Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Convenience Store

January 20, 2008 at 12:13 PM | Posted in Notes on Society | 1 Comment
  Last night, The Dude and I walked out of Scooters deep in conversation.  It was bitterly cold–about 9 degrees, methinks. In the middle of our philosophical debate about the necessity of customers (If they ALL fucked off and died, our tip average would go down.  But we’d be happier.) a guy walks over to us.  My immediate concern was security; we had just walked out of the restaurant and locked the door.  Could he be after the deposit that I don’t have on me? 
  But he was drunk yet polite, and asked if one of us could perhaps give him a ride home.  He explained where he lived, and it wasn’t far.  It was also the direction The Dude goes.  But I also know how he is.  The Dude has severe anxiety about most things; the rest he is merely paranoid about.  I made the calculation about my time versus the amount of karma this would earn me, balanced against "Man’s body found in ditch; last scene picking up hitchhiker."
  He offered to pay for gas as well.  His trip, honestly, wasn’t worth any gas money, even by today’s hyper fuel prices.  His house was less than a quarter mile away, but he insisted.  His name was Christopher.  We drove across the street to the mini-mart.  He wanted to fill up my tank, and I protested.  That was way to much.  How am I supposed to balance my fucking karma if he pays me for doing this?  I said, "Five bucks."  He said ten.  I said okay.  I start to pump as he goes in, meanwhile calculating that if at any point he tries to screw me, I can pay for my gas.  I was, in fact, on Elmer, and I intended to fuel up anyway.  He pokes his head out of the door of the store and yells, "Get fifteen!"
  Fine. Whatever.  If he kills me and steals my car, he’ll get farther.  Nigel gets 35 mpg.  My concern was, if he did dump my body, I wanted to grab my flash drive first.  All of my creative work is on it, and I wanted to make sure it was with me; otherwise it would be lost forever, and posterity would be denied my–
  Oh, crap–15.27.  I need to pay attention.
  I go in the store to cover my ass.  If he was going to bolt without paying, I would be the one busted.  In the store, I stand near the door and quietly observe the late Saturday night scene.  My patron is friendly and talking with everyone.  He asks me if I want some coffee, then gets a chilled Starbucks from the cooler.  Although he is drunk and came from the neighborhood dive, I piece together some clues that he isn’t the typical white trash idigenous to this area.  For one, he smells nice.  He is groomed, shaven.  No holes in his pants.  Chilled coffee?  What a pretentious–
  He pays for everything–including a pack of cigarellos for me–with a gold card, all the while chatting with the clerk in an upbeat manner.  We leave.  I drive to his house, and he shuts up not once.  He tells me that he is actually retired–at 38–but started working again because it was driving him batshit.  Yeah, that’s the only reason I work also.  The whole reason he needed a ride is because his wife is at home with a newborn, and he didn’t want her to have to come out in the cold to get him.  He was about to call a cab when he saw me.
  We get to his house, and I believe most of his story; besides, being drunk is like truth serum, innit?  It’s a nice neighborhood, which I knew already.  His house is probably in the 200-225k range, very nice.  A big SUV and a newer Mustang in the driveway.  I should have let him fill my tank.  I watch him go to door.  I figured it was my responsibility, after all; he was kind of my date.
  My first thought is to bitch and moan about my station in life.  I’m dirt poor–hell, I’d love to be just poor, rather than up to my eyeballs in debt–working three jobs, driving a 15 year old beat up car.  Worried about ending up homeless, blah, blah blah…
  But I didn’t feel that way.  My rider was gracious and appreciative, and managed to make me feel good.  One guy, doing another guy a solid.  I drove home happy.

1 Comment »

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  1. sometimes we meet peopel in life to help direct us…mayeb that is what this man was for you…
    *~* :o) if you do not have a smile today… :o) I will give you one of mine… :o) *~*

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