The joys of package delivery

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By Arlene Jones

Columnist

I drive part-time for a local delivery service. I won't mention the name because I am sure that somewhere in the contract it probably has a clause about writing about the company. Plus I also don't feel like they deserve free publicity of any kind. One of the interesting things about delivering packages all over the Chicagoland area is that I get to see different parts that I might not see otherwise. 

One weekend I was sent out to the Fox River area. The GPS led me to a river and told me I had "arrived" at my destination. I was looking at a half-frozen river and a bunch of cars parked near it. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what the GPS meant. I left the area, delivered packages elsewhere and then realized I had to be near the delivery spot in order for my dispatch to agree to my returning the package. So I again listened to the dumb machine. Again it took me to the river's edge. I was about to call and say I couldn't find the address, when I saw a bunch of mailboxes and one had the address printed on it. So I got out of my car and, lo and behold, hidden by the cars parked near the river's edge was a scary footbridge that took me across the frozen river and to the particular address!

I've learned to be wary of dogs. One of the very first deliveries I did, the woman opened the door and her dog ran out and tried his best to bite my behind. I can still feel his teeth mark scraping my butt. Thankfully, he only nipped and didn't break the fabric of my pants. But I have learned to be wary of dogs ever since. On a different occasion, I delivered a package where a 12-year-old was so engrossed in his video game that he took the package and let the dog out in the meantime. So there I am at the front door, ringing the doorbell while the dog stands guard in the middle of the sidewalk, snarling and protecting his turf. In the meanwhile, the kid is engrossed in playing his video game and ignores my repeated doorbell rings. It took over five minutes for the boy to come back to the door and call in his pet. I tell you, I'm gonna get me some pepper spray!

Just this past weekend, I couldn't find an address using the company's GPS. So I did the cheat routine and looked it up on Google. But even Google had a problem with the address as it sent the above picture back. I had some very unkind words as I lamented how white folks love to live out in the middle of no-man's-land surrounded by forest and nothing else. When I finally found the house and rang the doorbell, a black guy answered! Boy, did I feel like the true meaning of assume (ass-u-me) 

One house I delivered to had three hearses parked in the driveway. I don't know what the secondary market is like for "used" hearses, but that was one house where I left the package at the front door and quickly got out of Dodge!

Several weeks ago when it had snowed, I had to trudge up a 50-foot, snow-covered driveway, followed by another 20 feet of un-shoveled sidewalk. Before I could even ring the doorbell, the homeowner opened the door. In my most facetious voice possible, I thanked him for shoveling. 

Delivering packages is truly an adventure. I can guarantee that some of my real-life escapades in doing it will end up in a future novel.

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