This is a photo essay about a man who is a friendly and consistent presence in my neighborhood but someone of whom I knew very little. David is our mail carrier and has served the city of Long Beach, CA for 40 years. "I never expected to stay at this job for so long but I've worked my way up, got the best route, have great benefits and now I am about to retire!", commented David. He agreed to let me follow him throughout his day. It was exhausting to say the least! On average, David walks 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, delivering the mail promptly, regardless of rain or the searing summer heat, hitting the same houses and local businesses within 2 minutes of the same time everyday. He keeps to this schedule religiously and never veers off course or the tracking device he carries would notify the post office headquarters.I observed the many reactions to David as genuinely joyful, some indifferent and even some innocent flirtations.His face lit up when he would tell people that I was his "personal photographer"! In contrast, there was also the presumed isolation and solitude of the job as he made the monotonous residential home deliveries.
David was open about sharing details about his personal life. At the end of 2015, he completed radiation for throat cancer at which time he had taken a three-month medical leave. He pointed out the loss of pigmentation on the right side of his neck as a physical sign of the treatment. "You never appreciate how good it feels to be healthy until you through something that makes you feel so badly!", David said with a smile, barely slowly his pace.
Even after a long day on his feet, David goes home to do yard work at his house in neighboring Los Alamitos. He was reluctant to let me shoot him as he thought he was not interesting enough... I beg to differ.