Tag Archives: delivery

Found Wanting

It’s amazing what little gems the world can slip to you as you go about your day.  With so much negativity floating through the cosmos these shiny drops of positivity shine all the more bright.  So it is that I learned a sharp lesson.  One simple moment that shifted my thinking forever.

My job involved the pick up and delivery of various documents around the city.  I spent my  days on the road.  This afforded me the opportunity to see a variety of locals.  From homes on the beach,  perched on stilts above the sands, to junk yards guarded by feral doberman and rottweiler dogs.  It was an interesting job.  Every day I was thrown out into the river of life, whether I liked it or not, and it whipped me about and spun me in and out of people’s lives.  I was touching on a hundred different worlds but never stopping to live in any of them.  Some days the road stretched in front of me and the blue expanse of sky beckoned me forth into the universe.  Other days the cab of my small truck was like a prison, and I twisted and squirmed on my seat, pounding my hands on the steering wheel.  Those days were dark and mean times.  I had no one to talk to.  Corrupted thoughts filled my skull.  I would try to go blank and to just exist for the day, my mind dark as I navigated the endless streets.  But the stopping and starting. The sun constantly burning at my eyes.  Some days it was all I could do to function.  Those were the bad days. 

One morning I found myself having a bad day.  Instead of picking up a run to the beach I had been dispatched to the city where I would most likely spend my day.  Hundreds of stop lights awaited me, along with damp tunnels and traffic jams.  I wasn’t thrilled with my situation.  To make matters worse my first stop took me to what was probably my least favorite place.  A hardware store in a rough area.  I was twenty and looked fifteen.  They didn’t get a lot of white boys in a shirt and tie in that neighborhood.  I have this thing about getting shot.  I choose not to do it.  Every time I was sent to that place I worried that the choice would be taken out of my hands.

I pulled into the neighborhood, shocked as always at how peaceful it seemed if you didn’t look too close.  Large mature trees grew on either side of the street, arching over and screening the rusted cars, covering them in dappled sunlight.  I pulled up to the first stop sign with every intention of rolling through.  But there was a man there.  He was shuffling into the road and it struck me as rude to blow by him. 

He walked slowly towards the car.  He was tall and thin and stooped.  His skin was dark and lined deeply from many hard lived years.  His clothes were worn but functional.  I wondered if he was homeless.  As he reached my truck he put a hand onto the hood and looked towards me, his eyes dull and mean looking.  “Here we go,” I thought to myself.  He stood there staring.  I had to fight the urge to reach over and roll up my window.  He was only a few feet away and I was feeling a bit exposed.  Sitting there, uncomfortably idle in the warm morning air, I began to deeply regret not passing him by when I had the chance.  With no other options I did the only thing I could think of.  I gave the man the hardest look I possessed.  A look that I hoped would convey the message that I was young and strong.  Not a person to be trifled with.  He stared back for a moment and then his face began to change.  It was like a mask was lifted away.  His features animated and a light came into his eyes.  A grin stretched his mouth showing gaps where his teeth had once been.  He said, “Cheer up young man. Can’t nothing be that bad. God bless you.”, and with a final clap of his hand on my hood he strolled on by. 

I pulled away from the stop sign with a smile on my face.  Unexpectedly I felt a lump in my throat and I struggled to swallow it back.  I felt enlightened but ashamed.  For some reason deep inside I had hated that man.  Fear controlled me and I had wanted him hurt.  I had judged him only to find that it was me who was guilty.  Sitting there in my expensive clothes, driving my company vehicle, I exuded such pain and misery that the goodness inside him had forced him to stop and try to help.  And he had.  As I exited my vehicle to enter the store I noticed a group of rough looking youths staring at me.  I met ones eyes and nodded.  He nodded back.

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Nature Calling

 

Even as I pulled out of the parking lot I knew I was in trouble.  With three deliveries I would be on the road for about a half hour.  I doubted I had that much time.  The cramping in my gut told me I didn’t.  But I had a job to do, and these people needed hot pizza.  The bathroom would just have to wait.

