Journalist at, Linux geek, pizza delivery driver, lover of red meat
4525 words

The Day of the Accident

I'm a bit hesitant bringing this up, as the accident brings back some painful memories. It was the middle of July and I had just delivered a pizza to a doctor's office that's literally right across the shop from where I work, and I was on my way to cross the street, when I had T-boned an SUV.

The driver in the SUV twirled in a semi-circle and was now facing the side where cars approach. It was a good thing I had hit the right side of his van; he probably would've been dead had I hit the other side. He sustained minor neck injuries. The only thing on my part was the front bumper completely fell off, and since the airbag had went off so fast, it ended up burning the skin on my right wrist.

The police came fairly quickly. After trying to explain the situation to a confused officer, myself and the other driver were rushed by ambulance to the local hospital.

"I won't be able to go fishing tomorrow..." the other party lamented. I felt horrible. I knew I was at fault and I had no idea how I could ease the situation.

When we get to the hospital (a hospital that has ordered from us quite a few times, actually), a nurse squeezes out some gauze out of a packet, spreads it across my burnt skin with his finger, wraps it up with some blue wrap, and calls it a day. I mean, that's all I needed, really, and when I had looked at the emergency transport bill of over $1000 and the hospital bill over $700 later on, I realized I should've never went to the hospital in the first place.

While I'm there I go up to the other man who I hit. He was laying in a bed next to mine.

"Sorry about that," I said.

"Don't worry about it," he said something along those lines. "Accidents happen."

As I'm trying to talk to him, the nurse that was treating me tells me that I can't be there with the other party. I find out later that this is because hospitals don't want any lawsuits going on, so it was nothing personal.

"Fill?" Two female cops come in. The first one, a portly brunette, is holding a citation in her hand and gives it to me, while addressing me in the usual condescending tone and look that cops give. Behind her is a slender blondie that doesn't say much until she tells me where my car got towed.

The brunette says, "You gotta be more careful. This is just a warning; your insurance won't be affected. The police report will be ready tomorrow." On the citation, it read, "FAILURE TO YIELD."

You gotta be more careful. I frankly don't have a whole lot of respect for cops. 8 out of 10 times I get pulled over, it's for an illegitimate reason. I had one who deliberately tailgated me at night that caused me to speed up. I had another who told me, "Your license plate lights are a little dim." A third who told me I was too close to the car in front of me. The times where I've gone over a red light, sure, that's a good reason, but for the most part, I feel like it's because they're bored and they've got nothing else to do. It's like they want you to do something wrong on purpose. It doesn't help that the news throws the spotlight on a cop who shot an innocent person eight times.

I've driven for six years now and that was my first accident. So, dear cop, you're not even going to ask me if I'm alright? Thanks, jackass.

When I tell her I don't have any questions, they leave. Another patient, an older gentleman, is repeatedly trying to rip off his IV from his arm. It got to the point where the original nurse that was treating him left and the one that was treating me took over.

"You're acting like a child," the nurse said. The patient is throwing his arms in a tantrum and the nurse is trying to hold his arm so he can wrap a cast around it. "We're trying to make you better."

"I don't want it!" the old man exclaims.

"I don't care!" the nurse shots back. After he finishes the wrap, the old man sighs, unable to get the IV out again.

I had mentioned before how dangerous the road in which our store is on is. It's four lanes. It was even less at the time since there was construction going on. I'm actually amazed I'm able to keep driving at this particular area; I get a tight knot in my stomach every time I cross this road now. But now I take the safe way. In other words, the long way. If I can help it, I'll take a right from our store even if the delivery is to the left. I will either turn left at a parking lot to turn around or take another right to get to your destination. So, if you feel like your deliveries are taking longer than usual, it may be because we're taking the safer route. Not that I've gotten any complaints about how long it takes, but it's just a heads-up.

