Birmingham, Alabama...January 2nd, 2015
Dreary going out and violent coming back.
Follow the red patches down from Tuscaloosa to the bottom of the screen...me and the Big Man are between Livingston and York...at a gas station. In the dark.
Just as we passed Eutaw the bottom fell out...dropped liked an atom bomb. I had about a foot of visibility...and 20 miles to the next exit. I followed the red tail lights of the car in front of us as closely as I dared. You just don't know how people are going to react when they go blind...they will just stop...even on the interstate...or they'll pull off on the shoulder and suddenly you're not on the road anymore...with no where to go. You wait for the car behind you, doing the same thing, to get up in your trunk.
I have spent my life on the interstates and highways of The South and the US. If I asked an actuary he would probably tell me I should be nervous every time I get behind the wheel at this point...but, it's one of the most comfortable places I can think of. Not Saturday night...not since I ignorantly climbed up on the Red Mountain Pass a few years ago have my nerves been that racked in a car. I had the Big Man on board...of course, he was passed out in the back.
Thank God...we fishtailed and slid our way to the next exit and a Chevron station.* It was a gathering of shell shocked drivers...soaked and bug-eyed. There were flash flood warnings, tornado warnings**...it was raining sideways, screaming through under the awning. The Big man just wanted a sandwich...a ham and cheese sandwich from the in store Subway.
"You want any mayonnaise or mustard?"
"No sir...just ham and cheese...and bread of course."
We weren't gettin' back on the road anyway...and I was just glad he was eating (more on that later). I just need a cup of coffee...but they didn't have any coffee cups...let that sink in...no coffee cups at a gas station. Then the lights went out!
"E'erybody stay where you at...Lock the doh," the girl barked from behind the counter.
Her first instincts were procedural...to protect the store's property and shield herself from any responsibility for it's loss. Then the lights flickered back on...and her better instincts kicked in. Standing elevated, like in a pulpit, looking down above the crowd gathered at the door...
"Man fu****** this...I gotsta go!"
"Daddy can I eat my sandwich in the car?"
As we went through the unlocked door, I heard her...
"No. No. You do not need to talk ugly to me."
Anyway that's what happens when the lights go out at the curb store. This is what happens when you steal...
Other than some spicy fried chicken from Popeye's...that was the trip back. The trip out began with a bag of candy corn. We'll get to all that...
*Just so you know adamparsons...we filled up for 1.89 a gallon. Adamparsons has a fascination with our gas prices...he tracks 'em like a trainspotter.*Tornado watch means the conditions are right for a tornado...tornado Warning means one has touched down in the area.