Remember the days when the mail box was full of promise? When opening it didn’t necessarily mean disappearing under a deluge of window-face envelopes and Woolies catalogues? There was always the possibility that it might contain a love letter (written in scented green ink if you were one of my former flatmates). Or an aerogram (remember those?) from an old friend, travelling in exotic climes. Or a birthday card from your grandmother, complete with the $5 note she’d been sending you since birth.
These days our mailbox, its bright blue paint fading and peeling, is a forlorn place. We have the most dedicated junk mail delivery people in the entire Western world, so we’re pretty good for brochures, catalogues and pizza discount vouchers. We also do okay on the bill front, with these arriving daily to ensure we never feel lonely.
Quality mail-wise, however, we’re a bit light on. The best letter I’ve received all year was a one-page epistle from Mr6, posted when first grade endured its annual excursion to the post office. It says, in part, “Please write back.” (Note to self: please write back.)
There is one piece of mail, however, that brings a smile to my face. It arrives monthly in an innocuous white envelope. It is hope in the mail.
The Boystown Lifestyle Lotteries ticket offer is an invitation to dream. Each month I spread that huge brochure out on the bench and move myself into the house on offer. I confess that if it’s a Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast property that they’re raffling off, I look no further. They look beautiful, there’s no doubt. Their positioning within walking distance to the ocean is attractive. Even the furniture looks okay when there’s a pool by the back door. But I can’t bring myself to buy a ticket because what would I do if I won? I don’t want to live in Queensland.
The trouble with the Boystown Lottery is that it’s gambling with purpose. I don’t buy scratchies, I don’t play the pokies, I go to the horse races once in a blue moon and place $2 each way bets all day. I am very much a ‘know when to hold and know when to fold’ kind of girl – but that’s all I’m doing.
But I’ll spend $15 on a raffle ticket. I buy my tickets (for Sydney or Melbourne houses only) knowing that my money is going to a good cause. Or that’s what I tell myself. In reality, I’m so convinced that I’m going to win every single time, that I start rearranging the furniture on the brochure before I’ve even sent off the price of the tickets.
I lie awake in bed at night wondering whether I should lease it as an executive rental, keep it as a city bolthole for friends and family, or sell it on and buy three two-bedroom units with the money I make. Will the boys enjoy going to school in Annandale? What are the council rates like St Kilda? Will we all fit in a three-storey terrace with a postage-stamp garden – and didn’t we leave the city in the first place just to avoid such a scenario?
Inevitably, my number doesn’t come up. There is no magic phone call from the Boystown Man. Instead, the draw date fades into memory and I’m left with a couple of tickets stuck to my filing cabinet.
Until next time.
This month's ticket offer arrived today. A four-bedroom, three-bathroom beachfront unit on the Gold Coast. Lucky for all you others out there that I don’t go in for that sort of thing.