Ink-stained again

IMG_0279My Globe hasn’t been delivered in a week either. Except on Sunday. If you haven’t been following the delivery crisis — new company failed to deliver 10 percent of papers –you can catch up via my NU colleague Dan Kennedy. 
I freelance for the Globe, and my husband works there full time. So, we showed up as a team on Saturday night — actually Sunday morning at 12:30 –to join the Globies who signed up to deliver the  paper. It was a symbolic act — papers showed up Sunday, but didn’t show up on Monday.  We had fun, until about 4:30 in the morning. It took us until 8:30 to cover most of Cambridgeport. Still, it gave me a dose of that newsroom camaraderie that I miss.

IMG_0270First, we had to slide inserts and preprints into the live sections. I salute those who work there every night, like the woman next to me, who told me she has been doing it for 25 years. My ink-stained hands dried out quickly and my arm ached a bit.  I ran my hand across the still warm front page and felt sad for the loss of print. I know, I know, I know. Change happens and I’m in. But, that doesn’t mean we aren’t losing something too.

IMG_0275The smell  of the fresh papers reminded me of the chapter about the Journal Inquirer in Dan Barry’s memoir, Pull Me Up.

“Ink. The building smelled of ink, spilled and bled. It was a tart and chemical smell, the kind that weaves into the fabric of your clothes and then under your skin, the kind that comes home with you, sits at the dinner table, tells you constantly what it is that you do.”

IMG_0274I took a deep breath. About 160 papers later, we were off.

Door-to-door delivery sounds easy; it wasn’t. In and out of the car on a cold or wet night has to be awful.  Last winter, the drivers had to deal with four feet of snow.

We learned that many of the people who pay for Globe delivery don’t live in the new, modern apartment buildings around MIT or even in rehabbed triple deckers. We often plopped the papers on to the stoops and porches of older, sagging duplexes.

IMG_0273And, they did plop. I’m not sure why it was nice to hear it from the other side of the door. The sound made me recall watching a paperboy ride his bike down the street in Amherst. His bag was filled with copies of the Hampshire Gazette featuring my first-ever daily story. I recently opened one of my mother’s old books and a stiff copy of the story — abouIMG_0272t how gypsy moth spraying was killing bees —  slid out.

So, the  delivery problem isn’t yet solved, I still haven’t recovered from the all nighter, but I appreciated one last ink bath.

(Kevin Cullen wrote a nice column in the Globe  about his journey.)






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