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The Parrot Mom

When I was a junior and senior at Loras College in Dubuque, IA, I worked as a pizza delivery dude for Falbos Pizza. That is one of my favorite jobs I have ever had. I absolutely loved delivering pizzas. My boss was awesome and so were my co-workers.

I had fun actually delivering the pizzas. I liked learning the streets of Dubuque and loved cruising around while blaring tunes in my car. I have always been obsessed with listening to music. The way I looked at it, I was getting paid to cruise around and listen to music.

I made good money delivering pizzas. I don’t know if it was because I so heavily worked the charm when I arrived at peoples’ doorsteps, if I am just a hot looking piece of ass (_l_) or if it was pure luck. My tips were solid though. Sometimes I would average making $20-25 an hour delivering pizzas.

Most importantly, Falbos made the best pizza I have ever tasted. I took advantage of the employee discount on a daily basis.

You could make a mockumentary style television show of a pizza place. Some of the situations you encounter while delivering pizzas can be hilarious, shocking, crazy, awkward, etc. The story I am about to tell is one of the most awkward experiences I had during the 2 years I spent delivering pizzas.

One evening, I had to make a delivery to a pretty nice part of town. The houses in the neighborhood were nice and the people who lived there seemed nice as well. In this neighborhood, I usually expected to be handed a tip between $3-10, which was very good. I parked my car on the street next to the house. As I walked towards the door, I reminded myself to make an attempt at building a rapport with whoever answered the door. I always did this with intentions of earning as large of a tip as possible. For example, if I delivered a pizza to a house that had nice landscaping in the front yard, I would comment on how I used to landscape in high school and that I loved their landscaping. If I delivered a pizza to an apartment where I noticed that the person had a Chingy CD on their coffee table, I would crack some sort of “right thurr” joke. Like, “Why don’t I set the pizza right thurr. By the Chingy CD, ya hurr?” If someone wearing an Indiana Pacers jersey answered the door, I would claim to be a Pacers fan myself and mention how awesome Reggie Miller was at hitting 3 pointers (although I fucking hated Reggie Miller and the Pacers.) My goal was to make the customers like me because it seemed the better rapport you built in the 30 seconds you were interacting with them, the better they tipped you.

When I arrived at the doorstep, I noticed that the only door that was shut was the screen door. I rang the door bell and immediately afterwards I heard someone blurt, “hello?” in a weird, scratchy, somewhat high-pitched tone. I responded with, “Falbos!” The person repeated themself in the same odd tone. “Hello?” I thought, “That’s odd, maybe I need to elaborate a little bit.” “Pizza guy here! Falbos pizza! I’m the pizza guy! I have your pizza!” Again, the response I received was, “hello?”

At this moment, it hit me. I was talking to a parrot. The voice was odd and strongly resembled a parrot. While I sat there and thought about how funny it was that I had just inadvertently carried on a conversation with a parrot, the parrot continued babbling. “Hello?………Hello?………..Hello?……..Hello?”

I rang the doorbell again and again, all I heard was, “hello?” I continued standing outside with these peoples’ pizza and the “hellos” carried on for another minute or two before I decided to ring the doorbell for the 3rd time. This time, someone who sounded human responded. It sounded like a man in his 30’s or 40’s and in a gruff voice he shouted, “Christopher, get the door!!! The pizza guy is here!!”

A few seconds later, a skinny, brown haired kid who appeared to be about 11 years old opened the screen door. He was smiling and seemed to be full of excitement that the pizza had arrived. He was decked out in a purple little league uniform. He was even wearing his cleats and battings gloves. The boy had either just finished playing baseball or was very prepared to play baseball after eating pizza.

As we made the money/pizza exchange, the parrot continued to say, “hello” repeatedly. I decided that inquiring about the parrot would be a perfect ice breaker that I could utilize as a rapport builder in an attempt to maniupulate the boy into giving me a bigger tip. I asked the boy, “so what’s up dude? I hear some kind of bird in there. Do you have a pet parrot or something?” The expression on the boy’s face changed from excited about the pizza to extreme sadness. He solemnly said, “no, I don’t have a pet parrot. My mom is home.” At this point, I should have taken a hint and promptly redirected the conversation, but I was oblivious to what was going on and instead I asked, “so your mom doesn’t allow you to have pets or what?” The boy shook is head and said, “I didn’t mean it that way.”

The boy hand-motioned me to take a couple steps inside the house and to look inside the living room. He then pointed to the corner of the room. When I shifted my eyes to what he was pointing at, I noticed that there was a woman sitting in a wheel chair, hooked up to breathing tubes, an oxygen tank and other various medical equipment. When I looked at her, our eyes met and she said, “hello? hello?” in her parrot-like voice.

The boy said, “that’s my mom.”

I was mortified. I felt like a total douche-nugget. Obviously, the boy’s mother had either been in an accident or inflicted with an illness that left her limited in terms of her mental and physical cababilities. I instantly felt the need to apologize and try to patch things up. I failed miserably. The words that spilled out of my mouth made things even more awkward. I said, “oh, I am so sorry buddy. I thought your mom was a parrot.” Immediately after saying this, I felt even more awful. I mean, the knife was already stuck in the boy’s chest when I asked if he had a pet parrot when it was actually his paralyzed mom that was making the noise. Then I accidentally twisted the knife by clarifying to him that I mistook his handicapped mother for a parrot.

The expression of sadness on the boy’s face was still there when he responded with, “no sir, she isn’t a parrot. Here is your money for the pizza.” I counted the money. They gave me a $4 tip. A very good tip. I looked at the kid and said, “thanks buddy, enjoy the pizza. Hope you have a good night.” The boy unenthusiastically said, “thank you” and shut the door.

I was kicking myself in the ass as I was walking back to my car. “Damn it, why on earth can’t I catch on to these things? I could have thought of a different rapport-building, icebreaker,” I thought to myself. Why didn’t I simply play it safe and ask him about how his little league game went? With my luck, he would have told me that he wasn’t able to go to his game because his dad forgot to take him.

Oh well, at least I got a good tip out of the deal.

I wonder if Rick "The Mullet Man" Suave had anything to do with this woman being in a wheelchair. Sometimes I think he takes WWE wrestling way too seriously.