UPS

by Berck

I’m resurrecting my Europe list. In my usual fashion, there is no special occasion or otherwise suitable reason for me to do so. It certainly isn’t because of a hearty pagan solstice celebration mutated by Christians however many hundreds of years ago. It’s not because I’m twenty years old now, which doesn’t seem terribly special to me, other than the thought that the wake of time known as my teenage years cannot be much altered by any direct action on my part-their mutations depend on the lens of memory, as corrupt as it is. It’s certainly not because I’m in Europe, or even traveling. I’m existing, though for what purpose or with what goals I’m not sure. Nor am I writing because my muse has started talking to me as she is, I fear, blowing in the wind, and rather uninterested in me at the moment. No, I’m writing simply because of my egotistical nature, and even that has gotten to be a bit much for me lately.

I’ve been working for UPS in some strange effort to become self-sufficient. I have decided that working for a living is not enjoyable. At least not doing physical labor for UPS. My job consists of riding in the brown truck on the jump seat, from which my mother is worried I shall fall because of the consistently wide apertures in the truck on either side of its occupants. I’ve discovered that UPS drivers leave the doors open for a zillion reasons, the most important of which seem to be visibility and time saving.

My driver’s name is pronounced, “Jerrahldoe”, but I have no idea how he spells it. He is Mexican. I cannot think of an adjective to describe him better. He’s so Mexican, I’ve taken to poking fun of him about it, which he doesn’t seem to mind. He insists that all the rich women we deliver packages to only yell “Thank you, Merry Christmas!” at me because I’m white and wearing a UPS uniform. He reflected that while even he, a Mexican, gained some respectability in a UPS uniform, the effect was much more pronounced on me. Perhaps.

I don’t much like my uniform. It’s also a crappy uniform, all the drivers have decent stuff. My pants are the right size in the waist but too long. They gave me a short-sleeve shirt, despite the fact that it’s really cold here. The “jacket” they gave me is a joke. It’s a long-sleeved unlined, thin, pull-over thing. It is not at all a nice thick warm UPS jacket all the drivers get. I didn’t even get a hat.

The job is hard work. Yesterday I worked 11.5 hours. UPS is not, I don’t think, aware of the Texas workforce commission and its various regulations regarding giving us breaks, a LUNCH break, etc. If I don’t get overtime pay, I will complain loudly. They owe me overtime for everything over 5 hours because I’m part time. We’ll see if they pay up.

I don’t think the $8.50/hr they’re paying me is quite worth the amount of work this job is. I was prepared for hard work, but not constant running. I’m required to RUN from the truck to the door, deliver a package, and RUN back. Just try that for 11 hours. If I were an athlete, or even remotely in shape, it would be one thing. I’m neither.

I worked 5 hours on Monday, and it was hard, but not too bad. We delivered packages at 180 stops. Don Defazzio, my driver’s and my supervisor, is not a nice person. He told us we should be able to deliver 60 stops an hour with two of us. We barely managed 40, and there wasn’t much way we could do any better. This incurred the wrath of Don, which is not a good thing. It didn’t much bother me, I was doing what I could do, and if that wasn’t good enough for him, screw him. Geraldo gets very upset when yelled at by Don, and I’m not sure why. It’s not like Don will fire him, or even suspend him from being a driver for the amount of time it takes him to deliver stuff. I suppose I’m just not one to cower under “authority”. Don told me to meet Geraldo at noon, but I never managed to find out where by the time both Don and Geraldo dissappeared somewhere in the huge mess that is the “hub” in Dallas. Thousands of UPS package cars and the huge semi trucks, or “feeders” that shovel stuff from not too distant areas and from DFW swarm about the hub. I’ve never seen such a huge operation. Endless mazes of roads, huge buildings, conveyor belts, rollers, moving cages, etc to move packages from one area to the next. The hub is most active after about 7pm until about 10am in the morning, though there’s stuff going on there all the time, thousands of people doing this and that with packages. It’s amazing that it works at all. Anyway, I didn’t know where they went so I went home. Don woke me up at 8:15AM, and asked if I could be at the hub in a half hour. “Uh, sure,” I told him, trying to figure out who I was talking to, where I was going, what a hub was, who I was, etc… The usual things that cloud my brain in the morning.

UPS employees like Christmas even less than I do. And people like me who never liked Christmas to begin with, REALLY don’t like it at UPS. Christmas, and our society’s obsession with buying and sending each other things on ONE day of the year, is what allowed me to get a job at UPS.

The neighborhood Geraldo and I have been assigned to for this week, or rather, the four streets that we’ve been assigned to is one of the richest areas of Dallas. Enormous houses on postage-stamp sized pieces of property. On Wednesday we delivered 459 packages at 328 stops. All on a mere 4 streets.

Most of the packages we delivered came from Amazon.com. Amazon boxes are easy to spot, and so I noticed that probably half of our packages came from Amazon. I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually turn a sales-based profit this year, with all the stuff I delivered. I delivered endless numbers of moo-cow gateway boxes, bland “Dell” boxes, and most of all smoked turkeys from Tyler, TX. Everybody with that amount of money, is apparently entitled to a turkey or two or three from SOMEONE.

I miss the days of answering the door and finding smoked turkeys or Omaha steaks on the doorstep. It’s a funny manner of growing up where instead of finding them on the doorstep, I find myself delivering them. It’s enough to get me thinking.

I started counting people driving on our streets with cell phones in their ears, but that was too difficult, and switched to counting people who were driving WITHOUT cell phones in their ears. So many people who answered the door were talking to someone on a phone of some sort. The yuppie mobiles abound. I don’t think I saw a single “affordable” car in the neighborhood. Porsches, Mercedes, BMW, Lexi… Anything that says, “Money!”

Seeing the money through Geraldo’s eyes is even more fascinating. I’ve tried to teach him the word, “yuppie” but I’m not sure he understands. He once pointed at a house with a wreath on the door, “2408, the one with the round shit on the door,” he told me. I was too tired to laugh.

Every door step seemed to be littered with kid’s scooters. These two-wheel contraptions are apparently all the rage now. I guess they’re skateboards for the uncoordinated. Skateboards with a steering rod is what they look like. I’m sure any kids who didn’t already have them are getting them for Christmas.

I worked 9 hours on Tuesday. About halfway through it, I slipped on a sidewalk and fell, hurting my ankle and hip. The sidewalk was iced. I’m not sure why, it was at least 65 degrees outside, I don’t know HOW it got iced. Might have had something to do with a SPRINKLER SYSTEM.

It didn’t hurt too bad until yesterday morning. Yesterday morning I felt really bad. Geraldo called me at 7:30, and told me to head down to the hub by quarter to nine. I did, and didn’t get back to my car until 8:30pm. By that time I could barely walk, much less run, and I hurt absolutely everywhere.

I was forced to tell him that I couldn’t come in this morning. I felt really bad for him, but there was just no way for me to do it, I hurt too much. I feel as though I’ve failed, and it’s frustrating, because it’s not out of laziness, simply that my body won’t do what I’m trying to make it. That’s annoying. I hope I feel better tomorrow, because he’s going to be swamped otherwise. I’m tired of typing now, hope you all are doing well…

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