Mail Tampering

Moving to another country involves a lot of realizing there are things you didn’t know you didn’t know until you need to know it.

I have written Thanksgiving cards for the neighbours and now need to deliver them. I was about to pop them in their mailboxes when something in a dusty nook in my brain bright itself to my attention. Something about mailboxes, tampering with mail and federal laws. So I didn’t “post” the cards and instead researched the issue as modern people do by asking the question on Facebook.

It transpires there was something worth noting in that musty corner of my memory because there is indeed a law prohibiting anything other than officially posted mail going in mailboxes.

In Scotland, houses had letterboxes, a rectangular hole with a flap cut into an exterior door. Thus post was ostensibly secure as soon as it had been shoved through the flap and it was possible, therefore, to deliver post by hand in the same way the postman delivered stamped and franked post. Here such an action could get me in trouble.

It appears what I have to do is sandwich the cards between the house door and storm door, which is a challenge of speed and dexterity but is at least definitely legal.


I need to learn what the law is in the US regarding correct use of a car’s horn.  This is more from idle curiosity than the fact that at some point soon I am going to have to sit my driving test.  

In the UK, the correct use for a car’s horn is to sound a warning to another vehicle.  While I am not sure how the law stands here, people appear to use their car horns whenever they feel the need.  Frustration and anger are definite motivators for people to thump their horns around here but also just for the merry heck of it from what I can determine.  I am actually becoming inured to the sound of car horns because of it and that can’t be a good thing: how can it work as a warning signal if people are ignoring it because it is so routine to hear the ugly peal of a car horn every few minutes?

I have personally been honked at twice in the month that I have been living in the US.  The first time was because I got confused about which lane was for traffic going straight ahead and switched at last minute.  I didn’t cut anyone up or even cause anyone to have to slow down yet the car behind me still felt the need to blare it’s horn.  I guess that was to be considered educational horn use.  I think it was an over-reaction but at least that one was a fair cop.  The second time was last night.  I was stationary at a stop sign for perhaps a maximum of two seconds too long and that was reason enough for the car behind me to blast its horn.  Totally uncalled for.  How much of a rush can you be in that waiting an extra two seconds to hit the stop sign yourself makes your blood boil?

I don’t get it at all.  Do drivers here like having constant high blood pressure from the stress of waiting for the next person to be honk-worthy?  Do they actually find it therapeutic to slam their fist down on the horn every time someone irritates them?

I need to check out the law on car horn use and, while I’m at it, I might check out where the law stands on horns that play soothing music instead of honks because I think folks around here could do with some of that being blasted at them.