Nor Paper Boy, Nor Astronaut

I was just getting off my shift at the deli when I saw my recent ex-girlfriend and her new partner in my store. For almost a year I wondered what would happen if she ever walked in. I finally got the answer to that question. Mild anxiety attack, I flipped out and ran for the door but into her twice as we both worked our way out of the store. Why, oh why would she walk into my store? Clearly I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to her. At least now I know for sure.

I got home and wrote an email:

Dear *****

I would be more comfortable if you did not come by my workplace. I cannot stop you from doing so, but I do not trust you, I do not like you, I do not want to see you. You are rude and not a very kind person. I do not have much time here and think it would be best that we stay clear of each other. I feel that ***** on ***** is a part of my personal space. Please take that into consideration.

Thank for your time.

Stevie

Looking back, not the best idea but I am learning to not be afraid to communicate how I feel and what I what want.

I was home and needed an adventure, I hit a friend of mine that had a gig delivering papers. I have no idea where my paper comes from and how they get distributed. All I knew that the person that delivers your paper is not a little blond white boy on a bicycle with just a sack full of papers on his shoulder riding down nice suburban streets in early light of dawn.

In face it is an assortment of adults and sometimes families. Some are single elderly folk that have been delivering the paper for fifteen years. Some are middle aged Mexican couples and their grandkids walking onto the warehouse floor in the middle of the night.

After a few txt exchanges we arranged for my friend, we will call her Hooch, to pick me up at the Fred Myers on Burnside. At midnight we met up and I hoped into Hooch’s truck, a little black Toyota that looked like it had taken some small dents and scratches and was need for a wash but otherwise looked pretty good for a machine that felt prepared for hard work. If a car had hands this one would have callouses of a stevedore.

We drove into the dark dead night of Portland south into Milwaukie. We passed by the site of my third and most memorable date with *****. It was amusing to see my escape route from my own inner daemons took my through the past and into the night. The present and the past met in the dark once again just like ***** and I had fourteen months ago.  I have only been to Milwaukie twice and never too far from Portland, so it was exciting to see some new part of Oregon and an area that I could soon find myself biking through as part of my adventure around the USA. Milwaukie is like the suburbs of Portland even though it seems to be its own city. The main road is lined with buffets, car dealerships, the Portland Aquarium, and the strip club landmark Acropolis.

Hooch told me how she had only been doing this gig for a few months since she moved back to Oregon from New York where she helped open and build up a coffee shop.

“Sometimes the trucks show up late and we can’t get the paper out on time. I’ve gotten a note once in a mailbox just saying YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE. I thought it was funny because it really told me nothing. It didn’t explain what I did it just told me I was an asshole.”

I asked Hooch if the customers ever stack out and wait for you.

“Yeah, you get a lot of customers that have all these special request but want to know why their paper is late. It is like they think they are the only ones getting their paper delivered.”

I admitted to Hooch I had no idea no idea what I was in for and that I was eager to help if that would make up for any lost time in picking me up.

Apparently there is more to delivering the paper than merely grabbing a bunch and tossing them out of your truck. This particular newspaper comes into three parts. The first two parts are the inserts which have to be combined. One insert has your articles with content that does not change quickly such as the living and arts section, and the science section. The other insert has all your promotional material, like coupons and shoppers. The final part is called the cover. When you here in media when a character says “Stop the presses!” the cover is what is being stopped from being printed. Any breaking news will be printed very last and delivered at the last minute. The two inserts go into the cover. However we had finished putting the inserts together long before the covers arrived. For about an hour and a half we waited and told stories about odd jobs, Burning man cultist, women and the universe.

Finally the truck showed up with the paper. We unloaded our share of the pallet and combined cover and inserts. The papers made my fingers dry and black with ink. I do not know how many papers we had to deliver but we had two shopping carts full of papers. Hooch and I hustled to get the truck loaded even putting a few stacks on my lap. My job was to be copilot and read off the address to Hooch and keep my lap full of papers from the back. The real excitement was about to begin.

We were already an hour and forty five minutes behind but Hooch didn’t seem worried. I will tell you right now that should you ever need a good wheel man hire someone that delivers papers by themselves. I have never felt safer in a truck with someone doing intense maneuvering. Unfortunately I have also never felt sicker in a car.

Years ago, when I lived in Culebra I would take the ferry twice a week between the island and Puerto Rico. I never got sea sick until eight months into it. That was just once, and I did not even puke. I have not puked since I was maybe a preteen. Maybe not even then. After an hour of accelerating, then stopping then, reversing quickly, sharp turns and sudden stops jerking around all my insides swishing about I reached a new limit. I asked Hooch to stop the car but before she could even say a word I had the door open and started heaving. Hooch, and her superb driving skills was able to come to a seemingly gentle stop and let me get out and heave on the street. It felt so loud in the dead silent night of the Milwaukie suburbs.  All I could think of was how late we already where and the need to pull myself together quick. I let myself puke without resistance. Just let all the bile flow out of me and reduce the content of my stomach. Lucky thing I had hardly eaten that day.

Without a second thought I jumped back into the truck and announced that I was ok and ready to go.

“Are you going to be ok? Do need me to drop you off somewhere till I finish?”

“No, I am good. The worst is over, but let’s finish the mission.”

More than anything I felt gross and tired but I want to see this adventure all the way through. I already knew right there that this and jet pilot were jobs not meant for me.  No newspaper deliveries to the moon for me. We drove on with me more useless but apparently capable of entertaining Hooch, all the while she is maneuvering this little pick up as if it was an extension of herself. Hooch had control of the truck like it was a shiny black Paso Fino horse.

The papers were numerous but the faster than expected the pile shrank and we had them all delivered only thirty minutes late. We celebrated with some breakfast at 7 Eleven. I had myself the fruit salad with oranges and mango. My nausea lingered but was greatly reduced.

Hooch got me home just before sunrise and I crashed almost immediately. I would have had to been at work in seven hours. I have to say it was worth the adventure. Later that day Hooch texted me to check in on me to see if I was ok, and informed me that she put in her two week notice. Hooch had taken my puking as a sign that it was time to move on. Hooch is a person that considers herself to be on cosmic time and tries to listen to her intuition and the universe. I would never choose that for myself but if Hooch navigates a car by intuition and cosmic broadcast then I would hop in the truck again anytime.

planet express by adisTM Digital Art / Other / Other©2010-2013 adisTM

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