Like so many people who leave MSNspaces, it’s my turn. Uh, I don’t know if I’m going to leave it completely–I have two blogs here. I will probably drop the other one, and then use this one as a dumping ground. But I paid good money for a real website–my own website–and that is going to be my main thing. OF course, it’s going to take a while to get my shit together there…..and I’ll have links between these two. I’m going to pinch the best stuff from my archive here and post it there–and edit it and clean it up. After all, it’s a more professional site, and I should be more noticed there. Right? Right?
I don’t really know what to expect. But I’m excited about the prospect. We shall see.
By the way, here’s the new sight: http://oldestgenxer.com/
I’ll add a link somewhere on this page…..
Catch me if you can, bitches.
I mean, uh, please come visit me on the new website. Thanks.
Elizabeth and the young boy stand on the shore. As they sun sets, the ship appears. Will’s hair blows in the wind. He comes ashore in a small boat.
He greets Elizabeth, but is taken aback by the boy.
"Our son. Your son."
"My son? How old are you, boy?"
"I’ve been gone ten years. How–"
"It was an extra long pregnancy. Rare." She looked away.
"Mum, where’s Polly? Is she with the baby?"
"Who’s Polly? What baby?"
"My younger sister, sir. She’s six. The baby is my sister, too."
Will eyes Elizabeth with a steely gaze. She shifts uneasily. "Well, you know–once every ten years is quite a bit of time. A woman has needs." She looked at him. "And so does a man. I dare say a man’s needs might be more craven than mine. How do you make do?"
Will answered casually, "Oh, yeah…Mermaids."
Her eyes widened. "Really?"
"Yes." He turned to the side, revealing the boat behind him, and the passenger in it. "In fact, I was kind of hoping you might be up for a threesome–"
The mermaid in the boat smiled and waved at her, and flapped her fin.
Will continued, "After all, this is a special day, and everything. Once every ten years, you know–"
"But it’s deviant! Does this count as bestiality?"
"I don’t think so."
A one inch dick.
Really nothing to get excited about. In fact, it’s more of an annoyance than anything.
Plus, scroll down the left side for some new American Fortune Cookies! Better Flavor! Vitamin Fortified! Radioactive!
The store sits in the middle of an exclusive and rich subdivision, which is odd. Contained in a small strip mall, it is barely noticeable. The landscaping and architecture try to hide what it is because the residents want it both ways: They want to have the convenience of service, but don’t want to have the eyesore. Everything has to be *just so*, just a certain way.
Because this theme runs throughout the town, addresses are hard to see, lighting is decorate rather than useful, and there is never a logical layout to . . . anything.
This may not be related, but last night the lights on the strip mall were out. That means I was walking in complete darkness to my car. If this were a bad neighborhood–
But it’s not. Of course, I’m always wary and suspicious; even though I was robbed 20 years ago the skittishness has not waned. I am concerned that the others who work here take a less than strident approach to security, and I don’t want to die through someone else’s carelessness.
Or trip over something in the dark.
This area has a large Jewish community. There is a Jewish School, even. Or Hebrew School, as they call it. I delivered there a few weeks ago, and I was up for it again. This time, I knew where to go, and saved myself alot of walking and some steps. As I put the pizzas on the table, the lady–teacher, patron, Jewish Princess, what-have-you–the school-marmish woman signed the A/R slip. I make with the conversation.
"So, I noticed that these are all cheese pizzas."
"Yeah, that’s right."
"Is that because it’s Lent?"
I didn’t think someone could fluster that easily. "Uh–no. See…that’s not….We–"
I responded quickly, put a hand on her shoulder. "I was just kidding."
She relaxed, appeared relieved. "Oh. I just didn’t want to have to go there–" I explained that I have lots of Catholic friends who seem to think that everyone observes Lent. She then gave me the Cliff Notes version on the rules of Kosher.
"Wow. No cheese on a cheeseburger?" I said.
A man came up to help with the pizzas said, "When I converted I had to give up baby back ribs. I miss them."
That’s why I do what I do. I talk to customers pretty much any way I want to. I try to be funny and engaging, because it’s nice when I get it back. Plus, I’ve just been doing it too long to care what I say to anyone.
Chris was the closing manager. I haven’t worked with him much. I thought he was the quiet one, but it turns out Sam actually is. Sam is wound tight. Driven to succeed, he is. And daft if he thinks Domino’s will provide him that opportunity, but I’m not telling him that.
