My knees had actually been holding up pretty well for most of the week, considering. But then there was THE run. A pick up at _____, heading back up to HQ. No indication of just who wanted it at HQ, so I texted dispatch, and was told to bring it in to Jay. No problem. Turns out later I found out he had no clue either, but was willing to sign for it and figure it out later.
The pick was someplace I'd been before, usually having easy on-street parking near the side of the front entrance. Not this day, though. This time I had to hit the handicap parking spots. That usually means an easier walk, but these spots are well away from the office entrance and down the block by the store entrance. It's a pretty new building, built to impress. That means once you finally get down all that walkway, past all the landscaping, and to the front door, there's a very long atrium to reach the information desk, pretty much at the back of the building. So not just a long hike from car to door, another from door to desk. Yeah, I was impressed, all right. Not favorably. All that wasted space with no purpose, all that space to heat, all that space to walk through before you can speak to your first helpful person.
Assuming you can find one.
There were three people behind the front desk. One was being helpful on the phone. The other two were chatting away as I stood there. And stood there. Finally the man gave a start and said, "Oh, you want something."
I explained my purpose, and he left to find my package. It'd said 1 piece, 1 pound, the default settings in those categories, and usually meaning, from a company like this, an envelope of some kind of paperwork. I strongly doubted their business provided a service or equipment for ours.
My package wasn't where he thought it should be. He needed to make a phone call. I gave him the contact name I had on the order, and first thing he did was tell me she wasn't there anymore, that Mary Jo was handling "it" now. I didn't ask what "it" was. I don't need to know. Mostly I'm not even curious anymore.
After being told "it" was on its way down, I looked for a seat while waiting. There was a grouping of overstuffed, poorly designed but pretty chairs if I wanted to walk another 40 feet back into the building. There was also something of a flat railing I could lean on close to the desk. I chose that. It was plenty sturdy and I had visions of dozens of people cooling their heels in that same spot. I didn't have long before a young man struggled to bring a large box out to the lobby.
Oh crap, this wasn't mine?
After setting it down next to me and removing a few large envelopes from the top destined for UPS, he indicated that the box was indeed mine to haul away. With the UPS envelopes gone there was room for me to fold the flaps down. This meant not just that the freight inside was more secure, but I could now balance the box on one hip, taking some of the weight off my arms. Better for the back than his way of carrying it, but still tough on the knees. Now, not only did I have myself to haul all that long way back to the car, I had an extra 30 pounds which, no matter how I carried it, had its weight spread out over my knees.
I could have brought the two-wheeler in with me had somebody been honest about the package. I could also have hiked all the way back to my car, gotten it out, come all the way back in with it, and wheeled the box all the way back out to my car.
Not bloody likely.
The pick wasn't far enough from HQ for my knees to do more than to begin to recover from the abuse. Once at HQ, I had the privilege of hauling it up a few steps into the dispatch room and across to the far wall to the dispatcher who would be receiving it. Of course to do that I breeze right past the sign on the door directing drivers to use the dock entrance - about 100 feet down, over twice the stairs, and 100 feet back again.
I don't think so.
By the time I was standing behind the dispatcher with the box balanced on my hip, I'd had just enough of this run, thank you very much. I'd never do this in front of a customer, but knowing there was nothing fragile in the box, just lots of indestructible envelopes filled with paper, I moved it marginally off my hip and let it drop.
No really: THUNK!
Another dispatcher turned around at the noise, looked at the box on the floor, and asked, "What's that?"
"One piece, one pound."