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The Mobil Incident

uploaded: Sun, Sep 15, 2019 @ 6:50 AM last modified: Sun, Sep 15, 2019 @ 6:50 AM  (add)
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Just a little something that happened recently that caused me to think about perspective.

It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that I like them more when there are less of them.

I do the grocery shopping at eight a.m., because very few others do.

There are three gas stations within one mile of my house but I go to the one that’s three miles away. That one doesn’t play ads or music at the pumps, there are no screens there. That one is on a secondary road. More trees than people. It feels like the fifties there, before absolutely every tiny aspect of every giant business was based on maximum profit over all else. But it’s a major brand and it’s brand new about a year ago. An anachronism on a low trafficked road.

Until it’s not. The other day I was filling up in peace when a young, impeccably dressed, immaculately hygeined man pulled up to the same pump, opposite side. He turned off the engine and turned the radio up, way up, and left his door open as he began filling his tank. I made eye contact, he smiled, seemed like a nice kid. I, though I usually resist, experience has shown me it’s useless, proceeded to tell him why I like coming to this station over more convenient options. He nodded, looked around, I thought for just a moment he got it. Then he said “what, you don’t like music?” “I love music” I replied “that’s why I don’t like being forced to listen to yours”. I didn’t have the time or the inclination to tell him how my brain can’t ‘just ignore’ music or how the really offensive part of ‘his’ music was the commercials it came with.
He turned and started walking toward his volume knob but then apparently thought better of what may have been an impulse to politely comply, turned back to me and said “You know what, deal with it.” I felt the “old man” was implied. “will do” said I. And I shot him.

So – was he bringing joy and entertaining those around him? Or was he disturbing the peace? My guess is neither. He was simply unaware of anyone or anything other than his own immediate gratification.

Oh – and I didn’t actually shoot him. Obviously. (I only thought of that later.) I just hung up the nozzle and left. I can come back later and fill up. Which is what I should have done in the first place. No real point in trying to shift someone else’s perspective. At least not a stranger with an ego to defend. And maybe a gun.

"The Mobil Incident"
by Speck

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