In this space, I've touched on how enjoyable it is to see an edition of Pique all the way through, from writing the stories and taking some photos, to putting together some pages and proofreading the copy.
I've subsequently gone a step further.
When one of our delivery fellas resigned earlier this year, I figured I would step into the role and give it a shot and deliver the news in every sense of the word. It's a help for the community paper I dearly love, it's a little bit of exercise and hey, a few extra shekels doesn't hurt, either.
I drop off anywhere between 800 and 1,100 editions a week to about 20 locations in the village, with small amounts like five or 10 going to a few spots to 200 or so at certain boxes. I was pleasantly surprised when my Toyota Yaris could handle more than 20 bundles of 50 papers, in the front and back seats, with the trunk reserved for last week's leftovers.
The first week was surprisingly hairy, I'll admit. Coming to our Function Junction office early and loading the car went OK, but after my first drop-off at a local hotel, I misplaced the scissors I had brought along to cut the plastic ties that bind the bundles together, so I had to tear them apart by hand. (Luckily, they had just become buried under some stacks in my car and I was able to recover them for future weeks. Also, if you see me wandering the pedestrian stroll early on Thursday mornings, fear not, my scissors aren't golden so I'm not one of the tethered from Us.)
Then there was the mystery of the missing newspaper box, where I circled a building in Whistler Village a half-dozen times, a bundle in each arm, without finding the box before ultimately moving on (and bringing a new one to replace it the following week). That wasn't all—I realized late in the route that I'd mistakenly replaced the previous week's edition with ... the previous week's edition at my last couple of stops.
Once I'd gotten everything sorted, it was well over two hours of delivery work. It should have been a simple enough task, right? Or was it in fact I who was simple?
The next week, things went according to plan. Old editions were separated into the trunk while new editions stayed up front. No scissors were misplaced. The papers all got to where they needed to be. Once I had a system in place in my mind, it all started running like clockwork.
There's still the odd fly in the ointment—sometimes there's some strange trash in the boxes, anything from junk mail and pay-parking slips to banana peels and half-eaten ice-cream cones. Please, no matter what you think of our content, place these things in the proper receptacles.
There are other inexplicable things that happen, too. At one local eatery, I drop off just five copies; one week, that number had somehow multiplied to 43.
Also, this experience has made me think a little more deeply about the processes that keep things running smoothly for all the deliveries we rely on in life. Certainly the full-timers operate on an entirely different level. After a weekend trip to the Interior, being reminded of the hairpin-curves that truck drivers have to navigate or thinking of the tragedies that have occurred on Canadian rail lines in recent years, I would argue that we shouldn't take for granted the way our lumber, fresh produce and cheesy poofs make it to store shelves.
That goes double for remote and northern communities, especially in light of the recently ended, 18-month saga that Churchill, Man. went through after its rail line washed out in early 2017. The price of food skyrocketed and staple supplies became scarce as private companies bickered and the federal government was inactive for months in that situation.
Whether it's a newspaper being distributed in town or sustenance coming from further afield, it's not always easy getting something from Point A to Point B.