A Virgin’s Legs and playing post office

Yes, our letter scales are antique and thus quite a sight.

Yes, our letter scales are antique and thus quite a sight.

Somehow I have always been fascinated with snail mail. I claim to be the best private customer of the German National Mail. Now I get to play post office at work, too! We are sending out a bunch (like 3,000) invitations for an event and of course the vast majority is done by the print shop but some special ones are sent out personally. Putting the letter in the envelope, sealing the envelope, weighing the letter, generating a stamp and putting it on there – it’s like my thing. Maybe you noticed already after reading about my private letter archive. Anyway, I was mostly occupied with sending out stuff today.

“I don’t want the words to be naked the way they are in faxes or in the computer. I want them to be covered by an envelope that you have to rip open in order to get at. I want there to be a waiting time -a pause between the writing and the reading.

(Siri Huvstedt, What I Loved)

In the process of that, I also learned a new Swedish word – a terrible one! I had to send a book and in Germany, if you package it in a special way with special clips (apparently called split pin or brass fastener in English), you can send it for a considerably cheaper price. I tried to describe those clips for my colleagues, wondering if we had any. After a while, they understood what I meant and exclaimed “Jaha, du menar jungfruben!” You mean a virgin’s legs. Quickly, they added, “It’s a horrible expression because it refers to the clips bending easily, like a virgin’s legs. As feminists, we should refuse to use it”. I agree. And I was very disappointed with the Swedish language. A little research showed that formally, these climps are called påsnit and that others have been bothered by the expression, too: My little problem.

Påsnit for the win, säger jag bara!

photo: Wikimedia

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