For the last few years the same tenant has been in the house next door: a parent and their kids, with a revolving door of others that join the brood periodically. And then there’s the truck: a little old truck, jacked up and reassembled, judging by the mismatched paint, with parts cannibalized from other trucks. What makes it conspicuous isn’t the colour palette but the noise. In a word, the thing is loud. Obnoxiously so. I’m not sure if it’s one of those mufflers that’s intentionally loud or simply broken and loud but, for whatever reason, you can hear the thing coming for blocks. And you can hear it going for blocks. My windows actually rattle when it pulls in and out, and because that happens about 37 times a day, it’s something you notice.


Having ample opportunity to listen to the thing come and go, and being in possession of an enquiring mind, I can’t help but wonder what could possibly require such comings and goings. Maybe they don’t have a coffee maker or a kettle and are forced to visit 7-Eleven to avail themselves of tasty hot beverages? Perhaps my neighbour buys 20-packs of Timbits in singles to better draw out gratification? Maybe the kids take lessons — several separate short lessons per day — which are broken by ten-minute pit-stops at home? Aren’t psychologists always complaining that children in today’s society are over-scheduled? And then it came to me… what if my neighbour provides a valuable service to the community? Dial-A-Sandwich. Suddenly it all made sense.


Any time, day or night, Dial-A-Sandwich is there. Some prefer a wee tipple, a glass of wine or beer, but others crave a big fat… sandwich. Whether it’s a six-inch, foot-long, or mega-sandwich, you’ll have it in twenty minutes or less (delivery times only guaranteed in Greater Nanaimo). If you set their phone a’chiming, Dial-A-Sandwich will be there.


I’ve been unable to find my neighbour’s service in the phone book, online, or even on Facebook, so they must maintain their bustling business strictly on word of mouth. There must be a lot of hungry people out there. And those must be some mighty high-grade sandwiches.


Sometimes in the summertime, the pungent, sweet smell of sandwiches will waft through their bedroom window and into our back yard. When it’s time for the grownups to eat their sandwiches, they take care not to do it in front of the youngsters, leaving them on the other side of the door to fend for themselves. My neighbour actively participates in the kids’ play, voice projecting through the door to adjudicate disputes. The sound of that voice projects itself through windows and walls in much the same way that the truck does.


This is the only thing that doesn’t make sense. If I were taking delivery of sandwiches — no judgement here, long ago I may have been in a room with a sandwich myself — I’d probably want discretion. Society accepts pizza delivery or Dial-A-Bottle, but sandwiches haven’t gained that kind of acceptance in the mainstream. I don’t think I’d want everyone in the neighbourhood hearing Dial-A-Sandwich pull up and then leave again ten minutes later. Not exactly flying under the radar.


No, on second thought I think I’ll stick with the 7-Eleven and Tim Hortons theory.

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