Last night as I walked up my block towards home, I was greeted by the sight of not one, not two, but three UPS trucks stopped at various points on the street. This was quite a shock at first, because I had never seen a UPS truck on my block with my own eyes; once I stayed home all day waiting for a package, going so far as to pee with the bathroom door open so I would hear the bell, and lo and behold the next morning there was a “Sorry, We Missed You!” slip on my door, as if left by a sneaky and malevolent Tooth Fairy with no regard for my personal time.
I wouldn’t go so far out of my way if there was a way for me to get to my assigned UPS location without a sherpa. Unfortunately for me and the other residents of Brooklyn – which, by the way, is hardly a podunk town – the nearest UPS storage facility is waaaaaay out in Queens, so far out that the subway doesn’t go there. And, as all New Yorkers know, if the subway doesn’t go there, don’t even bother trying to hail a cab. The cabbie will laugh at you, and then will charge you $2.50 for your humiliation.
As it is, I am forced to order only from companies who use FedEx or the US Postal Service. If, God forbid, I find myself with no choice (as I do whenever I order shoes from Zappos, and no I can’t order them from anywhere else, Zappos has the best selection and the best prices, and yes I could go to the store and buy shoes in person so that I could test them out but shut up.), I have to constantly check the UPS tracking website and, as soon as they post an estimated delivery time, sprint home. Of course, the estimated delivery time can be off by hours, even days. And no matter how sympathetic your boss is, no one gets time off in the name of shoes.
Back to last night. Seeing three UPS trucks in a row, my first instinct was to raid someone’s bottle recycling bin and start slashing tires. Luckily – for them – I was holding a bottle of wine in one hand and a pizza in the other, so I was both calmed by the culinary goodness awaiting me and unwilling to sacrifice either purchase in the name of postal justice. I wouldn’t allow myself to fixate on the fact that I’ve never once seen “7:53 pm” as my estimated delivery time. I happily ignored the peaceful way that one UPS driver appeared to be sleeping in the front seat of his truck. You see, I love this city. There are a lot of things that we do better than anyone else (pizza, skyscrapers, “Hava Nagila” on the steel drum), so I guess it stands to reason that we get the shit end of the stick sometimes. UPS, U-Haul, I believe these businesses can offer a pleasant experience and good service in some parts of the country, particularly in parts where people regularly make eye contact on the street and where no one has ever called another person a “punk-ass motherf***er” on public transit in full view of small children. New York is … how you say? … colorful. You can get marijuana delivered any time, right to your door, much more reliably than you can expect to get your insulin refills from the ghost town pharmacy at Duane Reade.
That’s a really good idea for a New York Times headline, actually: “City’s Weed Dealers More Responsible Than UPS Drivers, and More Friendly Than Government Postal Workers”.
The truth hurts sometimes.