Home > The Goofy Book 3: The Real Thing > Trust At The Gas Station

Trust At The Gas Station

Yesterday (a completely irrelevant point in time) I was at the gas pump expensively filling up my car because I have a difficult time moving my vehicle without fuel… maybe you’ve encountered the same problem. While my car’s gas tank guzzled up its favorite four dollar beverage, I took the opportunity to “wash” the bird crap off my windows with an equally filthy squeegee that the gas station has so thoughtfully supplied to their customers. The squeegee’s resting place is a dirty bathtub of previously removed bird poop, dust, grime, mixed with what seems to be some claimed blue “cleaning” solution. So realistically, I’m wasting my idle time.

I soon heard a tiny voice say, “What are you doing?” I’m not sure how a voice can be tiny when it is nothing more than a series of audibly perceived vibrations, but I instinctively knew the source must be a curious, small child or perhaps a squeaky, thirty-five year old midget. I looked over towards the adjacent convenience store parking lot and hanging out of a SUV door was a little girl with a puzzled expression on her face.

“Just cleaning my windows,” I replied. Kids have an unnecessary and increasingly bothersome compulsion to never let their questions be answered. They also tend to wet the bed and become cultists to Happy Meals, but that’s neither here nor there.

“Why are you cleaning them?” she inquired.

I thought it was inherently obvious that the splattered white feces polka-dotting the exterior of my car wasn’t appealing to me or to any older females that may be checking me out (when aren’t they? I love myself haha). However, I still provided the basic answer, “Because they are dirty.”

“Is your car loud?” This question actually caught me off guard. As much as I follow my linearly tangent mind that leads me from one distraction to the next, I couldn’t understand the thought process that went through her mind. Unless of course I was in the presence of a nine year old gearhead prodigy attentive enough to notice the abnormal rumble of a Kia engine with the intake/exhaust modifications that I had made in the past, then I wouldn’t have been taken back.

I chuckled to myself as I said, “It used to be;” reminiscing of earlier times when the sounds of a fully modified exhaust system would bring VA State Police into an unwarranted, raging frenzy.

Now about this time the little girl’s mother, who I can only assume was inside the store drooling at the chocolate covered donuts on display, came out to the SUV, grabbed her daughter by the arm, and promptly took her back inside. I’d like to note that she was of the absurdly large redneck women type inexplicably found in abundance wherever I happen to be living. And no, I don’t mean you can drive by my house and find those permanently scowling mammoths here maintaining their Cheetos and Beer diet.

After my inquisitive little conversational partner was gone, I began wondering why the mother so intently retrieved her daughter from the open truck. Normally I’d assume that this naturally surly woman thought her daughter was being a nuisance, pestering people from the SUV as they passed. The other possibility I considered, the one that prompted me to write this uneventful narrative, is that the mother is one of those individuals with the ever popular fear that any stranger should considered a sexual predator, you know, just to be safe and holistically paranoid. Her helpless offspring in an open vehicle chatting away with me of all people* and who knows if I would have walked over there and snatched her up without any struggle.

The safety of the children is a legitimate concern for any parent, especially to the newer parents out there because we can’t risk losing them to Darwin while they’re solving a puzzle with small pieces or eating an always dangerous hot dog because of its shape (I’m serious! Look it up). But in regards to child molesters and other disgusting people, how many parents instantly assume the worst case scenario when they see their child talking to a stranger? What happened to the good ol’ days I heard about when you could trust your neighbors; when little boys and girls would be allowed to wander around town or go out on miniature adventures into the country side as long as they were home by supper? I know we’ve seen an increase in the jail bound perverts about the land, and I may be partially ignorant, but whenever I have kids I hope I don’t turn them into jumpy, skittish, worriers afraid to talk to somebody they don’t know… else, how are they going to meet anyone?

I take an optimistic view that most people should be met with at least an ounce of trust, otherwise we’re all doomed to be alone. Pessimistically believing that by the time we realize someone shouldn’t be trusted it’s too late isn’t helping our sanity or trust in the goodness still found in this world. Maybe if we collectively stop fretting over every possible bad thing that could happen, we would all get along just a little bit easier.

*See “Chapter 17: Predator” for more of my interactions with crazy people (only available, for now, in my soon-to-be-released book unless you ask really, really nicely).

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