I shot out onto the main street through town, weaving through the slower traffic.  Winter had long ago settled in and remnants of a recent snow still littered the streets.  My heater was cranked to full blast, my radio was pumping sports talk.  I passed my house and briefly considered running in, but with three deliveries in the car there was no way. I tightened my grip on the wheel, grit my teeth and tried to focus on the radio.

The first delivery took less than five minutes.  I pulled into the driveway under a steel grey sky and handed a nice looking family their dinner.  I was glad for a decent tip, but more glad to be standing upright.  My stomach was really hurting now and being bent in half with a seat-belt digging into my gut was not suiting me. 

As I headed out to my second house things were looking bad.  I started thinking about my options in an emergency type situation.  What businesses could I stop in?  Nothing was on the way.  I didn’t see asking a customer if I could use their bathroom as a possibility.  I couldn’t even imagine.  But when your faced with the alternative… I started considering the remote areas nearby.  Perhaps I could find a nice patch of woods?  It’s good enough for bears. 

The second delivery made it on time.  In my mind the people who received it said to each other, “Did that guy seem sick to you? Or was he just a jerk?”, “No there was something wrong with him, and he walked like he had a stick up his ass.”

I started towards the third stop.  I was almost done and had decided to tough it out.  I shot down country roads at over sixty miles per hour.  My body had progressed past the stage of discomfort and I had started to sweat and get emotional.  Every second seemed like an hour.  I started a conversation with myself which is a habit I have when things are getting bad.

“Oooh I’m not gonna make it.”

“Yes you will, you can do it, stop thinking about it!”

I tried all the tricks, bouncing, deep breathing, strategic flexing, and of course begging my body like it was some sort of third-party who was cruelly torturing me. “Why are you doing this! Please stop! If you just wait ten minutes I’ll give you anything you want!”  But my guts kept twisting, and the pressure in my abdomen was getting unbearable. 

I entered the upscale neighborhood like the cops were after me.  I kept one eye on the addresses and one eye on the road.  The last thing I needed was an accident.  “Yes officer, I saw everything, he was bouncing up and down and panting like a dog.  He was sweating horribly and having a conversation with himself.  I don’t know what he was on but something was wrong, that’s for sure.”

Finally I saw it.  A large beautiful home up on a hill.  I whipped into the driveway, slammed on the breaks and threw it in park.  In one motion I opened the door and leapt out, pizza bag in hand.  Believe it or not things took a turn for the worse.  I had parked on a steep incline which also happened to be covered in ice.  My feet shot backwards and I had to grab onto my driver’s side door to keep from falling and sliding all the way to the bottom of the driveway.  Now I found myself hanging from my door, feet scrambling ineffectively on the ice.  My efforts didn’t help me get myself upright but instead served to dislodge my car from its precarious position and start it sliding backwards and turning sideways.  Now I was actually in danger of my car sliding over top of me if I fell.  Lucky my buttocks were squeezed so tight. I think it gave me the power I needed to launch myself back into the car, where it only took a minute to get my myself upright and into the seat.  Somehow I had managed to hold onto my keys. 

I pulled out of the driveway, and then back in.  This time I made sure to pull all the way up to where the driveway became horizontal.  I approached the front door trembling with embarrassment and pain.  My face was shiny with sweat.  I prayed that they hadn’t seen my little show out front.  I got lucky.  I had to ring the bell to get someone.  At least something went right, but I don’t want to think about the state of that pizza by the time they got the box open.

My little adventure on the ice is actually what saved me.  For a brief second I gave my body a flash of danger and it’s adrenaline fueled response seemed to shut down my less important waste disposal system.  At least I made it back to the store.  Plus it really seemed to make my coworkers day when I blew through the back door and sprinted to the bathroom.  Their laughing was only further fueled by my impromptu biological symphony.  Luckily we were all close friends.  But let’s be honest, I could have done without it.