One of my fellow drivers is an old man. His name is not Peanuts, but that is how I will refer to him.
Peanuts wears his hair tight, salty and old school. He walks slowly and won't do any heavy work. For the last couple of years, the company has kept Peanuts around to do weekly routes in the suburbs that don't pay much. But Peanuts doesn't need to make much.
Sometimes Peanuts gets lost. This leads to angry clients calling my boss. My boss is not named Wroth, but that is how I will refer to him. When deliveries are late, clients feel entitled to talk to Wroth like he is an idiot. This upsets Wroth, who then feels entitled to talk to Peanuts like he is an idiot. It is lovely and similar to the Reaganomics' trickle-down effect.
Yesterday, Peanuts got lost during a round trip pick up and delivery between Western Springs and Tinley Park. He had been driving around for two hours looking for the pick up. Peanuts had been there before and often, usually once a week. But dementia isn't concerned with facts.
Wroth had me go down to Tinley Park to do the second half of Peanut's work. I don't mind getting the hell out of town for work. Even if it doesn't pay that well, I enjoy the illusion of a two hour vacation from the angry, sludgy city.
From Tinley Park I decided to take a different way up to Western Springs. I got lost in the woods and snow-covered sloughs, and I liked it. It reminded me of rural Iowa where my grandfather built a home and went crazy. His name was not Clunker, but that's how everyone referred to him.
Eventually I dropped off the package and headed back to the office, where I tried to prepare for the class I was to teach that night. But I couldn't concentrate.
Wroth was on the phone screaming at Peanuts.
"PEANUTS!! YOU NEED TO FUCKIN' TELL ME WHERE YOU FUCKIN' ARE!!"
Apparently, Peanuts was still lost. Wroth was losing his mind.
"FIND A FUCKIN' GAS STATION AND GIVE THE FUCKIN' PHONE TO SOMEONE WHO CAN FUCKIN' TELL ME WHERE THE FUCK YOU ARE!!"
The conservation ended abruptly, with Wroth turning to me.
The phone kept ringing.
"I'M TRYING TO FUCKIN' HELP YOU!"
"83 ENDS AT OGDEN*, YOU IDIOT!!!"
"TELL ME WHERE YOU FUCKIN' ARE SO I CAN FUCKIN' HELP YOU!!"
It went on and on.
Peanuts drove around yesterday for five hours, but never picked up the documents.
"YOU'VE BEEN DRIVING AROUND FOR FIVE FUCKIN' HOURS!! WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU, PEANUTS?!!?"
I pictured Clunker trying to do Peanuts' job. Driving through the snowy, faceless suburbs in confused somnambulism. Something tells me Clunker would have eventually found the office and punched Wroth in the face.
Unless I do something rash like that, I will soon be one of two drivers at this miserable, dead end job in a dying profession under a hot-headed boss.
*83 does not end at Ogden