“Quick one today mate, no problems!’
Why did I believe him!
Different truck, smaller and air conditioned, but the running sheet was again very short on detail and the day was stretched by several false starts and one misspelled street name to be twelve hours of frustration.
Parting words from me:
“Sean, if you can’t give me that addresses of the drops and pick-ups, I can’t do it. I need it all, like street number, street name, suburb and post code.”
“Post code! Waddaya doin’? Posting (expletive deleted) letters!”
“No, but the GPS doesn’t always like your spelling. A post code gets me close and I can ask someone.”
“OK, I’ll get it off the computer. Happy?”
“No, if you can, I’d also like a phone number.”
“Look, I don’t need the stress. I want to do a good job, that’s all! Like, I need all the help I can get!”
Valentines Day must be close!
Another full load of roses in the big truck and a running sheet with… Glory be! Addresses! Not all, but most.
Only five drops and four pick ups.
“A piece of piss!” I’m assured.
And it was, up until the hospital.
One huge pallet of mixed fruit and veg aboard for delightful Maleney, promising 120 kms of eye candy, winding through the Glasshouse Mountains, plus some chilled meat and cheese for two other drops, further along the beautiful knife edged range at Montville, picture perfect village behind the Sunshine Coast where the view is worth the drive anytime.
Hospital instructions were detailed. ‘Go in the main entrance. I can’t get in with the semi, so call me when you get there and I’ll meet you later to take that package. Call Suzie (number supplied) and she’ll meet you outside the lobby with the package.’
Like he said, ‘A piece of piss’.
Driving a small sedan into a hospital main entrance requires faith, but taking a huge freezer van in requires absolute stupidity. But, I was following orders and did as told.
The building is new, with grey aluminium shaded walkways beside roadways separated by Agapanthus gardens. At the end is the covered portico, too low for me to enter, but there is a gap in the garden wide enough for me to turn and just enough room for vehicles to pass on every side if needed.
A look around. Where is Suzie? I park and climb down.
Before I have time to wonder if I am at the wrong hospital (there was no mention of ‘Public’ or ‘Private’ and there they were side by side), the parking Nazi was there.
“Yer can’t park there mate!”
“Look, I’m just here to pick up a medical package. It’s being brought out.”
“No matter mate, you move now or I call the police.”
The phone was at the ready and I have always had a problem with uniforms so I complied.
“Where do I park?”
“There, in the taxi rank.” A pointing finger indicated a space about a millimetre longer than the truck.
Reverse parking is easy in an MX5. In a six pallet van with no rear vision, not so easy.
Back I came, eyes darting from mirror to mirror like I was watching Federer and Hewitt, all going well until I heard a sound like a crushing beer can.
Emergency stop and a sinking stomach.
Too high to be seen in the mirrors, I had not noticed the shade awning, all new, grey and shining aluminium overhanging the kerb by maybe ten centimetres. Its perfect line and curve were now destroyed. It really was a small ding, but in the midst of such perfection it was as noticeable as the gap left by nine-eleven.
And he was quick. By the time I checked I had not run over an old lady in a wheel chair, there was the security bloke, notebook in hand taking down info from the truck door.
“Licence!” he demanded and I complied.
“Sorry about that. Lucky I wasn’t hurt!”
He looked at me as if I’d lost it.
“Might have had to find a hospital!” smiling, to let him know it was really a joke. It was a bit lame, but considering how bloody stupid I felt, it was about as funny as I could manage.
“Shit happens!” he grumbled as he finished his report.
Suzie arrived ten minutes too late to save my hide. And the package! The package was only just too large for the average trouser pocket. It looked like a match box inside the almost empty of the freezer van.
But Suzie’s tardiness had started an expanding ripple on the pond of consequences. That, the unreasonable demands of the parking Fuehrer and my compliant nature resulted in an unfortunate sequence of events that will be long and costly. I reckoned the income from that pick up would be about ten dollars while the repair bill could be two or three thousand as I hoped Sean’s insurance covered dented hospital awnings.