Groundhog Day

Why is it that customers that tip well and treat you like you should be allowed to drink out of the same water fountain as them only order once every leap year, meanwhile, drunken fiends that want to humiliate you to make themselves feel better about their inevitable heart disease and the fact that no one loves them routinely place orders after midnight on every day of the week that ends in 'Y'? Is it because life has a rationing plan of pleasure? Is there a finite amount of happiness that would run out like potable water in California? Apparently, because about once every three months I would find myself delivering to a full-blown mcmansion that sported two Lambo's, a Ferrari, a hummer and a full sized sail boat that was set afloat in an infinity edge pool (not a joke). The way too young owner of this estate would always answer the door wearing cargo shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and tip me somewhere between an Alexander Hamilton and an Andrew Jackson. Then on the opposite end of the awesome spectrum there was this drunken forty year-old dude that would call in more than once a week and rudely ramble on about wanting wings with marinara sauce before ultimately calling us something obscene and hanging up on us before we could respond.
Just as a heads up, I don't mind you knowing what you want to order. I love the fact that you have your heart set on a specific item and that you hashed out the finer details of your order before you called in. I don't want to up-sell you a bunch of shit that nobody ever wants (Coke Zero and salads), and you probably don't want to hear me bombard you with options about shit that you wouldn't ever willingly let through your front door without a vegetarian girlfriend that's already agreed to blow you for them. Also, I get the Coke Zero, too. You're obviously going to use it to poison your neighbor's lawn and then mix the remainder of it in with a handle of Jäger. I'm not 100% sure, but in my very unscientific opinion those are the only two beneficial uses for the syrup-less shite. I'm serious here. Does anybody ever go, "I really have a hankering for some leafy greens with my meat lover's pizza?" And Coke, way to really hit the mark with your branding, because Zero is the exact number of people that want to wash down their extra large order of breadsticks with a soda that tastes like used windshield wiper fluid. Honestly, I don't think I'm alone here when I say that if I truly wanted a zero calorie soda, I'd knock back a diet coke. I wouldn't hone in on a drink that tasted like watered down hand sanitizer. Also, who the hell eats marinara sauce with their bone-in wings? We couldn't even enter it into our computer because the request was so off the wall. I mean, I'm no gastroenterologist, but is tomato paste and hot sauce the only thing you can taste when your liver starts to fail? I have a somewhat savvy suggestion for other alcoholics out there that enjoy this same culinary quirk. It's called order a pizza. It comes with marinara sauce and it goes fucking fantastically with wings, try it some time.

Anyway, this middle-aged alcoholic that I was forced to frequently deliver to lived on a dirt road that had so many one to two foot rocks embedded into the path that it was nearly impossible to traverse without tearing your oil well off. I remember my first time heading there I was struggling to make the TDS worthy journey despite driving my mom's Ford Ranger. (God it's a sad existence isn't it? The fact that I had to borrow my mom's truck to deliver pizzas is so shameful. If I was born into a prouder culture I would have fallen onto a rusty pizza cutter seppuku-style many years ago, or if I was Jewish I would've eaten enough fermented gefilte fish to put me into an unsurvivable sepsis filled coma. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's how Japanese and Jewish cultures express their shame.) Well, about halfway down the roadway the dirt path smoothed out a bit. By the time I hit the customer's hundred foot long dirt driveway the trail seemed almost graded. The run got even better when I noticed that what looked like a husband and wife couple appeared to be sitting in lawn chairs in front of their garage. I remember thinking to myself that these people really had their shit together. Despite being a little drunk on the phone, they knew what they wanted and they were waiting outside to pay. That's about the time the truck I was driving crashed into a four foot deep ditch that ran across the entire width of the driveway. Apparently they were installing some sort of sewer line or piping and they just didn't deem it necessary to tell me when I was careening towards it. A simple hand gesture telling me to stop was all it would have taken to avoid having me take a nose dive into my new-found, neck deep, nightmare.  Instead of doing me that solid, though, they just sat on their asses, sipping their scotch and watched as I hilariously high centered myself. You might say that not noticing the ditch is my fault. It might be, too. My only defense is that I was focusing on the customers in the driveway and not actively looking for dangerous divots that were cloaked underneath the darkening sky. Also, you sort of expect a driveway to be drivable, as the name sort of suggests. 

After a few awkward minutes of watching me ineffectively spinning my tires, the male customer got up with his drink in tow and just lifelessly stared at my still stuck truck. The man didn't even apologize. He just stood their taking the occasional hit off of his home brew while watching me struggle. After a few more minutes of them staring at my immobility the man asked me if I had AAA. I told him I didn't and then in a super frustrated tone asked the question I had been dying to ask since I initially got stuck, "Why didn't you wave at me so I'd know to stop. I could have avoided driving into that ditch. I mean, I was looking right at you." He just shrugged his shoulders and that was that. I instantly added that answer to my mile long manifesto that's filled with wildly unsatisfying responses to almost inconceivably easy to answer questions. I wasn't asking for them to beg or plead for forgiveness. I just want an honest response. A, "I guess I should have thought about the fact that we called for delivery. I mean, we should have foreseen that you might drive into the camouflaged cavern that exists in our entryway. It is odd that all I did was mindlessly watch you wreck your Ranger. Sorry about that." Nobody ever does that, though. When you catch someone stealing, cheating, anything. It's always a shrug of the shoulders followed by an "I don't know." That's if you even get that much out of a person. Why people, why? 

I've got to give a little credit to the husband. though. At least he got up off his ass to soullessly stare at me being stuck. The wife was still sitting in the lawn chair looking uninterested. After a few beats I frustratingly removed my hands from my head to keep my skull from imploding like I was sucking on an Iraqi IED blowpop. I then looked at the tractor that the man had parked in his back yard and asked him if he could at least pull me out. His response? A sigh followed by a slow trot that looked more like he was walking the green mile to the hangman's noose than helping a delivery driver that he helped dick over. I was pulled free about a half hour later with nary an apology for the trench that my truck took on head first. I don't think I need to bring up how much dinero I pulled down on the gratuity either. I'm sure you can make the educated guess that it was more than nothing but less than the work that my mom's suspension needed.

Luckily for everyone else, I was the first driver to head to this address. That meant I was able to enter this little nugget of knowledge into our computer system so as to permanently alert potential future victims to the invisible canal that was itching to consume a Fast and the Furious cast worth of cars. The tragedy here isn't that I had to get my tires rotated and balanced after biffing it. It's that these are the kind of customers that are the most frequent and the least philanthropic. How are we as a staff supposed to maintain our collective sanity when these kind of scenarios become common place. It's an unanswerable question that boils down to this one plea of mine. Please for the love of God buy my book or one of the 500 songs I've published at Pacific Ridge Records. Set me free.