Staring Contest

The sad reality of America is we take everyone who we don't know suspiciously. We tend to hate each other to a rather disturbing degree. Staring at strangers in the neighborhood is not uncommon. We throw our arms up and shake our head whenever a car drives by the same place twice. We glare at a lost driver with a look like, "What the heck are you doing here?" and don't bother waving back when they try to say hello. Your typical American handshake comes to pulling out a Glock and threatening the cashier at the liquor store.

You can kind of already understand what I'm getting with this.

Now, don't get me wrong. Some of the customers I have are pleasant to interact with. Some of them will even invite you in, asking how everyone at work is doing, and throw a $20 tip and say, "Keep the change." But in addition to the 20% or so of customers who feel like they're entitled and give you little to nothing in tip value, there's the neighbors.

Here's the thing. Especially during the first couple of months when I was doing deliveries, I heavily relied on Google Maps. The problem, is more often than not, Google Maps will get me in the right vicinity, but not directly towards the right house. A common example is when delivering to an apartment complex. Google won't take me to apartment 7H, or 12S, that will require me to drive around in circles until I find the right apartment.

This is exactly what happened the first time I delivered to a particular neighborhood. The number will show up on Google Maps, but not the apartment number. This neighborhood is huge, and the numbers are scattered all over the place; they're not necessarily in order. I drive around in circles a few times, hoping that I can find the right apartment. Can't find it.

I call the customer. No answer. Leave a voicemail. Call again a few minutes later. No answer. It's just after I talk to one of the neighbors that he finally calls me back after half-an-hour of searching.

"It's the first house on the right. Blue Hyundai Elantra."

The same house I drove by about six times. I couldn't find the apartment number anywhere on the place he was staying. And in the meantime I've frigging riled up the neighborhood with people glaring at me through their windows.

So there's two lessons here. First, please have your phone ready in case we get lost. Don't get yourself in the shower or get pre-occupied with some other task that will take you away from your phone. We ask for your number so that we can call you in the event we can't find you. I can assure you I throw the receipts in the trash after the delivery is done, so I'm not collecting any of these numbers for personal use. I can't stress how many times a customer leaves their number on the receipt of the order, and upon calling it, they either don't pick up or it's out of service. What the frig? How can we deliver to you unless we find you?

Second, dear neighbors, please understand that we, as delivery drivers, will get lost from time to time. If we're wandering around the neighborhood, driving slowly, it's because we're trying to find the right house. This can especially be a problem at night; our store is open until 9 o'clock and when it's pitch black outside, we're going to have a hard time finding the right number unless it's right there on the mailbox. Which, half of the time, it isn't. I'll admit that I've pulled into the wrong driveway and even knocked on the wrong door at night at times, because frigging Google can't get me there. If the customer doesn't pick up their phone for some reason, this will especially contribute to us getting lost for an extended period of time, more time than you or I would like.

Understandably, though, you're still probably going to view me as a stalker, because I don't have a placard that I can put on the roof of my car that establishes who I work for. I asked the owner of the shop if I could have one, and his response was, "The problem with that, is if you get pulled over for speeding, it will affect our reputation." Something along those lines anyway. But I don't speed anyways. So I can't get one. I might just make one myself. But if you stare at me, just know that I'll stare at you with an even more intense, soul-piercing look.

As I'm getting more familiar with our delivery area and who exactly I'm delivering to, I find I'm not using my GPS as often, and therefore getting lost a lot less. But there will still be times where there might be a road detour -- particularly in my area right now, as there is a lot of road construction going on -- and I'll get lost, once more. Again, please understand I'm not stalking anyone -- I just can't find the right house number and I have to turn around.

Tipless Deliveries

I feel like every job has its blessings and its curses. My job at my local pizza joint is no exception.

The good side is, my co-workers are very down to earth, including the owner, and they have been patient with me during the three or so months I've been there as they teach me how to make a garden salad, grind some shredded steak, or form some dough into a ball. Really, it's unlike any other place I've worked for -- for the most part my ex-co-workers were just downright nasty, lazy, or they form the typical excuse, "It's just business."