Chris and I exchanged our histories briefly–marital status, children, work history. …aspirations. It’s a bloody short list.
He’s been married less than a year, I think. Baby on the way. I remember that as an exciting, scary time. A time when I thought I had to grow up. He holds no illusions as to what Domino’s has in store for him. He has no future here. "This is just till I finish school." Good for him.
Because I feel the same way. As much as I like this–delivering–I can’t keep it up. In the immortal words of Danny Glover: "I’m getting too old for this shit." I can’t see at night, and getting in and out of this car all night kills me knees. I feel like I’ve been doing a doggie-style marathon, except without the satisfaction–just the knee pain. Plus, combined with my other two jobs I’m working about 70 hours a week.
The irony of me, a homeowner never being home while my girlfriend’s sister–technically a homeless chick–is at my home on her fat ass on my couch all the time is not lost on me, trust me.
I can’t keep this up forever, no matter how good the money is. And Good God, the money is good. These rich people just–it pisses me off. I want to scream at them. "Throw more money at me, you fucks!" But my hope is that in a few months, I won’t need to do this because I’ll have a couple of bills paid off.
Don’t count your chickens before they cross the road, I know. I’m just hopeful. I want to spend more time with Detroit before she decides she can get a better man….
And leave her sister with me.
A high-dollar brain surgeon comes home to his half-million dollar house, and his trophy wife tells him the toilet is clogged in the upstairs bathroom. "Should I call a plumber?"
"Hell, no!" he says. "Those sons a bitches are all crooks! I’ll fix it myself."
Three hours later, it’s still clogged. He gives up and calls a plumber. When the plumber arrives, he says, "So, you need to know that I charge 300 dollars an hour. Whether it takes me five minutes or an hour, it’s still 300 dollars." The brain surgeon agrees. The plumber walks in the bathroom, and less than 30 seconds later he walks out. "Okay, you’re all set. That’ll be 300 hundred dollars."
The brain surgeon is shocked. "How can you do that that quickly? And how can you charge that much per hour?"
The plumber says, "Well, how much do you make?"
"I’m a brain surgeon. I make 150 dollars an hour."
The plumber says, "Yeah, that’s what I used to charge when I was a brain surgeon."
Four engineers were in a car going to an engineering symposium: an electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer, a chemical engineer, and a computer science engineer.
The car breaks down, and they pull over.
The mechanical engineer is driving, and he says, "Right before it quit, that odd noise was the engine throwing a rod."
The electrical engineer was riding shotgun, and he said, "We aren’t getting any spark from the distributor."
The chemical engineer in the backseat said, "I think we got some bad gas back at that last gas station."
Then they all turn and look at the computer science engineer.
He says, "I think we should all get out of the car and then get back in again."
My Dad told me The Two Rules Of Plumbing:
1. Shit doesn’t run up hill.
2. Friday is payday.
But there is another one, less obvious but intuitively easy to grasp:
3. It will leak.
There are probably similar rules for computers as well. So, my beloved Detroit wanted a new kitchen faucet. We go look at them to get an idea what we want, and then she goes a few days later and buys one. Then she wants ME to install it. Well, fuck.
Meanwhile, my friend The Dude is having a computer issue. In a nutshell, he has an "unauthorized" copy of XP on his machine, and the microsoft police have been hounding him, fucking with his computer. Most things don’t work, and what does work doesn’t work well. To resolve it, we need to purchase a legit copy of the operating system. Last week, that came in the mail, and he needed me to fix it. I’m going to go over Sunday and fix his PC, then come home and do the faucet. No problem.
So, I run into some problems. Dealing with the Nazis at Microsoft is like dealing with……uh, Nazis. There may be other ways to fix this, but they didn’t make it obvious. I got no help on the phone–the foreign call center gave me another number that just gave me a recorded message and hung up. I couldn’t get through on the website for any help, either.
One of the problems was that Firefox is the default browser. Microsoft only likes Internet Explorer, and won’t let you access their sites with anything else because they’re a bunch of poncey cunts. But one of the generous overload of errors and quirks is that I can’t change the default browser, so when I click on the link it will only open Firefox, and I can’t change it.
I hate working on other people’s computers, I hate it. I’ll work on mine, and that’s it. I have to work on The Dude’s because he’s grandfathered in. Plus this might be kind of my fault. I break the news to him: we may not be able to save his data. If I could just enter the new key, it would be awesome. Microsoft doesn’t want him to be able to do that easily.
