I was out on the corner at the aluminum mailbox cube. It’s 12 cubits square on each of its six sides. A cubit is a space not quite wide enough or high enough or deep enough to actually hold mail, but does anyway. The natural resources depleted to create (12 x 12) x 6 community mailbox keys is probably depressing. I’ve made a conscious choice not to know that. I take responsibility for that, and am willing to bear the consequences. Maybe. Anyway, I hear this guy on the other side say, “Ah, jeez. They rotated the dang box again.”
“Yeah,” I said. It was true. Every week, as required by the Community Covenants and Restrictions of Hive Meadows, the mailbox is rotated 90 degrees to provide an equal access opportunity for SUV’s from the curb. It can be a challenge. We thought about it.
“Jeez,” he mulled, “I wonder if it’s left or right this week. Or is it time to rotate it forward?”
“Yeah,” I said. It was a forward week. Forward being short hand for rotation on a horizontal axis. This means your cubit is now possibly on the top or the bottom if it was on the side last week. If you’re lucky and are on one of the polar ends of the horizontal rotational axis, your cubit is only rotated clockwise or counter clockwise 90 degrees. It’s in a different part of the grid but on the same side, so that’s not so bad. If you’ve been rotated to the top or bottom, that’s different. Unless Rogaine or Viagra samples have been sent out people usually just wait a week.
“Well, hell,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said.
“I tried to figure it out once,” he said. “I got the rotational formula from the CCR committee, bought a laptop with GPS software, picked up a GPS transmitter at Radio Shack and duct-taped it to my mailbox door. You know.”
“Yeah,” I said. I did know. Everybody tried that sooner or later. Nobody really had the math for the 3rd-degree equal fairness doctrine polynomials in the formula. Most of us had only gone as far as Quantum Dianetics Chaos Theory. Rumor has it one guy did solve it, but he had a black belt in statistics and majored in incantations. A lawyer. It turns out the GPS system pinpoints the location as being somewhere in a 12 cubit square aluminum cube. The class-action suit is pending.
We glanced at the guardhouse. Bud, the gate cop, had slipped out the side and was aiming a shotgun microphone at us. I could see the cable plugged into the gun butt. It ran into the gatehouse. There was a tape recorder in there.
The guy ground his teeth. “Well, what’s it gonna be?” he asked. He sounded defiant. I’d seen it before.
“Yeah,” I said. We had to have the CCR-mandated Cordial Conversation Between Property Owners Who Meet On Community Property. Investment strategies, upward mobility pronouncements, and praise for the CCR committee was OK. No politics or sports- too dangerous. No philosophy- also dangerous. No independent critical thinking- ditto. He was reckless. Coming unhinged. Like I said, I’d seen it before.
“I hear George Bush said he was making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end,” he said. “I’m for that. I got enough problems, I haven’t got room left for any solutions. Besides, I got in on the IPO when Disney took Goofy public. I stand to make a fortune, he keeps talking like that. You know what? I been thinking. Yeah…”
“Dammit,” he wailed, “I think my mailbox is on top this week.”