Wednesday, March 21, 2007


This little piece evolved from a subject raised by one of the Clifton Writers Group members - she wondered why this strange phenonomen occurred.

The mystery of microwave letterboxes? No, there is no mystery. We are Australians – we do things like that. Why, I’ve seen letterboxes made from cream cans, petrol cans, ice cream containers, and in the shape of goats, sheep, crocodiles, frogs, birds and various motor vehicles. Not to mention the one made of an old bicycle, where the poor put upon postie had to insert the letter in the little tool pouch that hung under the saddle.
We love doing things like that, and if you’ve got a perfectly good – although apparently non-working – microwave, your mind may just cast about for a good use – it closes, its waterproof, its, well, its not good taste, but then who’s worrying about that. The damn thing cost you several hundred dollars, lasted for the requisite amount of time microwave makers allow these days – say, six months, nine at max – and you want to feel you’ve had some use out of it.
We can’t live without microwaves, and where do all the blown up ones go? Well, not all to become mailboxes, but for those inclined to recycling, what a jolly good idea.
You probably have to be a certain sort of Australian to use your defunct microwave as your receptacle for your mail – a resourceful type, a bit of a larrikin, someone who wants passers by to look and remark on it, and therefore on you. You’re probably lurking out behind the bottlebrush waiting to hear the comments. People travelling past probably come to a screeching halt and leap out and take a photograph before zooming off again. They probably show their friends – look what this funny old bugger had as his mail box.
No, when you think about it, there’s a certain amount of panache to be had, having a microwave mailbox. I’d draw the line at a fridge mailbox in suburbia, but I have seen them beside the road in the outback. Another clever and sensible idea. Lots of room inside, things protected from the weather, and quite durable in the heat and dust.
My own mail box is a very tasteful brass slot in a very tasteful cream brick wall, but now that I think of it, my microwave (one of the very early ones, hence its longevity) must be about due to blow up. I wonder whether I should have waited for the inevitable day when smoke issued from the microwave and my husband said, ‘Now, what the hell are we going to do with this thing?’

© Nelma Ward


Post a Comment

<< Home