at a lower rate than a personal letter).
  Letters mean something. A grandmother can send far-away wishes to a grandson. A father maintains a loving bond with his daughter. A tourist can send a postcard home from Niagara Falls to New Brunswick, or from Montreal to Munich. Mourners can send a sympathy card from East York to Edmonton with sentiment that simply cannot be expressed electronically. Long-distance lovers can connect intimately with words of want and desire. Friendships are nurtured; relationships are strengthened by the written word.
  Hiking up the cost of a stamp, even if only by two cents (this time), increases the cost of heartfelt communication.
  It is the fourth increase over six years. I, as a regular letter writer, feel it.
  It is heartbreaking.
  It is a sin.
  And that is my two cents worth.


J.G. Lewis

p.s. I’ll be sending a copy of this letter to the federal minister responsible for Canada Post, the Prime Minister, my local M.P, and any other politician that comes to mind. I understand no stamp is required to send a letter to our elected representatives in Ottawa.
It’s sad really that it costs me dearly to send a letter to someone I care about, but it is free to send a letter to somebody who could probably care less.

Hanging By A Thread

It is a daily reminder. It’s a button; a trigger, so to speak; this one thing that continues to tell me of how I keep putting things off.
  I bought a new winter coat last winter, near the end of winter. It is a warm coat, a three-season coat, weatherproof and, perhaps, more functional than fashionable.
  I’ve got other winter coats, but this one is the “reliable” go-anywhere sort of coat, pretty much. It’s not quite an overcoat, and it is certainly not as fancy or as formal as the cashmere overcoat I wear less and less, but then I now dress less formally, or go to fewer formal occasions.
  This coat has deep pockets and holds well my winter gloves, when I’m not wearing them, and any of the stuff I pick up on my daily travels and don’t take the time to stuff into my packsack.
  One of those side pockets has a loose button. It may have been loose when I purchased it (it was, after all, on sale), but I seemed to ignore it at the time.
  And I’ve been ignoring it ever since.
  I know the button is loose. In fact, each time I put on the coat I now check the button. I will even check it throughout the day. It’s always there, loose, and hanging by its thread. It’s waiting for me to fix it.
  Instead, I pull on the thread, wrap the end around the rest of it, and then remind myself I need to take a needle and sew it up tight. Then, I go about my day.
  Now, I don’t want to lose the button, heavens no, because then I’d have to replace it (and wouldn’t that be a bother). Why replace something when you could just repair it (that’s been a theme of mine for a couple of years now; repair instead of replace).
  Yet I haven’t gotten around to tending to this button.
  It is a constant reminder that I need to take the time.
  But I don’t.
  I keep waiting
  When I hung up the coat up for the summer, I reminded myself it needed repair. As I brought it out from the back of the closet last fall, the first thing I did was check the button. But I didn’t bother to get out the needle and thread.
  The year came and went, a new year, hell, a new decade has arrived and still I haven’t fixed this stupid button.
  The button, sadly, is like many things; full of intention, but never realized. I have never followed through on this intention. I keep putting it off for another time, a better time, a more convenient time.
  Often we feel that there simply isn’t the time, and we tell ourselves we will take care of it. Later. Days go by, months go buy, heck the year flies by; we are now a week into another decade and I still haven’t found the time.
  This button has become like a lot of things in my life; they suffer because I don’t take the time.
  I think we are all like that. Too often we rush through things, or we put things off. We don’t take the time we need, or deserve.
  What strikes me as funny, or ironic, is that I promised myself this year, 2020, would be all about taking the time, more, for myself.
  I decided I’ve got too many things that need my attention, too many things hanging by a thread, and I am going to take time to get stuff done. In fact, just yesterday, I completed something that I’ve been struggling with and putting off for years or months. I got it done. Finally.
  But I’ve still got this button, hanging there. A further reminder that you can cross off items on your list, and there are still more things that need your attention. There is always something that demands your attention.
  You need to take the time.


It’s all about the time: the new decade.

Throughout this month, on this page, I’m including pieces by other writers who have contributing their thoughts on where we are, heading into 2020, at this time.

Please check back to this page, in your own time.


Time: a challenge more than a choice, most
of the time. For most of us, as we progress,
a learned experience from confrontation
to cooperation.

We come to accept the realities we acquire
and, armed with gratitude and knowledge
of what has passed, step forward into days
and years ahead. Decades

Wisdom comes from knowing when to speak
and when to shut up. A learned experience,
avoiding confrontation anytime, in the name
of contentment.

Fill your days — whenever you can, however
you can — on your own terms. A calendar gladly
misleads; or do we simply misunderstand our
glorious perceptions.

© 2020 j.g. lewis

“Do not observe yourself too much. Do not draw
too hasty conclusions from what happens to you.”
                                                   -Rainer Maria Rilke