Staying Sane Delivering The Advocate

Judy from Burst’s Chocolate

Being a full-time college student/small-time reporter/delivery boy may seem like an overwhelmingly glamorous existence, and for the most part it is, but the delivery boy piece doesn’t come without its pitfalls. Finding parking takes forever, and once finding a spot I’m hassled by Corvallis Police Departnent for “parking while working,” a most heinous crime in Corvallis. Dodging pickup trucks in the crosswalk, one can start to feel pretty frazzled. That’s where you come in, Corvallis.

No matter my level of sourness, there’s folks that I run across on my route that surely brighten my day. They all run or work at businesses here in town, and I figure if they are so friendly to me, a guy with no intention of spending money, you’ll probably have a pleasant experience at these places too.

I start my route with Oregon State University. That’s Orange Media Network territory, so I have to be careful. I’m usually lightning fast, but I once fumbled with a stack of papers in the Memorial Union, and a secretary shot out to tell me not to make drops outside Java Stop, or in any OSU building. I get paid per
drop, so this is stressful as heck. Feeling on edge, I shoot it out to southtown, where the vibe is much more welcoming.

After a few silent drops, I deliver to Mindy’s Hair Affair next to Circle K on 4th. This is the first person who is nice to me all day. Is she Mindy? I will ask next week if she is Mindy. Anyway, she is rad. All she does is ask how I am, and we exchange pleasantries, but this is an enormous relief from the oppressive atmosphere that I’ve just escaped. Thank you (probably) Mindy.

After I flee southtown, I drive toward downtown Corvallis, casually glancing at the daunting stacks of newspapers in my back seat. I march up Second Street, and eventually arrive at Bullfrog Music. The owner, Kurt, is almost always busy with a customer when I drop by, and we usually say hello to each other. Kurt exudes a genuine friendliness that fills this space; coupled with the rad guitars for sale, this store is a gem.

From there, I head over to Third, where one of my favorite stops is Happy Trails Records. Doug, the proprietor, is commonly listening to some spaced-out prog rock, which is a pleasant change from the muzak one might hear in most stores. Happy Trails smells like vinyl record sleeves (one of my favorite scents) and has a warm and welcoming vibe; even my short visit on Thursday does wonders for my frame of mind.

After a short while, I find myself in Burst’s Chocolates. This place is borderline magical; the sweet smell of chocolate fills my nostrils, and jars full of multicolored candies adorn the wall behind the counter. Judy, practically an angel, is usually behind the counter, and she always hands me a chocolate to take on my way.

My favorite stop on First Street is Wineopolis, located inside Water Street Market, or as I call it, “Gentrification Station.” Jerry, the owner, always greets me jovially, and usually provides some advice, which sometimes amounts to “be ready for anything.” I’ve also recently learned that Jerry imports wine from the French and Italian countryside on the cheap, a discount that he passes on to the consumer. I’ve made a note to attend one of his Saturday tastings soon.

My last stop is the Mazama Taphouse, usually around 6pm: Beer 30. If I have the time, Mazama is the perfect place for me to decompress with a pint before I head home and start writing. The brewmaster, Ryan, is usually ending his workday with a beer also, and I get an opportunity to pick his brain about nuances of brewing. The food truck Kye’s Cuisines has recently set up shop in front of the building, and hooked me up with a fish taco sample last week. Not a bad way to end my day.

When I focus on the sights, smells, and sounds of Corvallis rather than the negative feelings that I may be having, I find my day goes much smoother. I look for joy in driving across the Harrison Bridge, walking down the river on First, or briefly standing underneath the giant sequoias on the OSU campus. Thursday is a stressful day, but if it ever gets overwhelming, I remember that I am a speck on a speck on the face of the universe. I might as well enjoy the scenery.

By Jay Sharpe