Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Where is the paper? I used to do that!

 I have had many jobs in my lifetime, none of them glamourous. One of the most thankless is delivering newspapers. Once the ideal way of making money as a kid growing up, it has been the job of many an adult for along time.

It is a lonely job. You arrive very late at night in a cold and enter a dimly lit warehouse where other people are gathered waiting for the truck to arrive with the latest papers literally hot off the press. You stake out a work space, a plywood bench that has a nail on it. The nail is used to hold a package of plastic sleeves, As you roll the papers up, you grab the edge and shove it in. The plastic protects the paper from the elements, rain and sprinkler heads that can ruin the paper. If it is raining out, it is advised to double bag to keep things dry.

You must work quickly, too long inside means a longer delivery time on the road. The route you drive has been all mapped out, house location, special notes and so on. Everything looks different at night time.

The quietness of the road, the thunk thunk of the papers hitting the driveway, the headlights piercing the darkness, makes one wonder why do it at all.  Some have done it for years, some to save some money for something special. But the costs of driving are many. Tires, brakes, gas, it all adds up.

But you are tired, all the time. If it is a second job, many times you leave for your regular job soon after you are done.  The hours are strange, your sleep is always broken. The only way to make money is to deliver many papers, you are paid by the piece, slightly higher on Sunday. Tired, tired tired.

The weather can be your friend or your worst enemy. On a beautiful night it makes it bearable, on a cold or rainy night it is a brutal foe. I thought of that this morning as I went out for the paper. It brought back memories, not happy ones.

It is a job that is going away. But this is a quick post to shed a light on one of the jobs no one knows or thinks about in the early morning.

Thunk, thunk, thunk.
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