It is that time of year where the day job is ridiculously busy. My wife has started her school year again and the kiddos are up far too early for them to be considered humans anymore. Long story short, I am crazy tired. Purple bags under the eyes, saying, “uuuggghhh” at the slightest inconvenience, my writing is relying heavily on onomatopoeia to convey a message; that sort of tired.
Due to this fatigue, I cannot guarantee the subject of today’s People on the Highway installment actually exists or was some sort of imagined mirage. I really, really hope he is a corporeal being though. I think the world is a better place with him in it.
Today’s tale: The Gas Station
“There are too many gas stations,” I muttered to myself about a imagined slight. What is wrong with the number of gas stations? I have no idea, but at the time it seemed offensive. The boys are kicking away in the back seat, the baby gabbing about what I assume is a well articulated defense of the state of gas stations and the firstborn signing along to They Might Be Giants and I could not be prouder. We are parked at an intersection with gas stations everywhere. I thought they were everywhere at least. There was one gas station to my left and what was once a gas station to my right. It closed due to the market not being able to support two gas stations at one intersection. There are exactly the right number of gas stations apparently. The baby made a good case.
At the gas station is a yellow sedan. A banana yellow sedan. This thing is visible from space (if the ISS was looking for it with a scope, but under that condition most things would be visible from space). The passenger seat is occupied by a gray haired lady, smiling from ear to ear. The source of her laughter is standing next to her, minding the pump.
I have never written a more important description than this; Hippie Santa Claus is filling the tank. A rotund man in a purple shirt that just reaches his waist is leaning over the yellow car and telling his wife jokes as they wait on the pump. He is wearing camouflage shorts that are tattered and fraying at the ends. His beard is a glorious sight. Bushy, gray and easily able to house an entire family of birds if needed. From the look of him, he would be happy to help the birds out in such a manner. He is telling the funniest clean joke ever; like the polar opposite of the Aristocrats joke but equally amusing.
Hippie Santa obviously calls his car ‘the sled’. He’s never owned a car that did not require him to keep jumper cables, a quart of oil and ready to go coolant in the trunk. He does not mind that at all though. He only needs the car to take him from point A to point B and if something happens along the way, well, that’s just part of the adventure. He calls his wife his “old lady” in the most loving way imaginable. They spend their time donating to charity and hiking majestic mountain trails.
He spends most weekdays as a volunteer coordinator for local non-profits. He doesn’t charge a dime for his time. He made his wealth as Manitoba elk wrestler and subsequently funneling the profits into hedge funds and high risk/high reward investments. His elk wrestling days long behind him, he now belly laughs through conference calls and scheduling meetings. His wife runs a charity that sends mobile libraries to rural areas. The two met in Taos 1989; he was touring with a short lived alt-polka band and she was on a walk-about trying to find herself. They found each other and put down the accordion and walking stick bought a junker car to take them on their first adventure. They made it all the way to Pueblo, Colorado before that car died a most dramatic death.
Many years and many cars later, they are a little grayer, a little larger, and as happy as can be.
Thanks for reading!