One week ago I tore into my first box of books, and immediately began delivering them by bike to individual readers across the city and countryside. This here was one of my last deliveries that evening, after seven hours of haphazardly criss-crossing the area. I reached home just before it became too dark. Close call!
In the picture above you can see Lake Superior in the distance, with many hills in between. I live down by the water. The expenditure of energy was exhausting, but thoroughly uplifting. In many cases I had the opportunity to visit with readers for a good half hour. Writing, as you can imagine, is solitary business. These one-on-one conversations are engaging and satisfying. The personal touch has generally compelled these readers to dive right into the book that very day, rather than tossing it uselessly onto a pile (WHICH WOULD BREAK MY HEART). Many have said they’ve stayed up all night to finish it, or have been otherwise useless in accomplishing anything but plowing through the story. Man that’s encouraging. It’s worth spending seven hours delivering 10 books, as I did that afternoon and evening.
The other striking feature has been the sheer diversity of people I’m coming into contact with. The man in the photo above manages large hotels, and wears a nice suit to work. The one below manages thousands of chickens, and wears knee-high rubber boots. This couple owns the Locally Laid Egg Company, and are endlessly fascinating to talk to. I guzzled a tall glass of water and greedily devoured an orange they offered me. The best treat, however, was delighting in the simple companionship of a couple I’ve grown to admire from afar over the years they’ve built their business.
I found it ironic that Jason had brought home a chicken to eat from the store, one of those rotisseries you find for $6.99. Apparently they really love chickens and never tire of them! Begrudgingly, I left in a hurry while noticing it was getting late and needed to make two more deliveries outside of town.
I returned home, at dark, to these dishes!
Oh my goodness was I exhausted! But it was worth it. The opportunity to work hard hustling the book like this was the climax of a process that has lasted years.
Part of the exhaustion was due to poor planning. It turns out that UPS and FED EX really must know what they’re doing when they map out their routes. Customers # 1 and 3 below are neighbors, literally next door to each other. I rushed out a copy to number 1 so she could take it with her on vacation, and backtracked several miles before delivering to number 3. Perhaps a GPS unit would help me to understand proximity better?
It turned out perfectly, however. Matt, #3 below, was apparently even more starved for conversation than I was when I finally arrived. I appeared to arrive at the right time, and enjoyed listening to several rants and enjoyed seeing his maple syrup sugaring station he was attending to.
Man, was he ever animated. Normally he’s a well-dressed guy with a fancypants corporate job where he needs to not look like a hillbilly. I sure enjoyed seeing the contrast, and made great hay out of it. When we finally got to the financial transaction part of the visit it turned out that he’d be a dollar short. At my suggestion, we enjoyed a beer together in lieu of the dollar. Then, he sent me on my way with a quart of his homemade lacto-fermented sauerkraut. I’m pretty sure I came out ahead on the deal!
Every last one of the folks pictured above are people I am acquainted with, but for one reason or another have not spent as much time with as I’d like. Perhaps these short visits will create friendships and bonds that stand the test of time. This is yet another benefit to my delivery approach. I find that virtually any decision between a slower option and efficiency is an easy one to make. Efficiency comes with very few fringe benefits.
Of course, assuming you are in Dallas or Walla Walla, Washington, a quick download of my book for kindle that you’ll receive in less than a minute may help chart the course to a more joyful weekend. $5.99 is all it’ll cost you, and I guarantee you won’t be the same afterward. Otherwise the paperback is on sale at Amazon now for 17% off, and you will also find the audiobook to be entertaining. Listen to an audio sample from chapter 3 after clicking the link to the right of this page.
Below is a picture of my main delivery bike, a Trek 1200 that I’ve had for 25 years. It’s the very same bike referenced in chapter 12. While climbing a beast of a hill, the clip broke on one of the pedals. It was the first thing to break on it after a quarter century of use.