Pat feels he’s…

…not a very happy man.  He’s been doing this job: getting up at 4.30am, sorting letters, and then trailing around delivering them, for forty long years.  There was a time when he thought a lot about doing something else, but then it had become too late. Too late to fill out application forms, go back to college, or create a CV that was more than half a page.  In fact, you could fit his work experience onto a postage stamp.  Ha ha.

He doesn’t know why people expect him to be cheerful, when he’s up so early, and walking the same route, day in, day out.  When there’s a special needing signed, he takes pleasure in ringing the doorbell that wee bit too long, or banging the letterbox unnessarily loudly.  Especially in the well-to-do street.  He resents the polished cars, the immaculate lawns, the massive houses.  They tell a story of a life he’ll never know, and often the ones that do live it make it painfully clear that he’s only meant for one purpose: to be their postman.

Of course, he’s seen it all – sometimes more than he’d like.  But now, nothing is shocking.  It’s all much of a muchness to him after all these years.  He has stuck to the same route now for a long time:  not because he likes it, but because he could do it in his sleep, which is as good a reason as any.

The tower blocks are gruelling, as using the lifts takes too long, but at least he gets rid of half his load of post so early on.  Then it’s all level ground, with a lot of walking up and down long driveways.  Some of the front gardens are open, and a tempting short-cut is there.  But, after one transgression and a nit-picking resident, he has to walk on by, and dutifully stick to the path.  Then, at the very end, there’s a hill.  Recently, he’s been finding the climb more difficult, and the post-bag heavier.

It is at that point, every day, that he curses Postman Pat and the myth of the ‘very happy man’.

Although, maybe if he had a van to get around in, and a tiny pile of letters, maybe then he’d be more cheerful.

Maybe if he had a black and white cat…

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