Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Adventures in Mail Delivery Part 1701

So, for the first time ever, my route is actually big enough to get a substitute carrier to fill in on my days off.  That's the job I used to have before I got my own route.  It is, basically, a terrible job, because you are only guaranteed a single day of work per week.  And, during the rest of the week, any other work is given out by seniority, and rarely scheduled in advance, meaning that you work 1 day a week, and are on call the other 5 business days.  Which, in turn, means that you cannot have another day job, or take school classes during the day, because you might get a call, and have to go in to work, and if you say no, you get fired.  As you go up in seniority, you get more steady work, but until you've gone up to, say, the top three seniority spots, you're not really getting much work beyond your one day a week. 

Anyway, so, my route is finally big enough that I get a day off every week, and they finally hired someone to cover my days off.  So I've been training this guy this week.  Now, one thing most people don't realize is how dirty mail is.  It's really, really dirty.  After a day of handling it, your hands are pretty much completely black with it.  It happens every day, and there's really not much you can do about it other than wash your hands when you're done.  So, I'm out, sitting in the back of the truck and reading a book while my new minion does all the work for me, because, really, if you had your very own minion, wouldn't you?  And this guy starts freaking out.  I mean, like, literally, freaking out, twitching, mumbling to himself, etc.  I deliver to two schools, a gas station, and an Arctic Circle.  When we got to the first of them, before I could even show him where to take the mail, he makes a mad dash for the bathroom like his bladder is one drip short of critical mass.  He spent like five entire minutes just washing his hands.  Seriously.  Five whole minutes.  Doesn't sound like a lot?  You try washing your hands for five minutes straight.  He did this at the next school, and the gas station, and the Arctic Circle as well.  Not to make light of mental disorders such as OCD, but holy crap man, this is a dirty job.  If you can't handle that, it's probably not the job for you.

So, the next day he brought latex gloves to wear.  And all four of those stops he went into the bathroom and washed the freaking gloves.  This day, he was asking me all sorts of weird questions. 

"What happens when it rains?" 
"You get wet, obviously.  You work outside.  Weather happens." 
"But I can't get wet, do you know how dirty rain water is?"

"What happens when it gets really hot in the summer?  This truck has air conditioning, right?"
"Oh sweet, naive child.  Do you honestly believe that the post office would actually pay for you to be using air conditioning in the summer?  You're going to be hot and miserable.  Bring lots of water."
"But... but I'll get all sweaty!"
"Why, yes.  Yes you will."

"There's bird crap on that mailbox.  I don't actually have to touch it, do I?"
"Neither rain, nor sleet, nor avian excrement shall stay these carriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
"Ah, man.  Seriously!  I actually have to touch that?"

"We don't go out in the snow, right?"
"So you've never gotten mail on days with snow before?"
"But I'll get all wet and messy!"
"I've heard that the sky is blue, but I've never bothered looking up to see for myself..."

By the end of the day I was just messing with his head for the fun of it because I finished my book and didn't have anything else to do but prod the mentally ill person for my own amusement.  I'm a humanitarian at heart.  I mean, honestly, what did he think he was signing up for when he applied for the job.  You're outside and exposed to every form of weather that happens by.  You're going to get wet, and sweaty, and messy and dirty.  Mail has dirt on it like you wouldn't believe without seeing it for yourself, and the ink on many of the full coverage adds that we deliver also comes off on your hands, making them even more dirty.  If you can't handle your hands getting a little dirty, maybe a job where you are primarily using your hands to handle pieces of paper that have come from all over the world, and gone through several different sorting machines is not exactly the career choice for you.  Just a thought.  And, hello, you know you're going to be working outside, and you don't expect to be exposed to... you know... OUTSIDE THINGS!!!

Yeah, I've been just shaking my head in amusement at this guy all week.  I do not expect him to last long.  There's wanting to be clean, and then there's crazy.  This guy is definitely on the crazy side of it.  I can understand OCD compulsions.  I have a few of them myself, but I know how to ignore them and keep them from ruling my life.


  1. This made me laugh a lot. So I read it to Richard and we both laughed a lot. We haven't seen in you such a long time. Glad you sound like you're doing well.

  2. Well, any time you feel like inviting me over to sit around and play video games or watch movies, I'm usually not doing much. I suppose I could make the effort to kick my freeloaders, I mean brothers, out and invite you over here once in a while too. Now that I'm not working 80+ hours a week anymore, I forgot what to do with free time hahaha.