All of his music–which he copied onto his computer and then sold the CDs like a dumbass–as well as his games and his retarded screensavers and backgrounds will be gone. His call; "Do you want me to try something else? Because I can’t think of anything else."
Reluctantly, as we went over the options and tried various things, he realized that was his only option at this point. His computer had all but stopped functioning at this point, with the unauthorized copy of windows XP.
But because I had done certain things a certain way, or in the wrong order, or didn’t touch second base or whatever–I couldn’t format it using the XP disc. Maybe it should have let me–it does have that function–but truthfully, it’s never worked before. I had to do what I’ve always had to do–
"I need to take this home because my Windows 2000 disc is there. I can use that to format this properly, then install the xp. Cool? I’ll bring to work Monday night."
That’s Sunday, and I go home, not to work on his computer, and not to fix the faucet, but we go to my brother’s house to discuss things pertaining to my dad’s probate. My brother lives not quite an hour and a half away.
Before we leave, however, I take four advil and lay down for an hour…lots of headaches lately–
Monday, I’m off from my day job, and I don’t have to leave for the restaurant until after 4. So I have most of the day to–
I know! Let’s fix the faucet! And if that’s not enough fun, let’s work on a computer at the same time, because nothing says cerebellum-splitting migraine like working on two bullshit tasks at the same time.
First I set up the computer, and put the win2k disc in to format the drive. Then I tackle the sink. Fuck: I’m going to get wet, I’m going to get dirty, and I’m going to get aggravated.
I shut off the water under the sink, hot and cold taps, and then undo the lines. Uhm….if you shut off the water, it should stop running, right? Well, apparently "off" is more arbitrary than I thought. I get up, grunting, and go shut off the main water to the house–
And it’s still dripping on the cold side. More than a drip; more like a drizzle. A gentle spring rain falls on my face as I lay on my back, the edge of the cabinet digging into it, and I look up into the darkness behind the sink and try to loosen the nuts.
The little nuts connecting the pipes are no problem, but these are the big plastic nuts holding the sink down. I can’t get a purchase on them, there’s no room to work, and the drain pipes are stategically placed to block my view and keep me from getting my arms in the right position.
I’m no plumber.
Before I have an aneurism, I stop. I go check on the computers progress (formatting: 20% done) and sit and stew for a few minutes. I need….something. What do I need? A tool? Some help? Some direction? A fucking clue? A big-ass hammer? I wish my dad was here–
We go to the hardware store, and I’m a little testy. Detroit says to me in that I-know-how-you-are grating tone that she has that apparently when I"M frustrated or I"M having a problem that I MY sarcasm is maybe a LITTLE TOO much for her. Well, fine. I said, "Well your cheery goddamn attitude isn’t making it any better now, is it?"
And she said, "So’s yer face!"
Well, she had me there. I calmed down a bit, and I forgave her for not being as understanding as she should be. (Hey, you remember it your way, and I remember it mine.)
I didn’t actually get anything from the hardware store, but it helped center me. Oh, and the guy told me how to get the nuts off: A sharp screwdriver and a big fucking hammer. I believe that’s also how they castrate men in India, and pierce women’s ears in the Australian outback
I assembled the faucet and it works fine, except for a tiny drip under the sink that I’m going to have to fix eventually. . .like it matters. And the PC? Everything installed fine after I used the other disc to format, and I brought it in that night for him. He seemed not at all concerned that all of his previous data was dust in the wind. Ultimately I was a hero for both Detroit and The Dude.
I need a cape. But then again, this would be really crappy if it was a Marvel comic. "The IT Plumber!"
The weather here is shitty. I left the bank early, and still I sit in traffic for over an hour before I get home. It’s going to take over an hour to get to the restaurant. I know what it’s going to be like: slow, and also, the roads will be shitty and I’ll need to close early. So, I drive over an hour, work for an hour and a half, and drive home for an hour. To me, it wasn’t worth it.
Perhaps Sean could stay and just close early–
I called the store. Sean wasn’t working, it was Alex. Fuck. Alex is a spastic retard. I should call Scott, but I didn’t want to deal with him. He wouldn’t see MY logic; he was thinking old school, where at Domino’s we opened no matter what.
Ah, the good old days. I was brave enough to drive through anything. Or stupid enough. It’s a fine line–
Never thought of closing, we just hoped it would be bad enough to temporarily pull the stakes up on the 30 minute guarantee, which would give us a free-for-all.
