Knock, Knock

delivery again? Do us a favor, let 'em in

Getty Images photo

Getty Images photo


by cindy dampier

Winter came early to our house.

Not so much the weather — that progressed as summer does: Thuggish, sweaty, occasional pouring rain. Who noticed? We were up to our ears, hunkered down amid deep drifts of books and furniture and clothes and camping equipment and kitchenware and extra Ziploc bags. These were our worldly possessions, all of which landed, unceremoniously, on the doorstep of a new place when summer had barely begun.

Opening your front door every evening to a looming Gordian knot is a great reason to let a few things slide. By which I mean dinner. Pizza delivery on moving day is a universal soul-saver, but that initial pie (it was Pequod's, if we're assigning blame) was just an entry point. Long after our pots and pans were unpacked, we raged unchecked through the takeout menus of gourmet diners, taco joints, sushi kitchens. Cook, in the midst of a cyclone? We're talking sweaters roaming free. Books, surrendering to cobwebs in the corner. Homeless Ziploc bags. There were adaptations — one night we noticed the family dog was teaching himself steeplechase skills by vaulting over piled up boxes. He also learned to recognize the sound of a GrubHub driver pulling to the curb.

At some point, we knew we should stop. But it was far too easy to just keep going. Those who study such trends claim that delivery of pretty much anything is the way of our new, ever-more-isolated society. Which sounds creepy. But the facts on the ground are that, if you hold a valid credit card and an internet connection, you can make (delicious, highly refined) Big Star tacos materialize on your doorstep with hardly a whisper of human interaction.

That's if you don't count our GrubHub guy, who first stated that he remembered visiting our place before, then started calling us by first names and waving emphatically. The dog let himself be petted, but that might have had something to do with the heavy scent of empanadas.

And so it went, in our little winter of the soul, from Irazu's Costa Rican to Lillie's Q, complete with comfort in the form of collard greens. We branched out to other delivery services, found ways to bring in food from other parts of town. In short, we rode the delivery food thing straight to the gates of hell, and it was tasty all the way. There was no such thing as a bridge too far.

Maybe it was the full-on, three-course Polish feast from Staropolska that signaled the end of our wild ride. It was a funny, foolish reminder of an actual trip (who eats like that, outside of vacation?). Which was a reminder that travel outside the house is not only possible, it's desirable.

In the winter of 2015, New Yorkers had to be reminded by their mayor that yes, a directive to stay off the streets in a major storm applied to delivery drivers, too. "A food delivery bicycle is not an emergency vehicle," grumbled Bill de Blasio. GrubHub momentarily shut down, in deference to the weather.

De Blasio, of course, wasn't dealing with the aftermath of our move. Or a real Chicago winter, for that matter. But still, his reality check came back to haunt me, finally. Along with our aching bank accounts. And the thought of all those takeout containers. Our house emerged, slowly, from the mountain of displaced stuff, and the kitchen became more than just a place to unpack styrofoam boxes. We laugh nervously about our little delivery binge — that was kinda silly, wasn't it? But come howling winds and negative degrees, you can bet we'll know just what to do. After all, that driver knows right where we live.