In my last post, I very briefly mentioned the truck that I have to (or as my dad would say, “get to”) drive for work. You can’t tell by the single sentence it’s mentioned in, but that truck is Satan’s chariot. Paper cuts will heal, welt marks from rubber-band wars will fade, but nothing will be able to reverse the psychological damage that truck has given me.
I know what you’re probably thinking: what is so terrifying about an itty bitty mail truck? Oh let me tell you, our mail truck is one of a kind. If mail trucks were dog breeds, it is no poodle or Labrador or Mexican hairless; our mail truck is the Clifford the Big Red Dog of the mail truck world, and my coworkers and I are Emily Elizabeth clinging helplessly to its collar as we wonder why we didn’t just get a cat. Or a goldfish.
Calli Fun Fact #53: our office actually does have a fish. His name is Freddy, and he is the most mentally-challenged, near-sighted fish I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
“Big Red”, as I will call it, isn’t one of those petite, little white mail trucks that like to idle in front of your mailbox for what seems like hours as you peek through the blinds and wonder when, exactly, it is going to go away. Big Red is a bright red entity of rusted metal and splintered wood on wheels. The first half looks like any large truck does, but the back half is as though someone taped a brick to a Hot Wheels car. After 14 years at the post office alone, and who-knows how many more years of use before that, I’m just waiting for the day that the tape loses its stick and suddenly our mail truck is a flatbed.
The inside of the truck isn’t much better. For one, the driver’s seat only has about half of it’s stuffing. There is an 8-inch hole on the left side, which means that the driver either has to shift all their weight crookedly to the right side in order to drive, or they just deal with it and mimic the Leaning Tower of Pisa instead.
The window crank to the passenger’s side has fallen off, so if you are just along for the ride you can only pray that the driver hasn’t had any chili recently (or else you are about to have a very interesting car ride).
Then there is the issue of what I can only think to call the glove compartment. This compartment isn’t where it usually is, in front of the passenger’s seat. Instead, it is located in the very center of the truck, up near the front and along the floor. To open it up, you click a button underneath the handle and pull it out. Long before I started working at the office, the compartment decided that it was independent, didn’t need no button, and that it could open up whenever it pleased. Especially whenever the truck stopped at a stoplight. For months we were constantly reaching down every two minutes to click it close again. If there was more than one of us in the truck, the passenger would have to lean his or her foot against the compartment just to keep it closed. A couple months ago, a few of my coworkers got fed up with the truck’s constant game of peek-a-boo and decided to get innovative. They found that if we connect a bungee cord from the handle of the compartment and place the other end around a little knob on the ceiling, it will stay closed. We now have a random bungee cord stretched through the middle of the truck’s cab. I’ve had several nightmares of that cord snapping and taking someone’s eye out, leaving us short one driver which means I’ll have to drive the truck even more.
Usually, I manage to get out of driving the truck, but there’s always two or three times a week that I get the privilege to take Big Red out for a spin (would not recommend doing wheelies in that truck, by the way. The thing has almost capsized just from stopping a little too quickly at an intersection).
My “favorite” time to drive the truck is when I get to do Route 3™. The university post office has five different routes and each one covers the different buildings and areas of the campus. Route 3 is the odd-duck because it covers all the buildings off of campus. The lucky recipient of Route 3 gets to drive Big Red all around town, from Cedar High School all the way out to the airport. If you drive Route 3, you get to squeeze the truck through tiny alleyways and parking lots while trying not to leave a red smear on everyone’s car. You get a free butt massage as the truck rattles down main street and sends vibrations from your feet to your nose. Go anywhere above 20 miles and hour in that truck and Big Red will serenade you with creaking metal then rock you into a nightmarish sleep as it jolts and sways in directions that break the law of physics.
The first time I did Route 3 by myself was quite the experience. For one, the handle to the driver’s side had decided to fall off. Because the new handle wouldn’t be there for another day or two, someone had taken the window crank from the passenger’s side and attached it to where the driver’s handle should be. Even then, I had to use a lot of force to open it up, which resulted in me nearly swan-diving onto the pavement multiple times.
When I finished the route I was shaken, proud, and swearing that I would never do that route ever again even if it meant I would get a 3-dollar raise. That same day, my manager sent me with one of my coworkers to pick something up in the truck. I thankfully didn’t have to drive. All was well until my coworker started to play around with the signal and we realized that the truck’s signal lights were out. I had driven all over town with no blinker at all. How I did that without leaving a trail of death and carnage behind me I will never now.
I’ve decided there’s a good reason that the mail truck is painted a blinding cherry red. Is is because one of my school’s colors is red? Good guess, but no. Red means stop. Red means warning. And if you see our mail truck rumbling down the road towards you, then you better stay as far as way as possible. I’m sure we’ll hit the brakes to try and miss you, but I can’t exactly guarantee that they’ll work.