It’s not like I was even driving that night–although I did get a call from Domino’s, wanting to know if I could come in. I told them I actually had to work my OTHER other job.
But I didn’t want to work any of them. I’ve been depressed lately. I don’t know why and I’m pretty sure I don’t need a reason, so fuck off. I just wanted to go home and get in bed and…stay there.
I knew at Scooters we would be closing early. Why? Because we could. Because it would get dark and cold and the roads that had not been cleared off–(at this point, all of them)–would refreeze and make driving pretty hazardous. This is not the carefree 70s. This is the new millenium, a time of lawsuits and recriminations. I also knew that the status of Scooters Worker’s compensation insurance tended to stray onto shaky ground. I would be doing him a favor closing early.
Plus, years of Domino’s giving bad service in that area when the weather was bad has trained everyone not to order delivery. From anyone. We were not going to be busy, we were not going to pass up much business.
I have a lot of reasons/excuses, but the truth is I just didn’t feel like it.
Alex said he would call Sean and they would deal with it. I figured I was home free, but there was that nagging feeling in the back of my head….
So when I got the three calls in a row about 6pm, I knew I had to go in. The first one I didn’t recognize the number, but after the other two calls, I figured it was Scott, calling from a fish-fry he was working. Alex called from his cell, hung up, called again. Fuck it. I’m going in.
Six pm, the roads–the interstate, I mean, is clear. At four it was hellish. The other roads are still crap, but I tore through them with a determined pissiness.
I get there, and they are very much not busy. Alex wants to leave right away. Megan does also, leaving me and The Dude. I got there at 645, and before 8, we are closed. The side streets–even the main streets–are crappy to navigate, we have hills, and it’s just not worth it. We clean up, we leave. I’m home by ten pm. What a wasted fucking night.
I’m sure Scott was pissed at me for not coming in–although I did make it. Waiting an hour and a half saved me 45 minutes on the road, actually. I’m a little disgusted with his, "Oh, he’s coming in, alright" attitude. Like we’re the post office. Through wind and rain and bullshit–
But it’s not like that anymore. Liability is a real issue….and in fact, I don’t have insurance on the car in the strictest sense of the word. What happens when something happens?
I really am getting too old for this shit.
Okay, see–the thing is, I wrote this whole big thing earlier that I’m not going to post, about me and my pity party. It’s my party, and I can have self-pity if I want.
I thought I wanted to be acknowledged in some way, or have it be celebrated, or whatever–but I guess I really don’t. The people I work with kind of forgot my birthday and it hurt my feelings, and then they scrambled to make up for it, which I enjoyed despite my cynical outlook.
That short paragraph right there condensed a few pages of emo-like rambling. It’s amazing what editing can do. I leave work early, go home and take a nap. Up to that point, that was the best part of my day. I had the creeping realization, however, that once again my kids were not going to call me on my birthday. This feeling was solidified when I got a voicemail from The Storm (and thank God she’s being a bitch again, to earn her name; all is right with the universe) bitching about child support, and I called her and said, do me a favor for my birthday, and don’t call me and bitch at me.
She was completely unaware. This doesn’t surprise me; early in our marriage she had my birthday confused with someone else’s. Uh, her previous love interest and father of the two oldest children. His is on the 18th. I just thought she was giving me my present early…..
Since she had no clue, it’s highly unlikely that without her suggestion they would think to call me. That hurt my feelings. And it still does. The whole day has been a never-ending ride on this fucking roller coaster, and I’m tired of it. They may never understand why I left their mother; in their eyes I am always going to be the bad guy.
But, what matters is the person–or people–who did remember. The Dude gave me a movie for my birthday, and he did call me today. Not to wish me happy birthday, but to ask me computer questions. But he called, so it counts. Plus, the one kid I have that I haven’t scarred for life–Detroit’s son Alex called me and wished me happy birthday. I really wish I could be his father.
And Detroit herself. Made me a cake, bought ice cream, and we went to out to eat and to the movies. Hell, if I play my cards right, I might even get lucky tonight.
