Day 8 is a great day! So says, O. who unlike yesterday is fantastically organized, in a happy mood and muy prepared to kick some bi-lingual azz. We even have time to stop for lunch. AND eat it. This is the first time I have ever used the restroom on the job. For being on the computer so much at my “real” job, I am surprisingly energetic. On this third day of actual work running back and forth from the truck—I mean walking at a brisk pace back and forth from the truck—the only thing troubling me is my right pinky toe and the heel of my left foot. I’ve stuffed some cotton in my eight-hole Docs with the original Air Ware heel pull loop and classic trans PVC DMC Air Cushioned outsole and am feeling pretty keen about actually doing work in them after a couple decades of just wearing them for fashion’s sake.
There is hardly any time to talk and it’s loud so O. is definitely not experiencing the full force of my sarcastic wit. Once we’re on the road, it’s all business. We’ve exchanged pleasantries of course. He’s been with the company nine years, straight outta high school, loves it, hates it, has a plan to retire at 50 and move to the beach. Has a gf and a couple baby mamas. Loves his two kids. Is from San Diego, but not that one. It’s a little like flying right seat in an aircraft. You stay quiet and let the pilot focus unless he asks you for help, especially during take-off and landing which in one of these trucks is about every 30 ft. The first day, my worst pain was in my thumb from all the clicking and unclicking but it’s the law and it’s also a safety rule so it is done fastidiously and by everyone without fail.
Tonight marks our first after dark delivery and it’s a little scary. NTR: Well-lit addresses on the sides of mailboxes get high marks from these guys. I’ve learned to appreciate the finer details of a home on approach. Lighted door bells are underappreciated by the general public. BTW, as a straight path to the front door as can be made is going to happen whether you create one or not. O. goes easy on me, taking deliveries on his side of the truck whenever there is one; handing me a flashlight and all the packages down the steps so I don’t have to figure out how to maintain three points of contact with my hands full. 248 stops. Not including the last one I made to CVS to pick up the Epsom Salts I longed for during last night’s bath.
It’s a bone-chilling 42 degree sunset after an enjoyably active sunny day. I don’t know if I’m going to make it back tomorrow but O. reminds me cheerfully that on this night we have seen some spectacular Christmas light displays. The once-cold and uninviting windows warm up to a golden glow when the people come home and inhabit their spaces Thomas Kinkaid style. The city lights sparkle and I feel like a princess in my brown polyester uniform presented with cache of precious gems: emeralds, rubies, sapphires and opals in a black velvet lined box. I say so. You know, you can close that door O. says after a noticeable shiver that had nothing to do with the cold. We both slide the heavy floor to ceiling doors with a satisfactory metallic CLATCH after the last stop and enjoy the heat from the engine coming through the vents in the sparse dashboard that includes a fabulously retro push button starter. It’s not the only thing old school on the truck. We silently cruise out of what is most likely the premier planned development in the city taking in the views on the way down. Put it this way: Even I recognize the names and I don’t watch sports.
A gigantic guard-tower looking thing appears between rooftops and hovers over the horizon in such a way that I can only gasp and say, what IS THAT? O. senses it must be something cool since I have been mostly dismissive of the ginormous, over-sized, why the f&*K would two people want to live in a house that big, been there done that castles on a hill to the point that we’re both kind of disgusted by them. I can tell we’re both feeling a tad self-righteous about driving around delivering Santa’s packages by the way his head is perched on the top of his spine. Can we go? I ask, almost pleading? Yeah, let’s check it out. I’ve never been there before. I’m slightly concerned that it’s going to be a house and I’m going to have to own it immediately because it is just my thing—a three-story Spanish mission style guard tower—sigh, home sweet home. Thank god it turns out to be the NDOs (residential group mail boxes). What a joke!
It reminds me of my last apartment—third floor on a mountain preserve overlooking multi-million dollar homes. I pick out the tiny one on the very top that turns out to be the club house. But, I’m in no mood to ponder how the decadence of western civilization will inevitably lead to a water shortage or how the mining companies are buying up rights and will ultimately profit from that too. We are FREE! And the air coming in the windows is crisp and clean and flushes our cheeks like starry-eyed lovers serendipitously thrown together by a dramatic but completely over-comeable life challenge culminating in a financial windfall followed soon after by a major land purchase we vow to be stewards of and immediately begin to dig out passive rain water collection burms, build an earthship, apply for conservation status and invite schools to field trip at our home; educate the children, get a tax write-off and all at once finally feel that this is what it means to be alive.