This is one of a series of posts about jobs I’ve had during my time on this planet. You can read more posts by clicking the “jobs i’ve had” tag, and read a lengthier intro to the series in the first post.
I had hoped the temp agency would find me more mindless work, but it didn’t. So I spent a few months sending out resumés with no luck, and then took a job as a UPS seasonal driver helper as much to get out of the house as I did to make any money, since it didn’t pay much.
The job was simple: deliver packages to people’s doors to take some of the strain off the driver since there was a much higher volume of packages at this time of year. If there was anything remotely complicated about a package delivery, like needing to get a signature, the driver did it himself. It was the definition of mindless work. I never got to play with the DIAD, the magical electronic clipboard-looking device every driver carries that seems to keep UPS’ entire worldwide operation running.
Since I didn’t care if I got fired from this job, I blogged extensively about it, as it was happening.
My time was spent working with two drivers: a skinny, surly, cussing, chain-smoking redneck whose skin looked like beef jerky; and a socially awkward slob who frequently made inappropriate remarks. I mostly had fun working with the first guy, but not so much with the second guy.
In just a week or two working with the second guy, he managed to explode a fire extinguisher, get his truck stuck in a trench, and cost me and someone else a whole day of wages because he called the wrong person. The cab of his truck was full of apple cores and squalor, enough so that I felt compelled to make a diagram later:
But what beats all were some of the awkward remarks he made. He talked politics in a confrontational way, oblivious of how much tension it would have caused had I happened to disagree with his beliefs. That this guy voted for Kerry maybe should have made me reexamine my own beliefs. But here’s my favorite story he told me:
At some point we were talking about Asian women versus Brazilian women versus Italian women. God knows how I let that continue past one sentence. Anyway, he felt a need to defend the fact that he’s 45 years old and has never been married, which I didn’t know and hadn’t given a second thought about until that point. Even better, he said he’d been dating a girl for about a year and that “things got real intimate, real early.” Like I didn’t hear him the first time, he repeats, “real intimate.”
Customers were funny and weird.
One was a sexy senior citizen, which in retrospect is more awesome than weird to me, but I guess I was a little more prudish in some ways at the time. When she answered the door, she was wearing a penis amulet and broke out into song.
Another had an unhealthy addiction to QVC. No joke, every day I rode with the first driver we delivered a package from QVC to her.
But my favorite thing I did during that time was to snap a photo with my cell phone camera anytime someone had a steep driveway. Rich people with long, steep driveways were the bane of my existence during those weeks. I posted the photos to my blog under a series of posts called “Your Driveway Sucks.” They looked like this:
Amber started reading my blog about this time and later told me she was intrigued, asking herself, “who is this guy who keeps posting photos of people’s driveways?”