Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Hi all, this is a short-story\blog that I have been working on. I figured that this would be the best place to share it with everyone. Enjoy!
"$20 dollars on pump 8", I said and then quickly turned and walked away from some generic foreign gas station worker behind a generic orange gas station counter. “Why are gas station counters always some weird color?” I thought, as I pushed open the cold aluminum door and the winter air smacked me in the face. I don't mind, I prefer the cold over the harsh humid days of summer. I quickly walk back to my truck, still thinking about orange countertops.
I started thinking about a friend who has passed away as I unscrewed the gas cap. I don't think about things like most people do. Thoughts just randomly pop into my head, but they are usually inspired by something. For example, I see a Pepsi can laying on the ground, which reminds me of my childhood because we always had Pepsi in our house, ton’s of it, which reminds me of my first job at the corner store two doors down from my house where I got my first job when I was 11 years old. I sorted pop bottles among various other tasks. I made $4.00 an hour, under the table. I worked after school until 6pm or 8pm or whenever the owner, Louie, wanted me to work until. I got free pizza all the time (The store sold pizza. He had a pizza oven and sold huge, over-sized slices of pizza for $1.00 each). My family use to by two or three bags of dough, some sauce, some fresh graded cheese and some pepperoni from that store so we could make our own pizza at home.
I saved up money for two months so that I could buy…… (Drum roll)…. A brand new super-soaker, that’s right a squirt gun, an awesome squirt gun. It had a 180 degree shooting range, and dual tanks. I bought it and I was the king of the super-soakers, for one summer, then I broke it.
0 degree shooting range.
The price on the pump nears two dollars and still not even a gallon in the tank yet. The pump is miserably slow ………..
I think about the time that I learned about priorities while driving. I bought this truck, a 1988 S-10 pickup. It was the second car that I ever bought, actually my parents bought it for me and I was paying them small payments for it. One day I decided to skip the last two classes at school. To do this you had to sneak through the gym to the back doors, crack the door and look for the security guard. You would then wait for him to make his round in front of the gym doors and when he just gets out of sight you run for your car. After that, you time it just right to make it to the alternate entrance to the parking lot, which is a small residential road. Well, as I was making my big escape I was trying to open a bottle of Pepsi and I dropped the bottle. Now an advanced driver will tell you to stop and take care of this mess, they would not tell you to try to pick up the bottle while doing 35 through a parking lot. I did the later and in the process hit a patch of ice and then a telephone pole. It took my Dad months to fix that truck, not to mention a lot of cash.
All of this from a Pepsi can.
So, my friend who passed away, let’s call him Tony, he is the one who I was thinking about. Why? Because the guy on pump 7 is driving a Plymouth Acclaim that looks similar to the car the Tony used to have. We use to drive around in that car and listen to DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince.
I think about the "static electricity blew up my car at the gas pump" myth all the time when I'm at the gas station. What a bunch of crap. It's happened to me before you know, jump out of the car and grab the metal handle and then pull your hand back in pain as you are attacked by this harmless metal object. My car never exploded. I think that the Mythbusters proved that one to be a myth. And yet every time that I jump out of my car at a gas station I remember to ground myself to the car before touching anything.
I peer inside the truck to see how much gas I have accumulated in the tank. The needle has barely moved and my hands feel numb. I stick them inside my coat pocket to try to get some feeling back. What is it - Ten degrees today? Feels like negative five to me. But I'm not a complainer
I can my see my breath collide with gas fumes in the air. Winter is beautiful when you are in a snowy paradise. A winter morning in northern Michigan is what I imagine heaven will look like. You can't hear anything but your own footsteps in the snow, an occasional bird chirping and the gentle movement of water down a small stream. A deer slowly galloping through a field blanketed with snow, the trees barley moving at all. All of the sounds are soothing to the ear. Not here, not in the city. Peace and quiet never comes when you live in the city. There is always a dog barking, or a car radio that is extremely loud. There is always a group kids walking in front of your house, dropping candy wrappers and empty slurpie cups in your yard. There are always people yelling at their kids and throwing cigarette butts out of their windows - Cars honking and people hurrying.
The city devours every little piece of quiet.
I think about kids as I see a mother pull her mini-van up to the pump adjacent to mine, pump 5 I think, I can see the busyness in the back of the van. 3 or 4 or maybe 5 kids in the back, jumping from seat to seat, restlessly playing inside of the van while mom fills up the tank. She opens the door and yells at one of them, a generic “You’d better stop hitting your sister!” or “You don’t want me to come back there!” – I can’t remember. I want kids though, I really do. But, I still feel like a kid. If I had a kid right now we would probably like the same cartoons. Which I’m fine with; I would want nothing more than to a have a mini-me to watch T.V. with, someone who would enjoy everything that I enjoy. When I was little everything that my Dad liked I wanted to like, that’s what kids do. But those are the selfish reasons. I want kids because I want my family to continue. I have been working on my family tree recently, and the reason that I have been working on it is to have it to give to my kids, so that they will know where they came from. It’s good to know where you came from - it reminds you that you are supposed to continue on.
I’m daydreaming again, The lady at the pump next to me probably thinks that I’m on drugs or something, because I’m just starring at the concrete, motionless. I notice a blown fuse lying on the ground I pick it up and toss it into the garbage can. It reminds me of when my friend came and picked me up because I had no headlights when a fuse blew in that old S-10. I remember that day in great detail, but not for any reason that you would think of. I remember it because it was one of the first times that I needed help and a friend came and helped me. I think that was the day that I learned what true friendship is. True friendship, is being available.
The cold is slowly creeping inside my one-size-too-small winter coat. My grandfather gave me the coat four years ago and, let’s just say, I have seen lighter days. But I refuse to temporarily retire it.
The cold obviously does not deter anyone from the gas station. Almost every pump is taken.
I love that even in the dead of winter teenagers will still have radio wars at the gas station. If you leave your radio on with the doors open while you pump gas, then everyone will hear your music, and you will be cool! But what if someone else is doing the same thing as you? Well, you just turn yours up louder of course!
I think that one of the reasons for my extreme obsession with music is this: In any period of time, a minute, an hour, a day, something can go wrong. There is potential for something to go terribly wrong. Inside of a song, nothing can go wrong, it’s perfect, it’s complete, it is exactly what the artist wanted you to hear.
And that’s why I hate CD players that skip.
Is my pump slower than the others? It has to be. Minivan lady has come and gone. Various other drivers have pulled in, pumped two gallons of gas, and have gone. Why am I stuck in this purgatory of petroleum?
“Why does this bother me?”
“Why can’t I just be patient?”
I try to pull it together and just stand there and act like a responsible adult.
"Think about something else."
“Just stop looking at the stupid pump.”
What if this is the last moment in time….. Ok, so it wasn’t, but what about this one…… I think about that a lot. What if I never get to the end of this gas station trip? I think about that I and then I say “You should live every moment as if it where your last”. What does that mean really? I don’t think that I would do anything differently.
In preparation and anticipation for the end of this task, I double check to make sure that I have my debit card in my pocket. I do my check list:
Why am I doing the checklist at the gas station? Unbelievable, Sometimes I amaze myself. I just can’t stop trying to make things perfect when really; nothing ever turns out to be perfect. We live in an imperfect world. I guess that I just have to accept that.
Yes or No .