I saw something the other day I didn’t know existed anymore. I was at the gas station, which is the hub of activity in a white trash neighborhood. It not only serves as a location to gas up your 92 Ford topaz with sarah wrap replacing the passenger side door window, but it’s a shopping center for locals with OWI’s who don’t want to walk all the way to an actual grocery store. I was there for my second energy drink of the day and for the sake of getting away from the drawing table for a few minutes. I say that last part to separate myself from the white trash. Sure I may dress like I am white trash and live like I am white trash and live in a white trash area…but I do not have children by multiple partners, and that is the fact that I cling to that makes me not white trash. I tell myself this in order to sleep at night.
Anyway, at the gas station I saw something I thought was extinct. I saw three boys ages 8-10 on bicycles with slurpies. They were out in the fresh air clowning around and enjoying something as harmless as a slurpie. Two of them were lackadaisically taking big looping left to right circles on their bikes with the drink in one hand as they waited for their friend. They were harmlessly clowning around and having fun. I thought back to those days and started doing the math. I bet if you added up all the time I have spend in my entire life having fun it is about 6 years total. 4 hours a day after school from kindergarten through 8th grade, about ten hours total out of high school. The first three years after I graduated High school, the first year I met my ex-wife, and about 100 hours total since then. But watching these kids gave me some hope. As the third kid came out one of then called over “why did you take so long?” the child replied “because you’re a douche”. …because …you’re a douche… The good natured ribbing of youth gave me some hope, after all is this so different than how I behave with my friends?
While I have spend countless hours in one aggravating task after another since I reached adulthood, I have not “grown up” so much. I am still childlike, have friends that have a modicum of childishness yet in them. And I have no parents to reign back my joy. I can behave in any way I see fit, stay up as long as I want, buy any toy I feel like, and in fact I spend all day drawing comics. I am not old and watching my life slip away, I am the alpha child. While I envy these kids, I am in fact everything these kids would like to be. It was a poetic and reassuring Epiphany. and then one child got too close with his bike and said “excuse me sir”.
SIR …He…called me …sir. Instantly my back started to hurt, I felt hyper aware of whatever ear hair was re-sprouting from the carnage of the last time I butchered up my inner ear ridding myself of it. I felt lines on my face, and visions of mounting bills weighted on my shoulders. I looked at my reflection in the gas station window. I saw three kids and a creepy old guy who had been watching them for five minutes. I tried to shake it off and I said “you don’t have to call me sir” and the kid….the kid says ” okay …ma’am” and they all laughed. They laughed at me with squeaky prepubescent voice boxes. One gurgled up some slurpie while laughing as he was taking a sip at the same time his fat little buddy chastised me. Three little ghouls giggled at me. I found myself in an argument with three boys ages 8-10. An argument I could not win. Sure one or maybe two 8-10 years old boys I could have lowered myself to the level of and dispatched by mocking their “chicken fat” or their “clothes their blind mother dressed them in” …but not three. Three is too many, they each have time think of a juvenile insult while the others fire off theirs…what’s more, they have a built in cheering section. They each have TWO buddies to laugh after asking if the ford topaz was my car and I had no one to laugh for me when I would reply “no but we can take it and look for your dad”. I have neither the back up, nor the firepower to weather such a struggle. They in fact got tired of taunting me and the one goes “let’s go,we have to be home in half an hour”. This was the coldest cut of all. Don’t you see? Don’t you see the diabolical cruelty of that? He laid it all right out there…their lives superiority to mine. THEY not only had better things to do, they had someone waiting for them to come home. This child has in essence said ” Sir we are too busy with our childhood fun to waste anymore time on you, and furthermore…no one cares if you ever come home…so there”. That is what, essentially, he said.
I. ..could not let this go unresponded too…”take your time, it will take me longer than a half an hour to sleep with your mother”. It was an…ineffective insult. They had no concept of whether taking longer than half an hour to have sex was a good or bad thing…and as I now look back, I am not sure myself. This confusion overshadowed any sting that might have been felt by my claim that I would be sleeping with their mother. I decided to use my age, my experience against them. Turn my weakness into a strength. I would end the fray with something more long term, something that would stay with them and haunt them when they had all but forgotten about it. “the first time you have sex you won’t be able to find the spot and you’ll lose your erection from fear and nervousness.” Yelling this only gave me an out of body experience where I saw myself yelling that in a busy gas station at three children. It was a mercy that they replied with another taunt and kept my previous sentence from being the last thing hanging in the air. “I won’t have any trouble finding it cuz your moms so stretched out”. My attempt to bean them with my partially drank energy drink hooked to the left as they peddled off.
I walked back home and resisted to urge to pick the can back up and see how much hand not spilled out. Perhaps a bit less caffeine at my age would be best.