Sunday, January 9, 2011
Random Acts of Grouchiness
As I pulled into the gas station Sunday, a rusted, beat-up truck came in from the other direction. For some reason, I expected him to allow me--older, female--to go first, but he wasn't that kind of guy. After a moment of fuel-station chicken, I eased back and waved him on.
I'm not sure why he was in such a hurry, because as I got out of my car, a young woman in gray sweats exited the passenger side of the truck and approached me.
"Would you have five dollars?" she said. "I have my one-year-old son in the car and we don't have any gas."
Then why are you out driving around? Despite my uncharitable thought, I reached for my wallet, only to remember I didn't have it with me.
"Sorry," I said. "I don't have any cash."
She approached a couple of other people with similar results before returning to the truck, where Mr. Lemme-Go-First was waiting, nozzle already in hand. I'm not sure what for, since he had no money. She shook her head and he looked pissed.
I crossed the asphalt, inserted my credit card into the slot and said, without making eye contact, "Go ahead and fill it up." Then I crossed back and began filling my own car.
When his tank was full, he hopped in his truck and peeled out of there like he thought I was going to flag him down and repossess his gasoline.
People will now leave me flattering comments, saying how nice I was, but I wasn't. Not really. The truth is, I'm better at "random" than I am at "kind." I couldn't tell you why I even did that, other than I've been that broke, and I've been with that guy, and even though I know that fifty bucks worth of gas is a drop in the bucket of what that girl needs to turn her life around and prevent that little boy from growing up to be just like his douchebag dad, I figure a bellyful of gasoline in her truck means one thing she doesn't have to worry about for a couple of weeks one Ohio winter.
And that's what I can do.