I got this job exactly a month ago today. It’s since grown on me, and it’s one of my favourite things to do. It gets me out of the house, gets me moving, and to explore new parts of my city. I go to places I’d never go otherwise, either because they’d be out of reach (think, staircases) or because there’d be no reason whatsoever for me to go there (think, a dodgy street on the other side of the river…). I get to talk to people, smile to people, laugh with people, and have met new people – my colleagues.
It’s another tick on my random-jobs achievement list, but actually I am fulfilling dreams here. ‘I always wanted to be a pizza delivery person,’ I used to say, and now I can say I’ve been a pizza delivery person. I’ve delivered pizzas! Perhaps I don’t drive a car or wear a red T-shirt with a pizza on it, but I’ve made people smile by bringing them their flat, square cardboard boxes filled with cheesy, doughy goodness.
But hey, who said your future would be exactly as you pictured it.
Now, I’ve never expected to be exactly like Freddy the Pizza Dude (though you can probably be a Pizza Dude if you’re really convinced you are a Pizza Dude). I’d say my job is even better – I deliver lots of pancakes, chips, soup, even McFlurries. Although I have to say that McDonald’s deliveries are by far my least favourite.
What’s wrong with McDonald’s deliveries?
- Don’t order COFFEE to be delivered to you from McDonald’s. Get a kettle. And some instant coffee. And some milk. Honestly, it’s not that difficult. Your coffee would spill in my backpack anyway, as it would in any other person’s backpack when they’re riding over cobblestones, curbs, and potholes in the road. Don’t be that kind of lazy.
- Actually, don’t order any McDonald’s to be delivered to you… unless your life depends on it. If you’re already going into the effort of spending 30+ PLN on food delivery, you could at least support one of your local businesses that are struggling to survive this whole pandemic thing. I bet we all know at least a few independent restaurants that didn’t make it through – so just pick a different place. What comes around goes around, you’ll score yourself some karma points and most likely get something way more nutritious into your belly. And you’ll make someone happy – the big guy who runs McDonald’s won’t even notice your lil’ Chickenburger, McFlurry and Diet Coke order.
I don’t mind going into the actual McDonald’s. The staff are always nice. But honestly… McDonald’s is meant to be a quick bite, when there’s nothing else available. When you’re sitting at home, you’ve got all the options. Choose them wisely.
Another reason why I’m not Freddy the Pizza Dude is that he’s dressed for the summer. I’m always dressed for the winter. But already on the second day my biggest expectation about this job – that I would be cold all the time – turned out to be false.
Okay, there are days when my hands are freezing, my ears are aching, and my toes are numb – perhaps as much as half my work days, or more. But most of the time I’m hot and sweaty. During rush hours (i.e. most evenings in the week) I’m always moving, and then all I want is water and to pull my coat off. I always wear the same stuff, trackies, a T-shirt, a thermal long-sleeve underneath and a winter jacket on top. And that jacket is doing really well – I’m never cold. We get good quality equipment, I can tell you that. You get used to its extremely bright colour and your humongous backpack…
The strategic parts of the human body you have to attend to when dressing for winter cycling are:
- Ears! And the rest of the head. Make sure your winter hat won’t fall off, and wind won’t get through its fibres – loose-knit hats won’t keep you very warm, especially when you’re moving fast. Tight beanies are the best. You might want to give your ears extra cover, e.g. by wearing ear muffs, or a bandana.
- Toes. Your shoes might let cold air in when you’re moving fast, even if they are winter boots. My hack is to wear one (only one) pair of socks with extra padding, and put little plastic sandwich bags over the front part of my feet. It keeps the cold air and wind away, and I can cycle for hours even in sub-zero temperatures.
- Fingers. This one’s an obvious one. Fingers get cold. The best thing to do is invest in a pair of really windproof gloves – but make sure that they don’t restrict your hand movements, e.g. when pulling brakes or switching gears.
- Boobs. I don’t wear a bra when I’m out walking, but you’ll really want to wear one when you’re cycling. You don’t want cold wind getting under your shirt (especially once your torso gets sweaty). Wear a bra!
- Ankles. Having your ankles exposed while cycling in winter is very unpleasant. Wear longer socks and make sure there’s no bare skin between your cuffs and socks. You can tuck your trousers into your socks, if you want. Ankles are sensitive!
- And to finish off the list, neck. Don’t get ill easily. A neck/throat exposed to hours of cold wind will probably not be able to speak much once you’re done, or the day after your ride.
And there! Thanks to me you can now safely embark on your cold winter bike ride.
I didn’t quite mean this post to be about ear muffs or tucking trousers into socks, but I guess I feel the moral responsibility to decrease suffering in my fellow human beings. The next post will include geography-related observations about my job, specifically about how I began to perceive my city and how it changed my way of thinking about space.