The smallest moments get me to thinking….
There was water on the floor in front of the drink fountains at the truck stop where I had decided to take a break at.
The puddle had one of those “Wet Floor/Piso Mojado” yellow warning thingee in the middle of it.
There was a young guy standing by it with a mop, wearing his Popeye’s Chicken uniform and hat. He wore glasses and looked to be about 20-23 years old.
He had a shock of curly black hair crammed under his cap and a shade of a mustache as thin as was his frame. His skin had the pallor of the the kind you generally see in those treacherous Canadians that spend too much time indoors playing Xbox and drinking American beer.
I….being the social butterfly that I am, and having never met a stranger in my life or anyone I felt I could not charm, sauntered over towards the young man at his post.
I stopped beside him…looking with gravity at the Piso Mojado….and said “I’ll walk thru that puddle, slip and fall down, bump my head and break my arm”
I looked at him, he looked at me…then I continued “You can be my witness…we’ll sue the truck stop and I’ll split the money with you….50-50”
The young guy looked at me with horror. His eyes even larger from behind his coke bottle lenses.
“Noo!” he cried, grabbing my hand with a protective gesture “Don’t fall down!”
“Retarded” I thought.
Then…the “Good Trey” that keeps vigil over “Dumb-ass Trey” bumped the record in my head to another groove.
I instantly went from jokester to normalster.
“No….I was just kidding” I rescued myself.
“I don’t want you to fall down” the young fellow continued, unabashed from his concern for me. He stared at me and said louder “I don’t want you to get hurt, you have to stand behind the cone”
People were looking at us now.
I felt a flush in my face.
I said “Well, thank you…if it hadn’t been for you, I might have slipped and fell down. Thank you very much….You’re doing a great job”
I patted him on the shoulder and stepped wide around the puddle. “Make sure nobody falls down….keep an eye on that puddle, water spreads on flat floors like this…it might get bigger”
He turned his gaze back onto the wet floor, his grip tightening on his mop.
There’s no way that puddle was getting bigger during this kids vigil.
I didn’t think much about the encounter as I continued to bop around the truck stop looking for beanie weenies and baby wipes. I soon noticed that a maintenance guy in a uniform had shown up beside my new friend with his bag-o-tools and started to work on the hoses under the fountain machine.
I will call the young man Popeye and the maintenance guy Ted….
Popeye was kneeling on the floor, his knees in the puddle. Ted was half under the counter, his butt jerking around and his feet twisting this way and that.
You women know what I mean….Don’t lie.
I know you check out that big sexy man of yours when he’s under the sink fixing something….cussing and banging…! His prominent crack gleaming thru the curly butt hairs from his jockey shorts that he hasn’t changed in 3 days…
Many a baby has been conceived due to that type of foreplay…on the kitchen table. Don’t lie!
Women are pigs….we’re just pieces of meat to you!
Bump the record Good Trey…
Ted sent Popeye on several trips back and forth to different areas of the truck stop to bring him extra tools, towels, buckets, rags…etc.,
And each time…Popeye would run full speed to fulfill each command.
He ran going…he ran coming back…
He was obviously growing increasingly breathless, but with red cheeks and shining eyes…his cap turned around backwards now. He had turned it around when he saw Ted turn his cap around before he went diving under the drink machine.
Popeye was parked under the counter with Ted. All I could see was 2 sets of feet splayed at different angles and 2 butts. But I could hear Popeye asking dozens of questions at high levels, as if though “Mr. Ted”, as Popeye called him, might be deaf. I mean…their heads were only about 6” apart.
I heard Ted mumbling replies to each of Popeye’s inquiries with patience. I saw him withdraw from under the counter and grab a tool that Popeye did not recognize…with a smile….a description…and another smile….and maybe a punch or two.
Popeye never took his eyes off the tool being explained or diverted his attention from Mr. Ted’s lips as each item or action was explained.
Then…they would both dive back under the counter, feet splayed…butt cracks grinning.
I wish now that I could have stayed a little longer and seen Popeye’s expression when the machine had been fixed.
Can’t you see it now?
We would see Ted stand up, his knee’s popping a little bit as he hiked up his pants, twisting them the way we do to get them to fit our big old butts.
Then, he would shake out his legs as if though trying to sling a shoe off.
Popeye would copy him.
But it would be funny when he did it since he was skinny as a rail and HAD no butt.
Can’t you see it now?
Ted would turn his cap back towards the front. So would Popeye.
Then…with a glance at Popeye, holding up his crossed fingers…he would tell Popeye…
“Let’s see if she works”
Popeye would be beaming….! So excited he could have made his own puddle on the floor.
We would see him flashing a big shit-eating grin, tinged with excitement bubbling over!
“No! You do it Ted!” he’d shout…not knowing how to test the drink fountain with all his fingers crossed the best that he could and hopping around from
foot to foot.
We can see the glorious anticipation and thrill in his eyes…we would feel his innocent child like apprehension like a good scare!
Ted would look at Popeye then….to string out Popeye’s excitement, Ted would move his finger towards the button ever so slowly. (We can see Popeye grinning wider now as Mr. Ted’s finger inched closer to the button….don’t we? We grin a little too…..)
As Ted touches the button he jerks his finger back “OW!” he would cry as if he’d just got a shock. (We jumped a little too!)
Popeye would scream in delight and stomp his feet. Ted would grin wider…his eyes lighting up as if though he were a kid again…if only for a second.
Ted would press the button. The Pepsi would run….the water would not.
Popeye shouts and claps Ted on the back and shoulders…a little harder than he should, but Ted doesn’t care (We can see that too. Huh?)
A job well done Mr. Ted and Popeye says I.
I think Popeye is the perfect human being.
He is innocent.
He doesn’t know lies, subterfuge or contempt.
He doesn’t have any concept of what we inferior beings consider when shit happens.
Can we see the innocence behind his eyes? What’s going through his mind? Can we understand at all, that he HAS NO IDEA WHAT A LIE IS?
Popeye may need help along the way, but so do we all…at differing levels.
Popeye might have a rough time growing up and living amongst regular society. Don’t we all?
Popeye got excited when he saw that he and Mr. Ted had done a good job, and that he hadn’t let anyone fall down.
I can see his Mom, looking at her “special” son with pride as he explained to her what a crescent wrench is and about when Mr. Ted got shocked.
I’m going to try and see if I can be like that for a day.
Well….maybe an hour.
You see….I don’t think I can….
I’m not special or innocent like Popeye.
I don’t feel sorry for him….I think he might have it better than me anyhow.
And I’m glad he does….