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Suspicion and Guilt have Killed my Relationship with the Delivery Guy
by Stacey Tol

Boxes arrive on our doorstep every day by skittish delivery people who have perfected the art of the drop-and-dash. Just to be sure they’ve gone, I wait two beats after my electronic doorbell makes her fairy noise and announces, “There is motion at your front door.” I balance caution with speed, knowing there might be melting ice cream in my new package. (Ice cream is obviously a necessity of a successful quarantine.) Usually, I see just a flash of the delivery person’s back side as he sprints to his idling car to make a quick escape. When I jump the gun and fail to allow for a successful getaway, things get awkward.
“Thank you,” I’ll say to the startled delivery guy.
“No, problem,” he will respond, widening the 10’ space between us as he backs away.
What I’m really thinking is, “I’m sorry you have to do my grocery shopping for me. It feels like you must risk getting sick because I don’t want to. I feel guilty about that. Also, the strawberries you brought last time were mushy and you forgot the chocolate fudge magic shell. Surely, there can’t be a run on that! Do better.”
It did not take too many nights of quarantine cooking and clean-up for me to suggest to my family that we order pizza. In pre-Corona times, the pizza handoff would go like this:
The delivery man—let’s call him Dan—would stand on my doorstep, three or so feet away from me. He’d pull my steaming pizza boxes out of his red insulated bag, hand me a pen and receipt, then hold the boxes like a table while I signed my name. Meanwhile, Dan would compliment the neighborhood, talk about the weather, or say something sports related. I’d hold up my end of the small talk, he’d get a tip, and I got pizza. It was nice.
This time, Dan stood 6’ away and eyed me suspiciously as he removed the pizzas from the red bag. He was poised to bolt in case I got any ideas of bridging the gap between us. He needn’t have worried. I was equally suspicious of him. Dan produced neither pen nor receipt, foregoing the risky signature step. Instead, he gripped the edges of the pizza boxes and leaned them in my direction. I matched his angled stretch, gripped the opposite edges of the boxes, and reeled them in.
“Thanks,” I said, but he had already retreated too far to hear me. He got a tip and I got pizza, but it was weird.