It has not been the only continuous thing in my life in New York. In fact it is not even the oldest thing. But the 181 has been my permanent and public address since `~1991. Back then I think it cost $24 a year. The price has increased markedly, now clocking in at $202 for the smallest size.

I do not need the box anymore but I keep paying for it anyway. I further have stuff sent there when shipping it to my physical home address would make more sense. That’s what happened today, when I went out in the rain and grossness to pick up a shipment of another 1000 Payphone Radio cards. Nothing should have prevented me from shipping those right to my door, save for the fact that word is lately that things are getting stolen when UPS or USPS leave packages lying around in the lobby.

I like the number. 181. It is perfect. I want to fornicate with the holes in the 8, alternating between them, while the ones wrap themselves around me in their twig-like embrace.

But that’s no reason to keep the box.

I wasat the 181 when the call about my mother came: “She’s gone.” It was through that PO that Tom Brokaw’s anthrax letter was processed. I’ve received many meaningful missives there, from strangers and ffriends alike, from people I’ll never know, and especially from people who would like to keep it that way. We keep each other at discrete distances, one way or another.

The PO moved from its basement location, where it had been since the 1950s, to a new upstairs spot on 51st Street. On a rain day like this that means I can no longer get to the 181 without entering into the elements. In the past I’d take an M from Steinway to Rockefeller, where I could get to the 181 entirely underground.

A lot of memories there, and ROckefeller Center in general. I feel so connected, and I have a lot of respect for how they handle the public with such respect.

When I worked at Rockefeller Center it made a lot of sense. I would not have known I’d be working there when I got the 181 but it worked out well in that respect. 

And when I was active on eBay I felt safer dealing with those sometimes sketchy sellers through a non-identifiable address.

I know what will keep me connected to it this time, though. I got a nice letter from somebody in Taiwan. I guess you’d call it a fan letter. If I’m going to get stuff like that I’d rather it go to a box than close to home. 

I don’t know. I’m no hoarder but in some ways I think I accumulate to a fault. Digitally speaking it’s ridiculous. Do I need every discography of every performer ever uploaded to Usenet? Do I need the thousands upon thouands of 35mm slides I scanned over the course of several years, an activity that commenced solely so that I could positively impress a woman in my life? (She was positively impressed.)

Do I need anything? Anything at all?