Whatever it takes…

I fly back to the states to finish PCT prep with the hopes of earning a little extra cash before the trip. Every bit I make equals more pizza at trail stops.

I’m applying for almost any job. 2 weeks and no luck. Avidly searching craigslist every day. I’ve picked up an occasional babysitting job, I’m filling in for family members on the odd job when they’re elsewhere, little bits and pieces. Here and there and everywhere. Might just be enough to survive on til the trip starts.

I stumble on an ad for phone book delivering. Phone books? Well, I happen to have a car at the moment. I can run around delivering books. Sounds like great PCT training.

Why not?

I get a phone call back almost immediately (the first reply I’ve got to a job inquiry). There’s a training that day. I get an address to a motel. Arrive to discover I’m supposed to go to an actual room, not a conference room or meeting space. I begin to wonder if I’ll make it home for dinner- I did tell my aunt where I was going to- right?

The door is cracked open- scary music is playing in my head.  I tentatively push the door,  and am greeted by a smiling woman who has a circle of people crammed into the room all avidly listening to her explain which side of the door you leave the book on.

First day of the phonebook madness... no idea what I was getting into.

Next thing I know the little blue car is stuffed with about 600 phonebooks. I’ve got a delivery route- that starts on the street I live on.  Couple days of delivering, should be an easy way to make some extra cash. $.28 per stop, $.10 per phone book delivered. I’m game.

And then it rains.

So I sleep in hoping the rain will stop. It doesn’t. I still have to bag each phone book. So I start my operation in the garage. Cold work. Wish they paid to bag the phonebooks.

The rain has temporarily stopped- and I begin to deliver books. An easy sounding job becomes miserable very quickly. Finding all the houses is more complicated than it would at first appear. I also have to figure out which side of the house is the front ( a lot of them face two streets). The houses are often far apart on a given street. The cold and rain are not helping me.

I go home to regroup. And discover I’ve only delivered about 115 books- in 4 hours. No way I’ll finish the route before going to Seattle to dance for the weekend.

Think fast.

I have cousins.

One needs extra driving time so she can get her license, the other is usually game for earning a bit of cash. I get my youngest cousin to help me for the hour before dinner. She runs, I drive. There go 40 more books- and she gets five bucks.

The next morning I get the other one to drive while I run. Raining again. I’m soaked in no time, but I think the books are flying out of the car faster. (note to self: fast phonebook delivery requires a team).

Still swamped with phonebooks.

I bail to Seattle for the weekend.  But first- what do I do w/ the rest of them?

I warn my aunt not to come up to the studio while I’m gone. The way is shut.

This was taken halfway thru the excavation. The pile in the back extended all the way down the stairs.

One week after I get my phone book route, I finally drop off the last one. (Well, the last one I was willing to drop off). I ended up with 20 extra books and one lost street (by the name of Lost Creek Ln). Even my little blue car’s navi system couldn’t find it.

Slowly- through rain, snow, and a couple of dogs- the stairwell and the little blue car got emptier and emptier, even though it often felt that for each phonebook I delivered, the pile in the car would grow by 3.

On the upside, I got to try out my new pair of Asics. They ended up killing my right foot, so I exchanged them for a pair of Cascadias and had time to try those out too. (Still happy with them).

When I turned in my finished route and the extra phonebooks I was asked if I wanted another route? It took a whole lot of willpower to turn that offer down. (Although the phonebook boss swore your second route goes a lot quicker).

Next week I’ve got some gardening and yardwork lined up. Playing in the dirt is my kind of work.  Much simpler than trying to place a book on the hinge side while not slipping on an icy porch.


About Natalie

Natalie Fisher is a dancer, teacher, silk aerialist, and choreographer. She is inspired by the wilderness. Her work involves finding the seam where her worlds of dance, aerials and the wilderness meet.

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