Naturally I can go by the FedEx store as early as you want. My only hindrance being my screaming two-year old with a dual ear infection. I had five boxes to deliver. One was small, heavy, and clearly breakable. Two were medium-sized yet accommodating, two were just plain evil, and the last one was as small and as awkward as a first date bugger.
Fitting the terrorist profile prohibited my ill planned parking scheme, which involved running into the building and dropping off my five boxes within record time. Blond and driving a White Kia proved suspicious for Lewis, the security guard on duty. Lewis wasnt going to make it easy for me–I could however, park complimentary for 10 minutes in the parking garage. The packages were stacked in order of weight. Heaviest on bottom, lightest on top. This meant that the Small, Heavy, and Clearly Breakable was placed in the middle. I did the math while walking my tight rope to Lewis–a bullet point I mentally noted to add to my résumé–and calculated I had just enough cash to pay for $2 worth of overage time. I became eerily aware of each complementary tic passing by. Was I too much of a terrorist look-alike for Lewis to open the door for me? As I stumbling down the up-ramp, dodging angry drivers–apologizing only to the ones who weren’t deaf, as the ones who were couldn’t read my hidden mouth’s apology– while carrying boxes that were level with my face at the point where my nose began making its decent, Lewis ran to open the door for me–his shame becoming more pronounced with the disappearance of his shoulders–”Thanks Lew (new pet name), can you direct me to the FedEx drop off?”
“Sure, just walk through the lobby to the other end of the building, more or less a city block and a half and then take the service elevator–which is both sketch and hot as hell–down to the loading dock. Try to not get raped on your descent, and you can then drop off your many packages in our kindly provided, yet excessively small FedEx drop box.”
I was sweating before I spotted the service elevator. Damn you global warming, and all your lies. As I impatiently waited for the Service Elevator I was reminded of the reasons I failed as a waitress. 1. Social Anxiety–you can’t succeed as a waitress when you stop midway through delivery, smile, and meekly tell your table “I cant do this”– more as if you were on stage at Carnegie, instead of retelling daily specials to a table of two–one being too young to understand English. 2. Mobility–we couldn’t afford Montessori, even though God bless you Maria, you started in the slums, your legacy didn’t stay there. I am, and always will be a clutz. 3. Facial Expression Tone Down–always being told to smile, smile, smile, never took away from my Permascowl–my customers, even the ones who didn’t understand English, saw through my acts of happiness. The culmination of these failures propelled a tunnelled light from heaven, which zeroed in solely on me and whispered–as only a tunnel of light could–that my deliver would be a success.
The FedEx drop box smiled when I saw him, and I proudly returned his greeting. The first box went in with only a small struggle. The next one was easier. It was Box #4 that really pushed me to madness. Since I was already perspiring, the fight with the Box #4 forced the perspiration from my pores and down my face. Each drop slid my makeup from its strategic placement to the crevice of my neck. I would be admitting defeat if I pulled my hair back, so I left my hair down to clump around the nape of neck in tiny pools of victory sweat.
Box #4 was journeyed down the shoot of death even if I had to break it. With each push, pull, and four letter word, the sweat married the back of my neck to my hair in the most intimate of ceremonies. Box #4 was insubordinate–chosing decapitation before siding with my effort to win my bosses approval. Each push and pull used more of my complementary time, pushing me into my $2 lunch money territory. Finally, Box #4 chose delivery over death and I pushed it into temporary housing.
With Box #5 left, I ran to the service elevator, drenched in last nights booze. A ‘hired for the wrong reasons’ Office Assistant was vocal about “Eddie at the front desk”, who would be more than happy to help me, he’s very accommodating, he’ll understand.
Box #5 stood on Eddie’s counter submissive, but polite. I told Eddie of my spat with the FedEx drop-off center. It had won, could Eddie hold the package until FedEx delivery man came to pick it up? I realize I now resemble a sauna-lifting my arms in a ‘Y’ to show Eddie I was not a liar–but a few moments ago I wasn’t pruned, but ready to look important at my desk job. Evidently, I remained a terrorist even without my White Kia because Eddie wasnt accommodating or understanding. Was there another FedEx drop off nearby? Eddie remained clueless so lack of options sent me to building number 2. I entered with the determination of a terrorist, but my façade was invisible here. With the look that told me my grenade was useless here, Security directed me toward the elevator for the drop-off. My elevator mantra was, ‘please be bigger than your counterpart across the street, please be bigger than your counterpart across the street.’
FedEx drop off #2 was equally small and cunning. Unlike its cousin, it did, however, play nice–accepting Box #5 into temporary housing easily, leaving me so victorious that I really didn’t care if my hair was matted to my skull, or my pits were permastained. I had delivered five packages to the FedEx drop off in one morning–before the boss had opened her eyes.
I knew I would have to give up my $2, and I had made peace with its departure.
A silent Rosary prayer my Service Elevator Accent left me happy to give on a day when the universe had given me so much already. For the first time, I backed up the White Kia with pride. I put my crinkled dollar into Automated Teller, hoping that this she was more mature than the Automates I knew growing up, maybe she would accept any bill without judgment. My hoping proved fruitful, living in a recession left her without the luxury of choosiness. My four quarters slid into her cubbies–held like gnats that could flee between my thumb and pointer finger–I couldn’t risk an escapee. Sadly, automated teller wasnt having my quarters today. She also refused any dimes and nickels, which I found floating around the White Kia.
I resorted to pennies, but she rejected these too. I was under the impression that by killing her with kindness, her stupid, limp arm would lift so I fed more and more coins into Automated so she would free me and let me go to work. She had nixed recognition of coins, silver or copper, she only recognized print now. I looked around for Lew, the nice security man, who assured me that my first ten minutes were free. I found Homeless Man instead. It’s freezing, Homeless Man is trying his best to help me with Automated–but can do nothing to appease her. Each pressed button receives an Insert Coin reply. An Insert Coin reply that neither of us can respond to because he’s homeless and I’m sweating. Then, Santa comes to town and Homeless Man pulls out a dollar bill from his shirt. A dollar bill that I will never be able to repay, a dollar bill I couldn’t say ‘no’ to, and one that I will be thankful for daily until I die. Was I really accepting a dollar bill from a Homeless Man? Yes. Would I repay him? I will repay every Homeless Man I see, with the hopes that my dollar will one day make it back to the Homeless Man, who made my day, the one who let me continue my legacy of waitress failure, and most importantly, the one who let me kick Box #4 and #5 in the ass, and prove to my boss that yes, I could deliver FedEx packages.