The downside, is I despise driving, even though that's what I signed up for when I put my application in. I frankly don't blame anyone when they dislike driving as well; you're putting your life at risk and you have to be on guard constantly, because many drivers just don't care and will tailgate, honk at you, go past a red light, you know what I mean if you drive. What makes it worse, is every time I make a delivery, I have to pass a four-lane highway -- two lanes on the left, two on the right. It makes my deliveries incredibly nerve-wracking when I have to take a left -- there is, after all, four lanes you have to keep track of. Matter of fact, I had an accident on this highway a few months back. Accidents on this particular highway are very common.

In addition, there's the customers who just don't understand when it comes to tipping. And that's what this post is for -- to rant about this subject.

I'll start off with my most recent experience, which was Wednesday. The first delivery of the morning, I spend the 10 or so minutes getting to the house. A shirtless black man opens the door, his shorts not high enough to cover his boxers. He grins as he takes the food and hands it over to a white, cross-eyed dude. A shot of whiskey is in his hand, and the black dude is holding a big glass container of vodka.

"Want a shot?" the black man asks.

"I'm good."

He laughs. "Too early?" It's 11:30 AM.

"Too early," I reply.

"No such thing as too early!" He laughs again as I hand him a copy of the receipt so he can sign it. Sign it he does, but does not add a tip or hand me some cash.

"Thanks," he says. I say nothing as I take the receipt back and angrily trudge back to my Camry.

Later on that day I deliver to some foreign dudes who don't speak English. They're working outside and one of them is nailing shingles on the roof. I'm not sure who's getting the food, so after walking for a bit I turn around and one of them points to a palette with some stuff stacked on it. I place the food there.

"Are you signing this?" I knew it was kind of pointless to ask that as I showed him the receipt; I could tell based on his pointing that he didn't know English.

He grabs the receipt and calls out to his co-worker. They speak in a language I can't understand. He then carefully examines the receipt, and after a moment or two, decides to crumple it.

One of the other workers comes over and tries to talk to me. I can't understand anything he's saying, and at this point I'm getting confused. What am I supposed to do in this situation? Should I try to give him an extra copy of the receipt, or wait until he hands me cash?

The guy that's talking to me points to the man with the crumpled-up receipt and makes a gesture as if he was going to sign it. I look back at the man with the receipt and he then proceeds to throw the receipt.

As I drive away from the neighborhood with a lead foot on the gas, I started to wonder why he didn't sign. I checked the time he ordered. It was less than an hour ago. And it's a 15-minute drive from the shop. And then I thought, "Maybe because he thought the food was too expensive." He did examine that receipt closely, after all. But the prices aren't my fault; the price of pizza toppings, roast beef, cheese, and everything else has doubled since COVID. If it costs more to get the ingredients we need, we need to up our prices. Whoever placed the call was told the price ahead of time as well. So just because you're upset about the price, doesn't mean you shouldn't frigging tip.

Then the third time that day. Right across the highway from where the store is. Some kid answers the door, and I could almost immediately tell he wasn't going to tip, based on the look he gave me and how curt he was.

I hand him his sub sandwich. "Thank you," he says as he immediately shuts the door.

"I need a signature!" I raise my voice behind his closed door.

He opens back up. "What?"

I hand him the receipt and a pen. Yep, you know what happens next.

This is just a few of many examples -- crackheads, spoiled kids, the police, Home Depot, child daycare, old-school veterans, some of the rich folk. If you're reading this and you aren't aware, tipping your driver is common courtesy, just as you would tip a waiter. Especially since we don't charge for delivery. You don't have to tip me as much as you would a waiter -- I'm paid a little over minimum wage, after all. But I'm spending my gas, which I don't get compensated for. You tip me 10%, I guarantee I won't spit in your bag of curly fries the next time I deliver to you. Okay, that last part I was kidding, but that's really what I feel like doing when someone doesn't tip.