But the thing about it is…I’m different. I am a loner. I don’t quite fit in. I didn’t quite fit in with my family, and now I guess I really don’t. I don’t seem to fit in with the shills at work either. My angst about all of this is related to a need to belong, and I can’t. I don’t. I’ve always been a basically happy person. No, I’ve always been basically a moody person. No, I’ve always been basically a loner. No, I’ve always been–
Christ, what a time for an identity crisis. Well, I wanted something special for my birthday. But my point really is that, through all this crap, the one steady thing I have in my life is Detroit (for those of you who are new or stupid, I mean the person, not the city). I’ve run out of words describing how wonderful she is to me, for me. I’m okay being alone from everyone else, as long as I have her.
What the hell, I’m going to include a brief snippet of my rant from earlier today, wherein I describe the perfect birthday:
As soon as I wake up, there’s somebody RIGHT there, waiting. They yell, "Happy Birthday!" then force you to get up and get dressed, and take you on a whirlwind trip of fun and excitement and possible danger, all in the name of celebration.
A quick stop at the liquor store on the way out to an airstrip, so you can drink while getting fitted for a parachute. Then you skydive, and land in the parking lot of a strip club. After you pole dance and then get a lap dance, it’s off to the firing range. ..on a dirt bike. After shooting at things you shouldn’t shoot at, you’re off to a parade, in your honor. Oh, and you get to drive one of those go-carts the shriners drive! Then, lunch at Hooters.
This is all before noon. Then you take a nap. When you wake up, cake and ice cream and water skiing.
and she is so good to me.
like a stuntman in a body cast
she really takes care of me
without making me feel suffocated
She cooks for me sometimes,
and its usually not to bad.
she cleans up after me all the time
and hardly ever bitches.
Miraculously my clothes appear
all neatly folded and put away
and usually they’re clean as well
just dont go expecting it
She understands my needs
no matter how preverted
and she even fulfills most of them
although some things are off limits
unless she passes out
My little bundle of sunshine,
love and joy and stuff.
someone who really gets me
and knows I can be too much
We like alot of the same things
and I like the things she does
I cant believe she loves me
for the asshole that I am
I really enjoy her company,
and I’m glad that we are friends
I didn’t know I could love someone
this completely sarcastic
She is sweet like a sugar beet
or an old stale beer left open
but she can also be sharp and bitter
like cheddar, or an old woman
We can spend time alone and quiet
or talk and talk and talk
until one of us falls asleep
from all the excitement.
She wants to be with me forever
or at least she thinks so now
but I’ll ask again in a few years
to see if she has changed her mind
because I’m better in small doses
We both understand the things
we’ve given up to be with each other
but we’ve gained so much more
sometimes its more than we can handle
I hope this peom does the trick
and says everything I want to say
cause I’ve run out ideas already
valentines day is coming up
and I want make sure I get laid
I believe that is it, in a nutshell.
Here in the Midwest, in the St Louis area, Monday afternoon we started to get sleet. This is just a week after we had ten inches of snow that melted in a day and a half. Now we get sleet. This is a special kind of snow. It doesn’t pack like snow. It doesn’t accumulate like snow. But it is white. And it’s slick as shit. Now, it’s not like the ice storms that we get that weigh down power lines. This is just a soft, fluffy, barely noticeable precipitation.
That brings traffic to a grinding halt. People finally get home, they order food. Last night, I worked at Scooters.
I work on the inside, but I know how the roads are; it took me over an hour to get to work and I consider myself lucky.
Mrs. Stuffleton calls (you know, I don’t know her name. I could look it up if I gave a wet flyin shit. This is who she is to me) and Karl is taking the order. He runs into a problem–new computers, we’re still adjusting–and puts her on hold. I try to figure it out, and it’s not easy. She wants a burger, and she wants 6 extra slices of fucking onion. These are big slices, so she’s obviously a bitch. (No, really, I can tell. I know things about people.)
I figure out the computer thing, but she hung up. She calls back. Karl is working on it again, but she wants to speak to the manager.
–That would be me.
Mrs. Stuffleton feels that Karl should be nicer to her. After all, she is a "Valued Customer." A regular. Not only that, but she took issue with the delivery time: it will be over an hour because of the road conditions. "Oh. Well, I thought perhaps you could do something about that, since I am a regular customer." She orders all the time. She’s special. So very special. And we should treat her special and kiss her ass. She then senses that I am being brusque with her as well. How very astute. "I mean, I am the customer. I provide your business. Am I annoying you?"
