There is an unspoken rule about flower delivery service and since this is a written post I feel absolutely no guilt in sharing. The creed is simple: "Neither long distances nor entertaining street performers nor a couple having an all out argument on the street shall delay me from my appointed duties." Yes, it's sort of limited to a very specific set of obstacles, but in New York, those are the greatest deterrents for us, the humble flower delivery service men and women. It's our Kryptonite.
I once had to walk forty-seven blocks to deliver a beautiful bouquet in a large glass vase and I felt like Frodo returning the ring to Mount Doom. You will ask, quite rightly: "Just take the subway" and to that I would normally say: "What a good idea." But when you take the subway with a vase filled with flowers, you are essentially playing a game of Crazy Person Roulette. I will get into that in future posts, but suffice it to say, if you take the subway, the best case scenario is someone yelling at you about the global threat of the floral industry and the worst case scenario is that you lose your flowers to someone simply named The Viper. It's just better to walk, that way you're at least a moving target with many escape routes.
When you make deliveries all day, believe it or not, this can sometimes be a little tedious; there's a lot of walking repetitive routes and seeing the same sights over and over again. But once in a while you'll witness a man juggling axes on Madison Avenue before the police arrive or someone painted entirely in gold singing Miley Cyrus songs. These are things that you can't easily walk away from. I once lost an entire hour watching a trumpet player so bad that I couldn't turn away. Time melted as he searched in vain to find a note, any note, that sounded even remotely like the Godfather theme. I thought it was some meta-performance art piece on the banality of street performance. I mean, no one would ever willingly put themselves through such degradation on purpose, right? Eventually, someone offered him $50 if he would just stop playing and he broke down and wept. Street performers are like catnip for the floral deliver person.
Finally, there's the couple arguing publicly. Now, I realize that this may sound a little cynical, but when you walk the streets of New York during a work day, it's surprisingly quiet. People busy themselves going to and fro and have no time for honest engagement, it's an oddly sterile environment. But once in a while you see something that pierces the quiet of the day in both volume and raw emotion. When a couple has a fight on a street, it's your favorite reality show, soap opera, and Law and Order episode all rolled into one. You, the viewer, have an opportunity to figure out who did what to whom and whom is at fault. I've heard phrases like "you put it in your mouth!" And "you have nothing I would want to steal!" I just stand there covertly pretending to be on my phone while I untangle the heated discourse of complete strangers as their relationship unravels on 51st and 5th. I don't mean to sound as though I am without empathy, but when you walk seventeen miles of concrete on any given day, you look for entertainment where you can.
However, I am a floral delivery person and it is my appointed duty to deliver the flowers on time and in a beautiful condition, and, as my creed dictates, I shall adhere to these standards. Unless, of course, it's a really great break dance group dressed in 80s clothes. I am only human.