The Times When You Don't Need to Tip Me

Understandably, there are times when I don't blame the customer if they don't tip -- I blame myself. I'll take my first week doing deliveries as an example. It's sometime in June, and we're one of the few restaurants open during the pandemic before everyone else opens up a few weeks later -- therefore, we're getting more orders than usual. It's a Saturday night and we're slammed with orders. The manager is rushing me to get these deliveries done.

I take some orders and grab the receipts that come out of the printer. I drive 15 minutes away to one address, only to find a disturbed woman who answers the door.

"I'm sorry, but we already ordered."

I head back to the store, and by the time I get there I've already wasted over half an hour on this poor customer who's still waiting.

"Okay I need you to take these..." the manager touches the orders on the touchscreen where the deliveries are held.

"I still have a delivery in my car." I say.

He looks at me in disbelief. "You still have a delivery?"

I take him to my car and show him the order.

"It's going to this address," he says, and points to the receipt that's stapled to the bag.

The printer had run out of paper, and I ended up taking an old receipt.

The manager trudges back to the store, only to toss his hat to the ground and scream at the top of his lungs.

The delivery is going to some camp site. By now this customer has been waiting at least two hours. On my way there one of my co-workers calls me.

"Just so you know, the customer's only going to be paying half, 40 dollars."

"Okay," was all I could muster, as I was shook up both for screwing up this delivery and how the manager reacted.

"Bye," he said. I didn't respond and waited for him to hang up.

After getting lost at the camp site I finally find the right number, judging by the kids who are staring at me as I pull over.

The one adult who's there nods at the table for where I drop off the food.

"It's half off, it's $40," I say as he fumbles through his wallet.

"Mm-hmm," he grunts and slaps me two twenties.

"Thank you," I say as I immediately take my leave. Naturally, he didn't respond.

I don't blame him. I had disappointed that group of kids, and at that point the food was probably cold, lukewarm at best. So, if it takes me an excessive amount of time to get there, say, over an hour-and-a-half to two hours, there's no reason for that and therefore you don't have to tip me.

The next delivery I had that night was to a hospital. I'm still shook up, and rushing to get these deliveries done, so I forget to grab a diet Pepsi that they had ordered.

I curse out loud. I figure they only way I can get out of this situation, is by explaining to them that I forgot the drink and that they don't have to tip me.

That's what I said to the nurse that picked up the order.

"Well, I guess you're going to have to go to Cumberland Farms and get something from there," she says sarcastically, with a grin on her face.

"Seriously, I can go there right now -"

"No, it's fine." She then explains there's another worker there who doesn't have anything better to do and that he can go and get the drinks himself.

She signs the receipt and adds a $5 tip. I breathe a sigh of relief. She waited over an hour, I forget the Pepsi, and she still tipped me. Thank God there are some people out there who actually understand.

But yeah, if I forget your drinks or chips and the nearest place to get some is over 10 minutes away, I will kindly say you don't have to tip me. That's the one other time where you don't need to tip.

However, if I give your order fresh out of the oven, faster than you expected, and you got everything you ordered, there's no reason you shouldn't tip me. Don't get delivery if you're not going to tip. I will get upset if you don't and I will curtly leave your porch without saying anything. Don't be surprised if I rub your hamburger against my genital hairs the next time you order.

Heh, okay, again, I would never do that. But you get the idea.

About Twitter...

It's something I'm debating whether or not I should keep. I've had my account for roughly over a year and half of that time I didn't even use it. It's only been the past few months or so that I've been using it on a semi-regular basis, and a lot of the time my feed consists of people ranting, bringing up politics, or people showing off progress on software they've been working on or hardware. While the latter is great to see, the former two is something that bothers me.