[AND I GUESS THIS IS THE PART ABOUT IT THAT BOTHERS ME. I HAVE ANOTHER REGULAR WHO IS KIND OF A FRIEND/ACQUAINTANCE, BUT HE HAS A SIMILAR ATTITUDE: I AM A REGULAR CUSTOMER, TREAT ME SPECIAL. THE DIFFERENCE IS, IF I KNOW THEY ARE A REGULAR, AND THEY DON’T ASK FOR SPECIAL TREATMENT, THEY WILL GET IT. BUT TO DEMAND IT….THAT’S NOT HEALTHY. I DON’T WANT TO BE THEIR ENABLER IN THIS ULTIMATELY UNHEALTHY DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIP. MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE MY EX WIFE IS NUTTIER THAN MY BALLSAC AND MY PREVIOUS GIRLFRIEND BEFORE THAT WAS AN ALCOHOLIC THAT MADE MY EX LOOK SANE. IT’S JUST OVERTLY NEEDY. ‘TELL ME YOU LOVE ME! TELL ME I’M SPECIAL!’–WELL, IF IT’LL GET ME LAID….
I REALIZE THAT I AM A PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE ASSHOLE. IF YOU TELL ME TO TREAT YOU SPECIAL, I WOULDN’T PISS ON YOU IF YOU WERE ON FIRE. BUT IF YOU ARE NICE AND FRIENDLY AND DON’T PRESUME TO OWN ME, I’LL DO ANYTHING FOR YOU.
AND ANOTHER THING…PERHAPS YOU READ THIS AND FEEL THAT I DON’T BELONG IN FOOD SERVICE. YOU WOULD BE CORRECT. NONETHELESS, HERE I AM.]
Honesty is usually mistaken for rudeness; that’s why I use it. "Ma’am, I am also cooking. I have food on the grill. I’m just trying to get through this is as quickly as possible."
"Oh." It sounds like her feelings were hurt to find out that she is not THE LAST PERSON ON THE FUCKING PLANET. Another person suffering from Charleton Heston Syndrome: They think they are The Omega Man. I get her order, and get off the phone. I have to run to the grill–shit, I burned the chicken. She calls back. I let it ring about 8 times while I deal with more important things. She says, "I was going to give you my credit card number." Great, because I was going to go to Sears.
"Oh, okay. Can you hold please?" I let her hold again while I save the rest of the food on the grill. I already established that I’m cooking; she had better be understanding. I get her number and run it. I thought I was through with her….but she called when the order was an hour old, and Sean had just left. She said her name, like I should know her by name. I ask for her address, which is all that matters to me. . .that, and whether or not my balls will fit in her mouth.
But I was cordial.
I finally get done with her and another lady calls. "I just wanted to check on my order to see if it’s on it’s way. Are you guys busy tonight?"
I never cease to be amazed. I did say this, I did: "Have you looked outside?"
She said, "That’s what I thought. I wondered if the weather had anything to do with it."
She sounds like the kind of person who doesn’t quite get the correlation between flipping a switch and the light coming on. In other words, the typical customer.
I’ve been writing alot more and posting more on my blog. I don’t think it means I have more going on; it just means I have more to write. Euclidean geometry, children, is the stuff you learned in high school. Triangles, circles, lines and planes. Proofs, if you did those. Constructions, using a straight edge and a compass. The difference between Euclidean and non lies in one proof: Two parallel lines never intersect.
You might feel that instinctively this is true; nonetheless, to prove it mathematically is somewhat vexing. But in the real world, I have seen it disproven many times, especially in delivery. I can’t even count the number of streets that run parallel to each other right up to the point where they intersect. It’s like driving in an alternate universe.
There are three schools of thought when it comes to finding your way, by the way. Tell me which of these works for you.
a) Turn by turn (or the mapquest method): Turn right here, go down to this street, turn left-blah blah blah.
2) Geometric: Visualize the map and the shape of the path.
d) Counting: This is a hybrid, because it relies on the map, but you do turn by turn: go left, pass four streets: 1,2,3,4–then turn right.
All of these methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Mapquest and Microsoft maps and googlemaps, or whatever–they show you a map, but they give you turn by turn. I have worked in delivery since 1982, and I have lived by maps. Static maps, on the wall. You look at where you are going, and you memorize it. So, what are you memorizing? Well, I’m memorizing the MAP, the visual component. Some people look at it and memorize the directions.
