I am pretty sure my local newspaper delivery person has it in for me.
Ditto the local garbage collectors, who typically show up pre-dawn, well before any local noise ordinance allows.
I know this, because vendors don’t mess with my BFF who lives a short, five-minute drive from me in the same town. She therefore has the same garbage men - or at least garbage pick-up service - and she has the same delivery service for her newspaper. Maybe not the very same newspaper delivery person, but certainly both carriers work for the San Jose Mercury News, which is owned by the MediaNews Group.
Despite having this in common, BFF does not get her daily newspaper soaking wet because her delivery guy didn’t bother to sheath it plastic wrap on rainy days. She also doesn't get woken up at the crack of dawn by noisy garbage men either.
I am officially convinced that these people hate me.
Perhaps I should reconsider my annual tip philosophy, wherein I start with the premise that nobody tips me for doing my job, even though I like to think I do it really well. I may be eligible for a bonus - in good years, economically speaking - but, generally speaking, the economy being what it is, my paycheck is it.
If people go above and beyond, then I tip. I am always generous with restaurant servers because I worked my way - three jobs at a time - through college, so I know that servers literally make rent off of tips. I also generously tip my hairdresser because she actually lets me come to her house for the odd appointment, in the evening, when my schedule is jammed. She always goes above and beyond.
The local garbage collectors, on the other hand, scatter trash all over the street, and always, it seems, when it is perfectly according to spec, presented for pick-up, not overflowing or in the wrong bins. Like I said, they favor showing up well before 5 a.m., far earlier than they are legally allowed to come rumbling down my otherwise peaceful street at 90 decibels waking up the entire neighborhood.
This causes irate neighbors to spring into action by calling the happy folks down at City Hall, who then proceed to do absolutely nothing about these repeat noise violations. Trust me, garbage trucks are really noisy. Thus, the garbage folks appear to be doing the absolute minimum, and all at their convenience, not mine.
For these reasons, I don’t think they deserve a tip come the holidays, especially after that last used kitty litter fiasco. Same goes for the newspaper guy, who must be hoarding the plastic sleeves that he is supposed to place my paper in, come wet or damp weather. Is he braiding all that plastic into a decorative art piece, or what? Perhaps he just knows that I am not one to spend my time calling up the newspaper hotline to demand another paper since all they are going to do is credit me a day, and this when I have no clue when the next bill is exactly due ─ only that I pay it quarterly. And yes, I persist in leaving the field on the invoice for a "tip" conspicuously blank.
When I get a winter’s worth of dry newspapers, I will seriously consider giving this guy a tip. Meanwhile, I’m going to wait him out, and start using earplugs every Monday night, because the garbage men come before dawn, every Tuesday morning. And after they wake me up, I get to listen to the melodic, dulcet tones of angry neighbors stomping out of their homes, yelling in the pre-dawn hours.
This morning was garbage day, but with a twist. After 7 a.m., I awoke knowing instantly that something in my reality was amiss. Why had I not been awoken pre-dawn, like on every other garbage day? My supergirl heroine senses were 'a-tingling. Something was definitely wrong with my world, but I decided that garbage day got switched and I missed the memo. Like the universe expanding and string theory, there was simply no other logical explanation.
What I did hear was Baby Claudia, in a foul baby mood, stomping about downstairs. Oh boy, was her mom ever in for one of those days. I tippy-toed downstairs, got my coffee, fed the cats and got ready for work. In a hurry. I then slipped out the garage door, knowing, as I said, my daughter was in for one heck of a day. Once in a blue moon the baby wakes up in the worst possible mood and we call these her "Claudzilla" days.
On such days, I am secretly thankful I have a job and career to run away to because, although I love this child with all my heart and soul, her occasional foul baby moods can be seriously daunting. My daughter was an irrepressibly cheerful child; she never had mood swings or even the occasional bad day like temperamental Claudia does. Well, at least not until she hit puberty. To be fair, my daughter also never had the terrible teething issues poor Baby Claudia suffers from, so I suspect the bad moods and teething issues go hand-in-hand. Still, just to be sure, I keep promising the baby I am going to get her into pee-wee powder puff baby hockey as soon as her tiny feet can fit into ice skates. This is one kid who will have no problems dropping the baby gloves.
Meanwhile, I fairly flew out of the house, feeling a tad bit guilty. I decided I would make dinner tonight, to make up for my cowardice. That’s when the garbage men came roaring down the street. Really? I decided to view their timing with a jaundiced eye. They were messing with me. Still, it was nice to have them show up at a civilized hour. For once.
Feeling optimistic, I picked up my newspaper. It was absolutely soaking wet. Again. It was in that moment I realized that my day was going to be as normal as it gets. I had not, as theoretical physics might hope, fallen into another dimension or universe.
Nope, everything was exactly as it should be. As a cancer survivor, I realized how much I thrive on normalcy. How much I need the expected, the mundane, the usual, right down to my sopping wet newspaper.
So much so, that I might consider tipping come this holiday season after all.