I'm a 43-year-old mother of three young kids with a Master of Science degree. I also deliver pizzas for a living. I started doing it after staying home with my children for four years. Caring for your kids all day is a fantastic opportunity for many women, but it wasn't right for me. I began suffering from depression and decided to get a job so I'd have more of my own identity. Now I work nights when my husband is home so we don't have to depend on child care.
After I learned the basics of pizza delivery--like getting the orders together and not getting lost--I began to fine-tune my new "career." Being competitive and organized by nature, I studied the tipping patterns and demographics of the town.
Our community had a small, expensive liberal-arts college full of students who ordered lots of pizzas. Most of the kids were friendly and polite. On Friday and Saturday nights, some of the dorms had huge parties. Though the stairs were sticky from beer and the music was so loud they couldn't hear me knock on the door, the crowds of happy students shouting, "Pizza! Pizza!" always let me through.
A few of the quieter dorms were full of more studious students who seemed to look down on me, perhaps because they were on their way to more professional employment. I always felt like telling them that they should stay in school and get their master's degrees, and maybe one day they would have the wonderful experience of delivering pizzas.
The first few days of each month, one of us drivers would take our turn covering the public-housing developments. These customers did not always tip well, but I always liked seeing the children and adults sitting outside and enjoying the evenings when the weather was nice. The higher-income neighborhoods were much quieter, and I rarely saw neighbors talking to each other.
The delivery area was quite large, but in a country town like that one you could drive 10 or 15 miles and hit only one stoplight, so a quick driver could cover more than 100 miles and 20 deliveries a night. I learned to love the solitude, listening to music, looking up at the stars and thinking about life.