The problem with that is, if you don’t memorize it properly or completely, you will get confused. I memorize the map, and so, if I get turned around, or pass up a street, I know where I am in relation to my destination. Of late, because I am now an old fuck, I have to add counting to my method because I have shit for night vision and can’t see street signs. But if I look at the map and count, I know that it’s the third street down, I don’t have to be able to see.
I’ve bragged on this shit before, how I know where everything is in the North County area, I’ve delivered here, there, and everywhere–so I won’t rehash. Except to tell this brief bit:
Back in the early 90s, I was working at Hazelwood, one of the busiest Domino’s in the area. This was before Papa John’s came to town, and before Pizza Hut actually knew how to deliver (Oh, they were doing it, but they were clumsy, inexperienced virgins at that time) and I was one of the star drivers. I say "one of" because we had about a half a dozen solid drivers like myself who could drive circles around anyone. And by the way, on a Friday night, there would be twenty drivers on the road. Those were the salad days….
I closed four nights a week and worked one late shift, with the manager cutting me off right at 40 hours. One night I closed was Monday. The manager would get rid of the last driver about nine, and it was just me for the rest of the night. Did I mention we still had the 30 minute guarantee at that time? Oh, yeah. You had to be good, because this was a matter of life and death…and numbers. Cash, sales, and late percentages. Oh, yes, and honor.
Many times when I would be the only driver, I would pull up to the store, and the manager would be standing there with a stack of pizza bags, waiting. I would pull up, and he would throw three or four runs in my car, and tell me only what the first one was–
So I would know what direction to turn out of the parking lot. The rest I would look at while I was driving. I didn’t go in and look at the map. And no, I didn’t have a map book in my car, either. I knew where everything was. Everything.
Over the course of 22 years of delivery experience at two dozen some-odd stores, I’ve had my share of "Shit, I don’t know where that is!" It’s worse when you’re already on the road, and you have to figure it out, or guess, or make a phone call. But that’s not the same as being "lost." I don’t get "lost" very often. Lost is a specific instance where you don’t know where YOU are. I know where I am–I just can’t find my destination. It really pisses me off when a customer says, "Didja get lost?" No, asshole, I didn’t "get lost." I knew where I was every fucking nanosecond. I just couldn’t find your unlit unnumbered unmarked hidden cave, you sloth.
But I have actually been "lost" in the technical sense. In 22 years, thousands–and I do mean thousands–of deliveries, I have been lost exactly three times. The first time was Halloween, 1986. I had been working for Domino’s for three weeks. Another store on the other side of the county–hell, I hadn’t even heard of it–needed drivers and they sent me. They send me on a triple, all going to the same subdivision. Their area was all spread out, construction going on and roads changing–I couldn’t even find the subdivision. A fire station had it’s doors open, giving candy out to trick-or-treaters. With a 30-minute guarantee, you learn to think fast. I pulled up, ran out, asked them if I could look at their map–never stopping as I headed straight for it–and a friendly fireman showed me where I was. I wasn’t as far off as I thought, luckily. I grabbed some candy from their dish and bolted.
The second time was only a few years later. I was loaned out to another store, Blackjack. This is one that I would end up managing a few years later. They sent me on some runs, and I got completely turned around; I should have made a left out of the store instead of a right, and so I ended up–I don’t know where I ended up, but it was one of those situations where the two roads are parallel until they intersect–and it didn’t make sense to me. I had to turn around and come back to the store, much to the chagrin of the already-stressed-out manager.
The third time was Friday–just a few days ago. It’s late and I’m the only driver, and we’re busy. I’m starting to know my way around, but there is a subdivision right near the store that sucks to high heaven. Big houses, and the streets are curved and winding. No perpendicular intersections, and no streets that go all the way through to stop short-cut takers. And pizza delivery, the bastards. I can’t explain what happened without making myself sound like a dumbass. Suffice it to say that I called the store, and Dina, the manager, gave me turn by turn directions to the street. I figured I was home-free. Nope. Not even fucking close. I still have to find the house. I’m looking for 246. I see 288, 286, and decreasing–okay, good–keep going, it’s on this side. I happen to see the numbers on the other side, odd numbers. Increasing in the direction I’m going. What the Fuck? I look again, and I see 260, then 250. It’s the end of the street?
Does the street continue somewhere, or is there a space warp somewhere? Fuck if I know. I go back to the top, look again. I end up calling the customer. And this is where they where: IN BETWEEN the 286 and the 260. I suppose, if you’re fucking rich, you don’t have to know how to count. I’m going to buy a street guide. Son of a bitch.