The River is Wide (and Too Hard to Cross)March 2, 2010 at 11:49 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
A-B. Anheuser-Busch. The world headquarters…or now the North American headquarters of InBev, who owns them now. But wisely–or Budweiserly–they have opted to keep the name recognition of the A-B name. It’s a fairly large complex, although I have been to bigger places. Boeing, for instance. Back in the olden days it was McDonnell-Douglas, where my mom worked. And so for me, it shall always be Mac. I’ve worked at all three Domino’s that cover parts of the Mac Complex, as well as the one that delivers to the airport. Can you spell cluster-fuck? Christ in a baggage cart–nothing is worse than trying to make a delivery to several different places at the airport in the snow at lunch time.
So A-B is not so bad. Taking my knowledge and experience to the table with me, I recommended to Brian that maybe we should get some maps of the A-B complex when a driver goes there. Of course they have deliveries there during the day, but no one is smart enough to do this. After we had been open a few weeks I finally got a delivery there, and the first thing I did was talk to security at a guard shack (there are several) and he gave me a stack of maps. If you want something done–
So I got a ten buck tip at A-B. Most of my deliveries have been to security people because I work "after hours." This time, it was an 80-dollar order to a meeting or something, in the main building, which I had been to a few times. At least I had clear directions this time, and a good phone number.
Last week I had a delivery there and the instructions said, "Tour Bldg." A-B gives tours of their facility and it starts there and ends there, with a gift shop.
I get there, and the place is deserted. It’s a big building–all the buildings there are big–and no one is around. I walk around, and finally hear voices in the back. There’s a party room in back that is now deserted except for a couple of guys cleaning, and a security guard.
They said there was someone here with the same name as on the order. But they aren’t here now. The guard and the bartender looked around with me, and we couldn’t find anyone. Call? Why don’t I just call? Hey, great idea! Of course I already thought of that. The phone number listed is the MAIN number for A-B. No extension. No last name. Do have any idea how completely unhelpful that is?
I gave up. As I walk back to the car, I call the store to tell them, "If the customer calls looking for her food, get a location, get a full name, get a direct line number or an extension or a cell phone number."
Cameron answered the phone. Being a young black man, he mumbled and I had to decipher it. He took the order, the chick was in the guard shack "that we always go to." The other information on the order was old, leftover from previous orders that he didn’t see or didn’t feel like clearing. I could be stubborn and go back to the store and make them call, but it’s not the customer’s fault, so what am I proving? There are about 4 guard shacks, so I drive to the one I go to the most.
And deliver the food. Finis.
At some point in the evening, I leave on a three-stop, I turn left on Broadway, and I’m rolling down the road, intending to turn right on Allen, my first destination. Up ahead there is a car in front of me, and beyond that is a car on the shoulder with the flashers on–I actually noticed that one first. But the car in front of me slows down, then stops, in the middle of the road. I’m still quite a ways back, yet, and I don’t know what is going on. The car turns an amber flashing light on that’s on the roof–like it’s some sort of city street department or parks department car. Okay. It’s stopped near an intersection, and it looks like the intersection I need, so I have room to slide past him and make my turn.
I slowed down and turn as I’m looking. The guy that got out of the car is in front of it, walking towards another guy. I think this is the guy from the car with his hazard lights on. They are walking, not running. This is important. Just walking.
Towards the body of a man lying in the street.
The two men were in no hurry. If someone is alive and needs medical attention, you hurry–you work frantically to help them. If you don’t hurry, then you already know that it’s too late.
The man seemed to be fifty or so, thickly built, light blue jacket, thin gray hair. His face was awkwardly turned toward me, but resting–maybe that’s not the word, but what is?–on the pavement. His arms were uncomfortably straight by his side. I saw all of this as I saw the two men walk towards each other in front of the man on the ground.
I was…and am…still in a bit of shock over it. Other than at a funeral, I’ve never seen death. Not like this.
It doesn’t help that this covers several of the top five of my own personal fears. The man’s face is in my memory now. Who was he? Where was he going? I built a whole scenario in my mind that he worked in a warehouse across Broadway and was going to pick up something at a restaurant across the street for one of the girls in the office. They’ll never know what happened to him. The ambulance came and took him away. Lights, but no sirens. The woman in the office will first be pissed, because she’s missing her lunch, and think that Dave (in my mind, his name is Dave, a kindly but firm and experienced trucking veteran knows the warehouse business and has moved reluctantly into management) got distracted talking to someone, because he always does. "That Dave!" If she happens to see the lights of the ambulance, she wouldn’t necessarily put it together–why would she?
After over an hour, they would call his cell phone. It’s on his desk. So the woman and a guy from the warehouse would hop in a car and drive over, looking for him and expecting to find him engaged in conversation and unaware of the time. The order is still there waiting–he never showed up. Now they are worried–they drive around a bit looking for him before deciding to call the police.
That’s when they find out.
The woman is devastated–she blames herself because it was for her that he went across the street. But she’s not as devastated as the wife he leaves behind–his second wife, Janet, who he as been married to for ten years. He has two grown children–Joe and Sarah–both married, and one grandson from Sarah, named Billy. Three year old Billy is the light of Grampa Dave’s life–
I don’t know any of this. This all happened in the space of seconds when I saw what happened. But what is and what could be are more or less the same, in terms of potential and emotion and loss.
Sometimes I just think too much.