I have another pizza delivery story. Evidently pizza delivery is fertile ground when it comes to memorable moments in my life. Who would have thought? I guess when you get a bunch hungover twenty-somethings together and pay them minimum wage to create and deliver food hilarity ensues. Well it’s funny to me, so whatever. Prepare for a brief glimpse into the mind of an idiot.
I had to deliver an order to a trailer park. The same trailer park I had delivered to hundreds of times before. People in trailer parks really seem to like pizza. Is it ok to call them trailer parks? Trailer community maybe? I pulled into the trailer community and began trying to figure out which lot was which. If you’ve ever done this, you know. It sucks. You pull in and the first trailer you see is 249 and your like, “Ok, so 248, 247, wait… 109. What the hell? Ok, so here’s 109 and I need 17… so if I go this way its going down. Wait, the other side of the street is going up. Um, that’s the 300’s soooo. What the hell is going on!? Are you serious!? Who organized this place? How dare you!?” I apologize. Evidently I’m still a little angry. I’ve lost hours of my life in places like that.
So after passing the trailer three times I finally located it and rather than go around the block again I stopped, and figured I’d walk back to it, maybe four trailers behind me. Ugh. This is embarrassing. I jumped out of my car, grabbed the warmer-bag, and slammed the door behind me. I started walking but glanced at the ticket and saw that they had ordered a 2-liter. A quick glance into my window showed no sign of a Coke, so I put the warmer-bag, containing two large pizzas and a cheese bread, onto the top of my car so I could dig around under my seat. It took a moment of pawing through months worth of trash to come to the conclusion that I had not brought the drink. Not to worry however, there was a gas station right at the entrance to the trailer park, excuse me, trailer community. In an effort to salvage my tip I hopped into the car, which was still running, and took off. At that moment I glanced in my rear view mirror just in time to see the door to the trailer open and a guy step onto the porch, cash in hand. Evidently he had noticed me as I passed his home repeatedly with my delivery sign shining in the darkness.
So I’d been spotted. I bet you think I went back and apologized, explained my error, and returned in a few minutes with his drink. Nope, I floored it. I panicked I guess. It was a gut response. I don’t know. But I did, and as I navigated the twists and turns of the neighborhood I tried to think of how I was going to explain my actions to the customer. If you’ve read previous posts you’ll know that it was time for a conversation with myself, and yes I do say these out loud. Well I kind of mumble.
“Ok man, nice. You just take off, you’re so stupid. The guys probably calling the store right now.”
“It’ll be fine. I’ll just say I didn’t see him. I’ll have to explain about forgetting his Coke, but he’ll be ok.”
“If he called the guys at the store are going to be giving you shit for weeks.”
“Yep. Oh well. What am I gonna do about that now? It’s done.”
“You’re a moron.”
At about this time I was pulling out of the neighborhood and onto the highway. As I accelerated up to fifty-five I heard a strange noise from my roof. I glanced in my mirror just in time to see my warmer bag, stuffed with pizza boxes, go flipping down the road. Cars swerved to avoid being struck. Yep. That’s right. I had left the pizza on the roof.
So a rational human would stop and get the bag, go back to the store, explain the series of events that lead to this unfortunate happening and get his night back on track, but I’m just not that guy. I kept driving. My mind was racing as I tried to figure out an excuse, or better yet a believable lie, to explain what had happened. But there was no way to fix this. The voices in my head went silent. It was pretty much just white noise. And I just kept driving.
Eventually I pulled into the parking lot of my restaurant and parked. It was time to make a decision. I was pretty well screwed. I kept thinking about that guy seeing me drive past his window over and over, and then seeing me get out and put the pizza on the car only to jump in and take off with his dinner still up there. Finally I narrowed my options down to going back for my pizza-bag, or committing suicide. It was a toss-up for a minute but I decided to go back.
A few minutes later I rounded a bend in the road, holding my breath. I expected to see the bag shredded on the shoulder, cheese and sauce smeared obscenely on the concrete like some kind of delicious breed of animal hit by a semi. But there was nothing. No sign that anything had happened. I wondered if I was going crazy. Had I completely lost it? I wonder things like this sometimes. I fully believe that my mind has the potential to completely come unraveled some day. Hopefully not. But what had happened to my warmer bag? There was nothing to do but head back to the store.
I walked in the back door with no excuses. I’d decided to just tell the truth and try to laugh about it. Sometimes that is all you can do. I figured I’d have to pay for the bag at least, and I might be fired. I was greeted by my missing bag sitting on a prep table. It still contained the pizza boxes and had held up pretty well. Just some scrapes. Evidently one of the cars behind me had stopped and brought it back to us. How lucky for me that so many people had been witness to my bumbling that evening. I had some explaining to do.
I told everyone what had happened. It wasn’t easy. “Well I’ve been gone so long because I forgot a drink, ran from a customer, drove around with pizzas on my car before dropping them in the road… and then I kind of just drove around for awhile.” There was a variety of reactions. My least favorite of which was a look of disdain. A look that says, “Is there something wrong with you?” But mostly people laughed. My only real punishment was having to re-deliver the food. So the customer that witnessed me embarrassing myself earlier got a chance to meet me in person. He didn’t ask me any questions. His friends just gathered around the door to get a look at me. I stared at my shoes and prayed for our interaction to end. Believe it or not he gave me a small tip. I think he pitied me. I obviously wasn’t a smart man.