Gas Station

We’d been on the road for over ten hours. Tired. Thank goodness the dogs were riding peaceably. Two more hours, maybe two and a half we’ll be able to settle for the night.

For a van, this one’s pretty kickass, decent tech and the guts when I need it. Never thought I’d be saying that about a van, but there you have it.

The road was clean and traffic light. Everyone was behaving. But it was a dark night! The flashing of the dashed white road lines were hypnotic, teasing my mind into complacency.

I let my passenger pick the music. I was driving her across the country for her big move. And though it’s been a long stretch, we had a fair bit of energy left.

This was a stop for gas. The dogs were sleeping so it’d be quick.

Taking a spot by the pump, I shut off the engine and just sat still, not thinking. So nice!

It seemed like the night itself was resting with us. The headlights on the other side of that fence on the ever living interstate were a million miles away, speaking to themselves.

My passenger went to prepay for the gas as I let my gaze wander.

Closing my eyes a stretch, I opened them to look around. There was an old pickup with a camper. A hunk of junk, no, it’s somebody’s home.

I studied it for a couple minutes. It seemed like it was in pretty decent shape, for what it is. It made me wonder. Sure it must have its own difficulties, but maybe it’s pretty cool not having to answer to anyone.

That’s when I noticed the guy in the doorway to the convenience store. He didn’t look disheveled. But I could tell the truck belonged to him. His clothes were worn, like his rig.

When she came out of the door, he started to talk with her. I studied them. It seems just like they were having words.

When they both looked over to me, I decided to get out of the van. She didn’t look to be in danger, but sometimes awkward situations can develop, or worse. So I stepped out and leaned against the side, keeping a casual eye on the two.

That’s when she reached into her purse and handed something to him.

When she returned, she told me he had asked for money.

(From my trip with my sister a few weeks ago.)

(I did not read notifications today. I always feel calm on those days.)

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Fueling

The “Check Engine” light was on, like it was a quarter of the time. It’s nuthin’. But he was never sure.

His old red pickup had been through its paces. But it didn’t look as weather worn as the vintage camper that rode piggyback.

Surprisingly, with mostly wind and sun faded finish, duct tape patches marked the relatively few leaks that would compromise the structure or comfort within. Old style quality, I guess.

He was heading north to find places to park for the summer and was shooting for Elko to pick up odd jobs to get him up into Idaho, maybe Washington, but came up short on fuel.

So he pulled ‘er into a truck stop somewhere in Nevada, picking a well lit spot near the front door. He wasn’t a lurker and didn’t want to get lost in the shadows.

His air conditioning didn’t work, so he traveled arid regions mostly at night. He preferred it to a degree. There was less traffic. And he felt kinship with the truckers, living on the road, sleeping in their vehicles.

But this night, he needed gas money.

After locking the pickup, he jammed his hands in his pockets and stood in the brightly lit entryway. In some ways, he was able to know the people he would ask to increase a positive probability of success.

It wasn’t long until a couple pulled up to one of the pumps in their Toyota van. The man sat in the driver seat while the woman climbed out to prepay for gas inside.

He watched her enter, but maintained focus on the whining of the truck traffic on the lonely interstate highway.

The night was dark with bright stars. The dry air was already cold as the late spring winds dropped from snow speckled mountains, silhouetted in starlight.

He was aware as she came back out.

” ‘scuse me. Would you be able to help me out with some gas money?”

She jumped, but nearly imperceptibly. She looked at him, then over to the old camper.

He looked at the van. The driver noticed them in the doorway. It was a long quiet moment. The driver stepped out of his vehicle closed the door, leaning on it with his arms crossed.

“Yes I can..” she opened her bag. After a few seconds, she handed him a fifty. “I hope this helps.”

“It does. Thanks.” He pocketed the bill.

The diesel rattled as he maneuvered it to the pump.

He added forty to the tank. Going in to pay, he grabbed a bag of chips and a giant soda.

At the end of the transaction, he taxied to the on ramp. The pickup growled as he pushed through the wind to an acceptable speed, into the night.

A Brief Moment

Someone posted that losing sleep will reduce certain elements of the immune system by seventy percent. Interesting what we can find here.

As the years build, I’ve boldly and bravely stepped up to new ventures and adventures only to have them mysteriously crumble or develop at such a moderate rate, reducing viability as a suitable program due to inefficiency.

So with all of my shipwrecks you’d think I’d be frustrated. Well, I can be, when it feels like I just can’t get it right, it builds a certain amount of doubt, both in myself and in the world. It can lead to the familiar feelings I’ve had all my life. It doesn’t make sense, information overload.

Because I naturally tend to trust, knowing from experience that the world is full of beings who will gladly take advantage of me, I have developed a “mistrust.”

But even my mistrust is foreign to me, dysfunctional. It’s an awkward mistrust because I still want to take things at face value. But the whole scenario can become wearing after three years, if you can imagine, making me psychologically exhausted, not knowing for certain the existence of a better life.

In my history, I’ve seen some of what the seeds of potential money and success can do to people. I also know that there is abundance for all here. But there’s a trade that needs to happen.

It seems like giving certain things up. But the gains would be beyond comprehension.

I don’t know what the investment or the reward would be.

I mentioned potential futures. Self extinction is always a possibility. And it might be quite innocent, on the surface.

I drive a fair amount. There are some who double my weekly miles. But even if I drove a mile a week, all it would take is a single inattentive moment to utter self destruction.

This is a thought I have on many mornings when I decide to make the bed, or straighten up the pillows on the couch. It’s for the sake of the survivors. I know, it sounds strange.

And it might be. But several times a week I think about how fragile my existence is. This may play a subconscious role in why I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, in general. I would guess that nearly everyone deserves a pleasant word, given they may not be around the next minutes.

But my mind gets tired and becomes skeptical when I see all the mistrust and selfishness. And I try that out. It’s easy, and somewhat natural to adopt observed behaviors. There are no manuals. So there’s no telling that even if we perceive that we are doing everything right that we are doing anything right.

I hate that.

But I better get some quality sleep. That, I know is right.

As a Kid

I’d get an occasional fit of anger and frustration.

I’d clench my hands, squeeze my eyes, and tighten my body.

It’s probably no more than the typical fit by any child. But I remember the feeling. It was horrible. It was the most emotion a person can feel at once, still is.

But it was never addressed properly, treated with snickers or punishment by parents and adults. They just didn’t know.

Like I said, it has barely cropped up at all in my adulthood. But in the past couple of years, that feeling of helpless fury has been showing up here and there.

New management styles at work, sick cat making a mess of the back room, then refusing medicine, design projects building up, pending car repair, dental appointment, money always, healing digestion, and traffic have been working together to reawaken the beast.

I’m kind of afraid of what might happen on the road with it. In a blind moment, could I be dangerous to myself or others?

I have been living without this thing for years. I just want to be left alone. Take these ridiculous problems. I’m not in crisis. I’m not angry. I’m not sad. I just want to manage things as I have, in peace.

Sometimes There is Fury

I have an explosive fury. You haven’t seen it here. It just doesn’t come out often.

Some might stand with their hands on their hips and brag about this. But I hate it.

At most I might see it every few years. Late years it’s been more. I’ve never hit anyone in anger, nor has there ever been a danger of it. It happens mostly when I’m alone and manifests as angry shouts cussing and a pure release of frustration that feels like hatred.

I’d never witnessed anyone as extreme and have at times wondered if I was going to die from it. I hate it. It comes from a buildup of frustration.

You haven’t seen anything close to it here. It only hurts me. I don’t use it as a weapon or any sort of tool. It will not be channeled to my benefit.