December 19: After being a bit nervous at the, ahem, heft of my Christmas cards once I assembled one, I decided to run by the post office and make sure the single forever stamp I had affixed to the envelope over a month ago would be sufficient. I first weighed it on the postage scale in the office (2.3 ounces), and as best I could tell from online sources I knew I was going to be out another stamp of some sort of denomination. When I handed over my test envelope the postal worker laid it on the scale, typed in the sample zip code and various numbers flashed across the screen. Eighty-four cents was at the top of the list, and I knew for a few pennies more an envelope I was looking at a second ornament stamp for the bunch.
Unbendable: Firmly, often unreasonably immovable in purpose or will: adamant, adamantine, brassbound, die-hard, grim, implacable, incompliant, inexorable, inflexible, intransigent, iron, obdurate, relentless, remorseless, rigid, stubborn, unbending, uncompliant, uncompromising, unrelenting, unyielding. Idioms: stubborn as a mule. See resist/yield.
Then she picked it up and gently gave it a bend. Nothing. I knew it wouldn’t give – there was a layer of mat board inside that envelope, stretching rigidly from end to end.
It’s unbendable,” she said, typed a few more characters into her computer, and the numbers on the screen changed. $1.28 it read. She explained that because the letter could not bend, it was considered a different type of letter, thus requiring a flat rate fee to ship. Perhaps it’s because it cannot roll through an automated machine and will require hand cancelling, perhaps because there will be mailboxes too small to slide it into, it will need to be delivered to the front door. She made a move to print out a label to make up the difference in postage but I stopped her. “It’s not just for this one, I have a hundred,” I explained, and she started dealing out the books onto the counter while I reached into my wallet to pay the bill.
The synonyms for unbendable are not too flattering. Grim, relentless, unyielding? But I was committed now, and I suppose you could say uncompromising. The attribute I think that I strive most for in this life is flexibility. It doesn’t come naturally to me, but I work at it. So I guess sometimes going with the flow can also mean unbendable. They seem to occupy different corners of the arena, but there is a similar undercurrent to both of them. And like the Christmas season, once you’re in it, you’re in it. And even the careful planning and the diligent oversight sometimes have to take a backseat to the reality that you made a hundred little presents that need to go on their rigid little way. I swiped the card and didn’t give it another thought. Unbendable? Absolutely. It’s Christmas, after all.