“Everyone I see come out of that office on a Friday usually leaves here,” Michael Day proclaimed as I exited Steve’s office, holding my head high.
Day is a veteran at Lasership. He has worked as a New York City messenger for most of his post-recovery life. I learned much about him one afternoon last summer while delivering my paychecks down in the Lower East Side. He pushed his cart through Grammercy Park and I walked by his side with a well-worn newspaper boy bag strapped over my shoulder, with just a few paychecks remaining inside.
Other couriers pretended to be sorting through piles of boxes and stacks of paychecks when I walked out of Steve’s office. Day was the only man brave enough to cut right through the office drama to find out whether or not I had been canned.
“Well it looks like I’ll be taking much of the 2-X route from you, Mike. Steve just ordered that I take over that route, and I know that you often do this work.”
“That’s fine with me,” Day said, although I know the very reason why it was the 2-X route had been assigned to me. I did it during the snow storm and got every one of the snow-drenched boxes of books delivered. I don’t just leave post-it notes on people’s doors informing them that their shipment of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Backslidden” had an attempted delivery that day. I actually wait until a neighbor is entering the building and sneak in with them, pulling my handcart right onto the elevator and dropping the novels right in front of our customer’s doors. I have yet to leave little business cards advertising my own self-published novel.
I was in no mood to share in warehouse office gossip, even if it was Mike Day fishing for dirt first thing in the morning. I told him to continue to do as many of the boxes as he wanted and to look at me as his back-up, even though if Steve had heard me, he would have used the opportunity to reduce Mike to the point of early retirement.
I quickly left the warehouse with my newsbag filled with more checks. Day followed and tapped me on my shoulder just as I was carefully avoiding a patch of snow that some doorman along 29th Street had neglected to put salt on.
“Where are your boxes?” I asked.
“I’m on my way to my doctor. Don’t worry, I’ll be back before ten and will take all the 2 X’s.”
“Oh, don’t worry, I’m not worried. I don’t know how you can put up with such shit, Mike. How can you work for such bastards for so long without hurting someone?”
“That’s because I know what it feels like to be homeless,” Mike shared. I didn’t say a word. I just kept walking with my checks.
“Yes, I was sleeping on the street with my dog before she died. I told that dog I’d never leave her, and I didn’t. But this nun ran into me one day and told me she could have my dog kept in a fancy grooming place until I pulled myself together. I was fortunate to have a brother who allowed me to live with he and his wife. I saved up my money and got my own place.”
“Oh, please tell me you got to live with the dog in your new place before it died.”
“Oh, yes I did,” Day shared. I noticed a little tear forming at the corner of his well-wrinkled eye.
“Hey look, I gotta go this way,” Mike informed while turning left on Seventh Avenue.
I immediately felt better about my morning and walked into the rays of a rising sun.