That, and I kind of feel like I've been addicted to viewing my Twitter feed at least once a day. Once in a while I'll make a post, but the things I'm interested in are so niche that not many seem to respond. Not many leave a like, nevermind a comment, on the articles I've written on Boiling Steam. So I end up spending more time reading someone else's feed that I could have used to be more productive on other things.

That and, obviously, the tracking. I've been told it's not as bad as Facebook, but it's still there.

So, just thinking out loud. I'll give it a couple more weeks and see how it goes.


Welcome! This will be my blog where I'll post (most) whatever is on my mind.

Who are you?

I'm one of the journalists at Boiling Steam. This web site is dedicated to bringing you in-depth guides, reviews, news, and opinions on all things Linux, particularly when it comes to Linux gaming. There's also the occasional Q&A with the brilliant people from the likes of Feral Interactive, Valve, and others who have either helped bring great games to Linux or contribute to Linux gaming as a whole. There was a time where we also did podcasts and interviewed various people, such as Ethan Lee.

I've written for Boiling Steam for about three years now altogether -- most of the time on a voluntary basis -- covering Linux distributions, hardware, and games. Besides myself, there's two others who make up the team:

  • Ekianjo - web site maintainer; has written the majority of posts there
  • podiki - fellow Linux geek who has recently joined us a few months ago. We're fortunate to have someone who volunteers their time by means of contributing articles to the site!

As you could probably tell, I'm a gamer. I particularly enjoy fighting games, such as Slap City, Them's Fightin' Herds, and Super Smash Bros. Though racing games aren't exactly my cup of tea I don't mind playing them. Check out my recent review of DRAG, a racing game where realism comes to the fore rather than any sort of arcade.

When I'm not writing for this blog or for Boiling Steam, or I'm not gaming, I'm delivering pizzas. Yeah, okay, kind of a sad story considering I'm A+ and Network+ certified and took IT as a trade in vocational school. But it's better than not having a job at all, I suppose.

So, though I have not fully considered what this blog will serve for, it's probably just going to be a venting grounds for the entitled customers I've delivered to. I will probably have a few Linux posts here and there as well, depending on whether it fits Boiling Steam's standards or not. And some other random stuff, like me trying to stick on a diet and see if I can lose a couple of pounds.

Why Linux rather than Windows?

Quite a few reasons. On Windows, I don't like the fact:

  • I can't change the way the desktop looks or behaves
  • Updates to software isn't done by a universal means, i.e. programs need to get updated individually rather than using a system-wide package manager
  • Updates are forced, and disabling them requires a great amount of effort
  • I could be in the middle of playing a game or be in a voice call and Windows suddenly restarts because updates are getting installed
  • Anti-virus software is needed in order to, you know, not supposedly get any viruses, assuming the anti-virus software isn't spying on the user
  • A significant amount of telemetry is sent to Microsoft about every little click or mouse movement the user makes, and even after disabling it there's still some data that gets sent
  • It's slow. Updates can take as long as an entire day, and forget about using Windows 10 on older hardware

Notice I haven't added any links; these points are based on my experience, and for all I know, Microsoft may have fixed some of these issues since the last time I used Windows 10, so take my point of view with a grain of salt.

This being said, however, I'm not against anyone using Windows; it does have its benefits. For instance, a lot of proprietary software can only be used on Windows and will not work with Wine, such as Adobe Photoshop. And even with the advents of Proton, some Windows games still refuse to work on Linux. So some people will need to at least have a dual-boot setup with Windows to get their day-to-day tasks done. Me, I use Linux (Pop!_OS currently) full-time and have no Windows partition, yet I live my life just fine.

Your articles are great! Can I hire you?

Heh. Said no one. But, if you happen to be looking for a freelance journalist, particularly when it comes to tech, Linux, or gaming, feel free to have a look at some of the articles I've written on Boiling Steam. Some articles you might find particularly noteworthy are:

If you like what I write, you can contact me at cow_killer(at)protonmail(dot)com.