Five Years. Every night for Five Years! Paper girl.
Delivering a bulk newspaper route means that you wake around 1 or 2 am and drive down to the newspaper office. You wait in line with a bunch of other suckers until the papers start rolling out. When it's finally your turn to pick up your load (depending on the night and your route, 20 - 40 bundles of papers) you back your vehicle up to the dock and the dock guys toss you the bundles which you load into your car (over 5 years mine ranged from Chrysler LeBaron Convertible to Datsun Turbo-Z hatchback to GMC Truck).
You then drive out to your appointed route, follow your delivery schedule, and deliver anywhere from 5 to 75 papers into Circle K's/Mini-Marts, Grocery stores, and vending machines. The pay sucks and it's really hard on vehicles, not to mention the lack of sleep. However, it helped make end's meet and then satisfied my ex-husband's requirement ("Sure you can go to school, as long as you keep on working.")
My most exciting paper route night began innocently enough. I picked up my papers, drove out and started delivering. On one remote corner, a vehicle drove up (always makes you a little jumpy at 3 am) and a guy rolled down his window to ask me where the nearest pay phone was. (Remember all this was pre-cel phone.) I gave him a quick answer and hopped in my car, continuing on my way. Soon, I came to the part of my route which turned me around and took me back to the same intersection, opposite corner. There was a little bread store, a small furniture store, a short wall and then another building. The machine was an old one that had a door which lifted up leaving one in an awkward position, with an elbow under the door, arms in the machine, and butt sticking out in the air. While in this position, I looked over to the corner of the building next to the wall and noticed a man standing there. Buck N@ked! Laughing out loud, I calmly let the door drop and slam, walked over to my car, and took off as quickly as possible. I can only assume that it was the same guy who'd asked for directions earlier. My heart was pounding wildly. I went to the nearest pay phone and called my supervisor and the police.
For the next several weeks I carried my pepper spray to every machine. There were some machines that were completely out of view of the car. One was hidden behind a wall, but I could drive forward past the wall, take a look to see if anyone was hiding there, and then back up, park and deliver the papers. One evening, I went through my paranoid routine and saw that the coast was clear. I got out and started to walk toward the machine when a car came tearing into the parking lot! It had been parked in the carwash next door, squealed out as soon as I opened my car door, and tore right up into the parking lot stopping about two feet from my car! I'd heard the initial squeal and went for my car, so by the time he was facing my car, I'd already gotten in, backed in a half-circle and was facing him. Because I was already on guard, I was thinking quickly and got his license plate number, then in mere seconds I took off with him right on my tail. I raced through the parking lot and into my next stop, which fortunately was an RV park with a guard at the gatehouse. I stopped at the guard who had heard the commotion, he came running out and said, "What's going on?" I yelled, "I don't know but this guy's scaring me!" My guard walked back to the stalker's car and hollered in his window. Then the guy realized I had some protection and took off. The guard called the police for me. They said not to worry, the man lived out in the East valley. Which really irritated me, because that's where I LIVED!
That was my scariest experience. He had to be watching me and it had to be planned for him to wait there at the right time. I continued to do that route for a few weeks, and then asked to switch to another route.
At least after 5 years of that kind of fun, nightly, I can safely say that going to Walmart in the middle of the night, doesn't concern me in the least!
BTW, my "real" blog is private, but if I've sparked your interest, email me at lotsostuff at hotmail dot com, and I'll gladly send you an invite.