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Pills, Pants and Pizza (Deliveries 5/27)

I turned right onto an East Omaha street. Kids were out playing. Parents yelled at them from their porches. My destination was on the right. I pulled over and parked. It was a weird order: a single pan pizza and a two liter of orange diabeetus juice.

I hopped out of the car and made my way to the door. The customer was there to greet me.
“How are you, ma’am?” I asked.

“Oh, not so good,” she said. Her speech was slurred and she seemed tired.

“Not so good?”

“Yeah. When you’re on 18 different medications, you’re not so good,” she said.
I handed her the clipboard.

“18 different medications? Yeah, I can see why that would take it out of you,” I said. Her hands had a slight tremble as she signed. “Yep, I’ve got hypertension, relaxed tension, triglycerides, diabetes, triabetes, quadribetes, LDL sadness, slipped discs-“

She kept signing and kept listing. I readied the two-liter. I saw a diabetic bracelet around her wrist.
I took the clipboard back and handed her the pizza with the receipt. Then I lifted the bag. Here you go, ma’am, I thought. Wash down your pills with some triglycerides and all-American pancreas-killing liquid.

She took the bag with the two liter. Her eyebrows furrowed. She tried to glance at the receipt. It was folded at an awkward angle in her grip.

“I thought I ordered two bottles?” she said.

I reached up and gently retrieved the receipt.

“Sure enough, ma’am. I’ll be right back with that second bottle. Sorry for the inconvenience,” I said. She said it was alright. She was just as friendly when I doubled her level of soda ownership fifteen minutes later.

The very next delivery was downtown. Downtown is interesting. In and around the Old Market are apartment complexes with call boxes and younger tenants. The instructions on the receipt were to call up from the call box.

I arrived on site and creatively parked. I hopped out, entered the lobby of this nondescript apartment building tucked between bars and dialed the extension of the customer.

The door buzzed. This was rare. I am met downstairs more often than not. I reached over and pulled on the handle. It didn’t budge.

“Oh, I’m sorry, it didn’t open,” I said at the box. I was too late. She was gone.
I dialed her number on my cell phone this time.

“Hello?”

She, too, sounded tired. No slurring. She had a valley-girl-just-woke-up-from-a-nap drawl that made me put her between 18 and 25.

“Hi there, this is RI with that one pizza restaurant. I’m sorry to bother you again, but the door didn’t unlock.”

“Oh. Can you try again?”

“Sure thing.”

I hung up and dialed the extension on the box. The door clicked and I pulled. Success! I walked down a lit hall and headed to the elevator.

I looked at the receipt. I scoured the receipt. No luck. The receipt didn’t have an apartment number. 
I dialed her on the cell again.

“Hi there, I’m stepping into the elevator now and noticed there is no apartment number?”

She gave it to me.

“Thanks again,” I said.

“No problem,” she said. “Just call if you have any more problems.”

And boy did I have problems. I indeed stepped into the elevator and mashed the 4 button. The door closed and the button went dark. I pushed it again. It lit, then went dark. I opened the elevator doors, closed them again, and pushed 4 again. No dice.

It was no big deal. I saw stairs on my way to the elevator. I walked the 15 feet or so and turned the corner. I pulled on the door marked ‘Stairs’.

It was locked.

I felt horrible. This is a service industry. She wanted her pizza upstairs and nothing was letting me get there!

I called her again. She didn’t say hello. She just chuckled.

“I’m so, so very sorry. The elevator wouldn’t take me up and the door to the stairs is locked,” I explained.

“I’ll just come down there,” she said.

So I waited. And waited. And waited. Then the door for the stairs clicked! I reached over and tried to open. It was locked. I thought it had unlocked, but it had just clicked against the frame. It was the pull of a pressure differential. She must be taking the stairs.

I heard stomping make it’s way at a slow pace. It got closer. I heard the jingle of keys, then the door opened.

“Hi there, you must be my customer!” I said, confirming her name.

“That’s me,” she said. She had on a yellow hoody, short shorts and shoes. But I was distracted by her hands. They were inside the front pocket of the hoody and seemed strained.

I handed her the clipboard. She took out one hand from her hoody pocket and accepted it. That gesture revealed to me why she looked so strange.

She was holding her pants up.

But they weren’t pants. I said short shorts, but they weren’t that either. They almost seemed like hip-cut beach pants that were too large. They seemed frayed. While she signed, I apologized again for the inconvenience. She reached behind her and pulled up the back of the whatever-they were.

As I watched her sign, I noticed her shoes. They looked like laced up, four-inch, $200 wedges that looked uncomfortable and so out of place.

I was bewildered.

She handed me the clipboard and I handed her the pizza. And I felt worried. It seemed for a moment that this young woman in mismatched, misfit, falling-off clothes had a choice to make: pants or pizza? But she pulled it off, no pun intended. She took the pizza. We exchanged thank-yous, her for the pizza, me for the tip, and I left.

It was so bizarre. After getting in my car, my thoughts settled and a wave of gratitude swept over me.

Who knows what I would have seen if she hadn’t have needed to leave her apartment.

As always, these are just two of the many interesting interactions I have every time I deliver. The first one proved that this is ‘murica. The second one did, too. The first one made me feel fortunate that I’m not taking 18 different medications. The second one, I can’t explain. I honestly think I was protected from something totally awkward. Nothing beats getting out of debt while watching the drama of life unfold for perfect strangers.

ROE INTENSE

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