Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Once Poetic Days

Days like this used to be poetic. As I would drive home, there would be a thin layer of fog over the fields, with trees sprouting out of the top. There’d be frost on the grass, and maybe a fox or a rabbit moving about. The eastern glow would illuminate the orange and grey clouds on the horizon, with a lightening blue sky overhead. With the adrenal fatigue syndrome beginning to set in, I’d be tired from the early morning route. That Doors song would ring in my brain as I struggled to maintain consciousness

Keep your eyes on the road, and your hands upon the wheel!

I’d slip into a near hypnogogic state, and have a mystical experience, contemplating the fate of the world.

Today, it’s a different story. It’s all “Been there, done that!” Today was arguably the most screwed up, most confusing route I’d ever driven. I deliver two regional newspapers, the Rocky Mountain News, and the Denver Post. Those, and a smattering five nationals: the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, and Financial Times.

They decided to start the DPS campaign – Denver Post Special. I don’t know or care what’s “special” about those; they’re all the same to me, and apparently to the customers too. And when the customers don’t want their “special” sample papers anyway, the whole thing is one big farce. But it pays the bills.

Then, they did that with the Rockies. Then they did it two more times, one with a “weekender” schedule, and one with a TS schedule. TS? Tough Shit? Oh, uh, Tuesday through Sunday, i.e. skip Monday. So now, I’ve got at least four sample-start campaigns going on at once. One just started two days ago, and wasn’t delivered yesterday.

Normally, I would have the “Tuesday Shift” happening, when I stop delivering to the weekenders (which are Friday through Monday), and start the TS-ers. When a weekender is right next to a TS-er, the paper shifts from one house to the other on a Tuesday, hence the “Tuesday Shift”.

Complicate that with a Bonus Day. Bonus Day is when everyone gets the paper, regardless of their schedule. It’s usually just like a Sunday route, except I gotta remember who the Snowball Rockies are.

Snowball Rocky? Well, it’s like this. On Saturday, everyone gets a Rocky, and on Sunday, everyone gets a Post. Okay? And there’s a bunch of people that get the paper on Sunday Only (SOB, Sunday Only, and Bonus), so they should always be a Post, right? Once, on one of the first Bonus Days I ever had, I got to the end of my route, and was short a Post, and had an extra Rocky. Apparently, I had thrown a Post where I should have thrown a Rocky. So, I went over my route list, looking up all the Rocky addresses. Then, it hit me like a snowball square in the face: one of those SOBs gets a Rocky, on Sunday Only, when everyone gets a Post anyway!

So, today was the Tuesday Shift, and I had all those DPS and RNS sample start from four different campaigns (at least), and it was a Bonus Day too. But wait, that’s not all! It wasn’t a regular Bonus Day, it was Bonus Day for the Rocky only! I got all the Snowball Rockies figured out, and figured out which people that were SSers (Saturday and Sunday) all this time were RNS, which I suppose is another variation of the Snowball Rocky.

Now, I get to the end of my route, and I’m short a Rocky and I have two left over Posts! What’s that mean? Well, le’ssee. I must’ve thrown a Rocky where I shoulda thrown a Post, and I musta missed a Post somewhere else. It’s 5:30 AM, and the Early Risers have already been picking up their papers for the last half hour, and it could take another half hour to re-drive the route backwards, and try to simultaneously read this screwy route list. I’m suckin’ fumes, physically, mentally, and automotively. You think I want to re-drive the route trying to figure out what went wrong? HELL NO! I’ll take the complaints, and lose my bonus if I have to! And I don’t care about no poetic sunrise! I just wanna go home and have breakfast!

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