Crammed in the Volvo, my feet resting on top of empty coffee cups, chew tins and dirty old work boots.   Joe drives down Route 30 and dog hair blows all over me, as the air pours in through the open windows.  I wanted it to be a cool fall day, but it isn’t.  It was incredibly warm for September and I was thinking about taking off my vest as we pulled into the gas station.  Pulling into that place is never smooth, and come to think of it I can’t remember if it’s paved or dirt.  Regardless, it’s full of pot holes and bumps and trash.  Above the Gulf station is a level of apartments.  We park in front of a bathtub and on top of empty Doritos bags, plastic Pepsi bottles and beer cans.  Sometimes I’m disgusted with how run-down this place is, but as soon as I see a leaf-peeping flat-lander climb out of their shiny new car, I embrace this part of Vermont. 

     The store is busy with locals getting gas for the weekend and shootin’ the shit over coffee.  I head straight back to the cooler, I need hydration.  Slightly hung-over this morning, I need fluids something fierce.  Joe and I stood in line silently watching the boy behind the register ring people up.  He looked entirely too young to be working .  I opened my purple Vitamin Water and took a huge gulp, sometimes while waiting in line I feel like I’m going to pass out.  I hear the big fat woman that is always working there ask a customer “Gettin’ into any trouble today?”  “Nah, I did that last night!”  a grizzled man chuckles.  Why? Do I wonder, why do some people always ask if people are ‘getting into trouble?’  It sounds so juvenile and stupid, like doing something wrong or getting caught means you had fun.  Her loud voice disturbs my thoughts “I already got into trouble today myself!”  I look up and notice that her thumb is bloody mess.  She’s standing back instructing the boy how to use the laser scanner that she doesn’t even know how to properly use.  Blood is soaking through the bandage while she’s waving her hands around and all I can think about are blood born pathogens and disease.  I haven’t even had my coffee yet, this is too much.  I nudge Joe and we exchange a look that means, this is going to be funny once we get back out to the car. 

     Driving to the Diner, we pass a yard sale.  I yell my usual “slow down!” so I can scope it out, then decide that it’s all junk and say “forget it”.  As Joe speeds up he tells me how he ran into our neighbor this morning outside our apartment.  He was already drunk or still drunk from the night before and thrilled that he just bought an enormous blow up Budweiser Blimp from the yard sale.  What on earth would possess a forty-something year old man to purchase that?!  Once again I’m disgusted with humanity.