El Cartero: The Postman of Antigua Guatemala (2012)

Mr. Mail Man by Rudy Giron

Finally Guatemala’s postal service is moving forward into to recent past, yes, believe it or not only four months ago a bar code scanner was implemented in Antigua Guatemala. Which means now Il Postino, El Cartero in Spanish, can scan the correspondence bar codes right before the delivery and his GPS location, time and date are registered on his scanner, which later on, perhaps at the end of the day, is connected to a computer and the information downloaded. Okay, that should put Guatemala’s postal service somewhere in the 90s, right? In some cases we take baby steps, but as long as we’re moving forward, that’s good.

Literary over-sharing aside: Back in the 90s I was introduced to Charles Bukowski, one of the few authors I have read extensively (that means I read every single book I could get my hands on). I could say Charles Bukowski’s writings saved me from myself. Even after so many years, I still hold dear all those readings, especially Post Office, Bukowski’s first novel about the down-and-out barfly Henry Chinaski who becomes a substitute mail carrier; he quits for a while and lives on his winnings at the track, then becomes a mail clerk. The work is menial, boring and degrading. Our hero survives through booze and women, combined with an extremely cynical view of the world. Somehow, looking at el cartero above, whom I have known for many years now, I can not see Bukowski’s down-and-out barfly postman. I believe our cartero is closer to the postman in the fabulous film Il Postino. Perhaps, most people in Guatemala have other preoccupations, like survival, which inhibit existentialist suffering and anguish; I don’t know, what do you think?

© 2012 – 2020, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.