All I wanted was a serving of Tater Babies. Big fat wedge fries. A special treat for my lunch.
The Pony and I sat waiting at the newly-installed stoplights of downtown Hillmomba. A design so poor that even directionally-challenged Mrs. Hillbilly Mom could have whipped up a better plan on a napkin with a toothpick and a single packet of ketchup in the span of fifty-nine seconds. There sat T-Hoe, seven cars back, blocked from the straight-ahead green arrow by the left-turn awaitees. A bare expanse of straight-ahead lane mocked us.
"Darn this stupid light. I can see my very special parking space, empty, just waiting for me to pull in. Watch some yayhoo grab it before I can get to it." The lefties inched forward. I gassed T-Hoe. And our straight arrow turned into a red ball. A club cab truck whipped into the parking lot of the gas station chicken store on the other side of the intersection. So close. But yet so far. "Watch him take my spot."
Miraculously, Trucker took the spot beside my chosen parking space. I like it because it's level. The one closest to the door. The others are on an incline of about 40 degrees. It is hard to heft open T-Hoe's heavy door against the pull of mighty gravity. So hard that it saps the energy provided by a serving of Tater Babies. But I had my spot. I was headed through the intersection toward it as that truck unloaded a short little driver, a pudgy mama, and two tweenage boys. "Watch. I bet they're going to get chicken." Chicken that resided behind the hot glass with my Tater Babies.
I was on a timetable. The Pony needed to be at the bowling alley at noon. My mom was meeting me there to receive the hand-off of a 44 oz. Diet CHERRY Coke. I run on a schedule like the railroad. No traffic to throw me off like a cross-town bus. No fog to stack me up in a holding pattern like the airlines. I had budgeted a cushion of time for a monkey wrench thrown into my plan. But that had just been used up in an extra stop for Chex Mix pretzels. I could not afford to wait behind inexperienced chickeners. I entertained the thought of foregoing my Tater Babies. Momentarily. No. It was Saturday. I wanted my treat.
When I stepped through the portal of the gas station chicken emporium, my worst fears were realized. There stood the Trucker family in front of the hot food case, mouth-breathing, discussing the merits of various fried fowl selections. One junior Trucker wanted sixteen hot wings. Diminutive father Trucker wanted two legs and a wing. Mama Trucker wanted nachos and a cup of cheese sauce. Junior Trucker Part Deux two wanted a two-piece dinner.
Seriously. Who brings the whole family into a cramped convenience store to stand at the hot food case like it's an all-you-can-eat buffet? The aisles are narrow in that place, my friends. Space is at a premium. And when it comes to floor tile, like toilet paper in a women's restroom, there is not a square to spare. Customers sucked in their guts and inched between the Trucker family and the liquor shelf in order to approach the line at the register. I remained at Mama Trucker's left elbow. Nobody comes between Mrs. Hillbilly Mom and her Tater Babies.
After a consensus of one decreed that they would NOT be waiting for twenty minutes for the frying of the hot wings, only seven of which were currently available, Mama Trucker banished the boys to the truck. There was a brief kerfluffle as she chastised the lad behind the counter for the discontinuance of cheese sauce for her nachos. Then she and Tiny Trucker commenced to jawing about the cute moonshine jug that rested on the top shelf behind them, a brown earthenware Jed-Clampett-looking vessel about six inches high. Tiny Trucker wanted the jug, but not the alcohol in it. Mama Trucker declared that she would not spend that much money on such a jug, even with liquor in it.
The dilemma was cut short when the chicken-grabber finished rounding up the Trucker order. Thank the Gummi Mary, they did not want Tater Babies, only three orders of which were left.
A woman can only take so much.