Friday, May 11, 2007

Mike Rix in Boston

Dot Ave is many miles of little details. It boggles the mind to walk along it. It could be in any dense, New England city, but is part of Boston, the biggest city in New England. Boston is The Hub of the Universe. Dot Ave is a spoke in a wheel. It is a blur of activity and motion. It is a commercial artery. It is one of the ties that bind Dorchester into Boston and brings the greater metropolitan identity into every neighborhood through which it passes. There is no other avenue in the City of Boston like Dot Ave.

Shallett’s Laundry got a special order placed from Boston for a sensitive dry cleaning issue. The party who placed the order had heard about the capabilities of Shallett’s Laundry in far off New London, Conn. and the abilities of their delivery driver, the remarkable Mr. Michael Rix. Word travels fast though the dry cleaning grapevine and a reputation like Mr. Rix’s is hard to keep under wraps. He has received many enticing financial offers from rival dry cleaning chains, but he has always turned them down. He is proud to be the face that Shallett’s presents to the world. He is paid well and granted the independence to perform his mission in life as he sees fit. What more can an adventurer like Michael Rix ask for? He is already a hero. He doesn’t want to be a corporate shill or add shine to a marketing angle.

The order in question required both pick up and drop off in a twelve hour period. The address was 1111 Dorchester Avenue, more toward the head of Dot Ave than the tail. There was a stubborn, red curry stain on a chef’s five-button jacket and he was scheduled to host a lunch buffet the next day. Based on the miracles Shallett’s reportedly performs in New London as a matter of routine, the proprietors of Shanti Indian Restaurant decided they needed to call in the best in the business. Shanti’s owner called the owner of Shallett’s and made the arrangements.

The next day, Mr. Michael Rix, laundry delivery man supreme, traveled from New London’s twisty, convoluted streets at 3:00AM. He was headed to the equally twisty and confounding streets of Boston, Mass. He navigated Interstate 93 without difficulty and exited on Morrissey Avenue. There are no streets this wide or congested in southeastern Connecticut. Mr. Rix didn’t loose his bearings. He turned onto Savin Hill Avenue and found Shanti without a hitch in the gears of his van. He picked up the goods and headed back to New London.

Boston is a cosmopolitan city. It is attuned to the rest of the world. Laundry delivery drivers in Boston know Mr. Michael Rix’s reputation. Someone spotted the Shallett’s Laundry van and assumed it could only be our hero on a mission to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide superior service with a smile. The news was spread via CB radio and cell phones set to walkie-talkie mode. Soon, Mr. Michael Rix had a fleet of laundry trucks escorting him along Dot Ave to the city limits. The other vans blocked traffic. It was like a parade.

The chef’s jacket was delivered to Shallett’s Laundry’s headquarters on the corner of Bank Street and Montauk Avenue in New London. The staff got right to work and removed the stubborn, red curry stain. The white jacket fairly sparkled.

Mr. Michael Rix is a humble man at heart and he didn’t enjoy the attention he had garnered driving his official van of office through Beantown. He enlisted his wife to give up the family pick-up for a few hours and left Connecticut’s Whaling City incognito. As a regular commuter with a chef’s jacket hung in the passenger side of his cab, Mr. Rix drove as straight a line as possible to Shanti Indian Restaurant. The chef was so pleased, he kissed Mr. Rix on both cheeks like a French head of state. Mr. Rix navigated Dot Ave like a veteran of the laundry wars and he drove away triumphant. It was another victory for clean clothes delivered promptly with aplomb.

No crowds gathered to watch Mr. Rix deliver the goods. Remember, he was traveling anonymously. If anyone knew Mr. Michael Rix was in town, there would have been reporters and photographers from the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. There would have been television news crews.

The transaction was conducted without fanfare. The chef at Shanti Indian Restaurant hosted his lunch buffet wearing a white jacket that fairly sparkled. It was shinier than the chaffing dishes on the buffet table. There wasn’t a hint of a tint of red curry to be found in the room. It costs a little extra to ship tablecloths and aprons to New London for cleaning, but the proprietors of Shanti Indian Restaurant think it is worth it. Read the reviews they have posted in their windows. Every one mentions how precious every reusable textile appears in this tidy, gracious eatery. You can thank Shallett’s. You can thank Mr. Michael Rix.

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