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You have to be a reader of the Boulder Daily Camera to appreciate what's been happening with the mountain addressing system.
Originally it was designed not to help with addressing mail but to help emergency vehicles find you. At least that's what we were told back in 1983. Now the Post Office in Boulder is making noises about requiring its use on letters. I'm not sure it helped, but then I haven't had an emergency, either, so I can't be certain. Our fire and ambulance people seem to know where everyone lives and I haven't heard about any emergency vehicles getting lost.
The problem seems to be that some people feel publishing the addresses is an open invitation to crooks of all kinds. There have been several articles in the Camera, and many letters to the Editor. In case you're not aware of it, the addresses list you by the distance you are from the entrance of a particular road in hundredths of a mile, so if your address is 1533 you're 1.533 miles from the entrance. Of course the distance changes slightly every time the snow plow goes by, but it's close.
This is another of those problems that beset us as we can't decide whether we want to be left alone or we want to be treated like flatlanders. As an old navigator, I have always found a certain charm in my “North Star Route” address but I used the numbers to help the nice people at UPS, although they found us in the past without it. I suppose if a burglar wants to burgle he can do it without depending on my mountain address number.
Those of us who are older folks can remember that we went through some of the same resistance when ZIP codes came in and when telephone numbers changed from word prefixes to numbers. Now we're adding to the ZIP codes and everyone seems to be taking it in stride.
It's getting harder and harder to be a hermit these days, is about what it amounts to. When we finally get local mail delivery instead of boxes it's going to remove the last vestige of anonymity some of us came here for. According to our postmaster that's still a long way off, so enjoy it while you can if that appeals to you.
I've given up; I've already had my return address labels printed and the numbers are right there. Thirty years ago or so they told us we couldn't hang our canvas mail bag on a tree any more, that we had to get a regulation mail box. There was a lot of resistance to that, too, but you can see what happened.
So you can write letters to the Editor if you want but it isn't going to do you any good. You can't fight city hall here because there isn't one and you can't fight the Post Office because that's all there is.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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