Ace, I was on the west end of the Downtown Mall the other day with a long, well-crafted letter to a friend in another state, but was left with no mailbox in which to toss it. Why are there no mailboxes down there? How is one supposed to mail a letter? If I’m standing at the intersection of W. Main and N. First streets, where should I go?—Jack With No Box
The fact that the east end has more traffic (of the automobile as well as the foot variety) led to the placement of the mailboxes.
Jack: Ace suggests you go get a nice, hot cup of (decaf) coffee as soon as possible because, dude, you sound a little wound up and, as Mother Atkins always says, "Let a smile be your umbrella." Sure, that doesn’t really apply here, but Mother Atkins never said anything about a warm beverage soothing the onset of a panic attack and, hey, a smile can be a very powerful weapon.
To find out why there aren’t any mailboxes on the west end of the Mall, Ace put in a call to Cathy Boule, the Postal Service’s communications coordinator in the Virginia district. She’s based in Richmond, but Ace described the scene to her as best he could. She said that as far as she could tell, there’s probably no mailbox on the west end because of the lack of density in the area. The fact that the east end has more traffic (of the automobile as well as the foot variety) led to the placement of the mailboxes, above and beyond the fact that there’s a post office branch there.
But listen, Jack, if you were to harness all of your nervous energy and walk down N. First Street toward W. Water Street, then turn left, you would be only one block away from 201 W. Water St. (by Clock Shop of Virginia), which is the first stop on the Ace Atkins Mailbox Mystery Tour.
Up ahead, at the corner of W. Main and W. Water, there’s yet another mailbox and another opportunity for you, dear reader, to jumpstart your correspondence at the Federal Building. Although, Ace doesn’t recommend going to that location for two reasons.
The first is that Ace always steers clear of anything with the word "federal" in it, ever since that little interstate trafficking incident.
The second reason is that if one is standing at the intersection of W. Main and N. First streets, it would be easier to go to Jefferson-Madison Regional Library on Market, where there is also a mailbox available. It’s easier than climbing up to the Federal Building, which makes Ace perspire, and when Ace perspires he gets angry. And, as Mother Atkins always says, "Never write a letter while you’re angry." There, that one was better.
You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 18 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.