October 11, 2017

I had no choice but to coin a phrase just to capture the true essence of a recent life episode, “Design by Fire.” A few inescapable tasks absolutely HAD to be accomplished, in spite of a few unavoidable givens.

I’ve recently taken up the courier profession as a side hustle, via a particular phone app that shall remain nameless for the sake of this missive. My last delivery of the day in question would prove to be my pièce de résistance: picking up and successfully delivering a large food order from an establishment I had vowed I would avoid accepting future orders from. But in the fervor of the moment, I inadvertently accepted this new order, only to realize my error… it was now an irreversible decision.

My reluctance stemmed from a previously less-than-stellar review from an unhappy customer that ordered from an unnamed establishment. The resulting nightmare dropped my overall service rating to a level dangerously close to the minimum-standard, risking an official ejection from use of the unnamed delivery app. But I’m working with an app that—besides bearing a characteristically flawed GPS system—is a virtual succubus on your phone battery. I’ve had to map out electrical outlet access for a 30-block radius, purchase a BlitzWolf solar charger for sunny layovers between pick-ups, and carry a preloaded portable mini recharger all in the name of keeping my phone on life support. The unsaid app will kick you offline if you fall below the required 10% power minimum, leaving me drifting in space like an astronaut with a severed safety tether—Houston, we have a problem.

So with this order now carved in stone, I would have to do some serious finagling, operating with a phone that was steadily nearing the point of banishment. First, upon arriving to unsaid establishment, I dashed to the “facilities” to answer a seriously pressing “call of nature.” Then, I proceeded to the first available register and rattled off order items to a very apt and attentive cashier, my phone counting down, “15…14…13…” Order placed, I sought and found that elusive outlet to surreptitiously recharge, hiding the phone behind some random restaurant fixtures. Now, I strategically positioned myself to wait for my number to be called, the full order straddling two, uncontiguous pick-up counters… and yes, they both did called my number at the same time. Sigh. I just gathered one bagged portion—asked for double bagging—then, maneuvered over to the opposite counter (now calling “286” for the third time)—"Can you please separate the fries into another bag?”—finishing the order pickup. I gathered my phone from its hiding spot…”Only 15% now?” Sigh. I still need to refer to unsaid app to establish the drop-off point, so I take a quick screenshot to sustain me in case of app eviction. Now I’m on the home stretch, positively elated that my target was in a reasonable trajectory… mission accomplished.

This creative paper folding was all made possible by remaining calm enough strategize and prioritize the necessary steps that would ultimately get me through that minefield in one piece.

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