Serenity Test: FAIL!

The Tall Man's Hooptie

by Screedler on December 9, 2010

This should have been posted as Screedler Vents.  I’m not sure how soon I will post this.  Maybe never.  But, I am going to write it now, while I’m still bent out of shape.  It’s Dec 7th at 11:30pm and I have just come home after a 9 hour shift at my place of employment.  I went in today at 12:30, so I would usually be pulling into my abode around 10.  But, I am late tonight because I opted to be a good Samaritan.   The following is why I am so steamed. 

As I am closing the store, I witness what we around here call a hooptie pull into our parking lot right in front of the our huge plate glass windows.  The car is in obvious duress.  Before I officially lock up the store and turn the alarms on, I venture out into the parking lot to pull my truck up close and let my engine run for a couple of minutes as it is well below freezing outside.  While walking out the door, I ask the gentleman bent over his car if he needs some help and recognize him as one of our regular shoppers.  He frequents the store anywhere from one to five times a day.  He has a constant scowl on his face and is usually towing a dirty, grungy, feral child with him that I can only guess is his grand daughter as she is about four and he about 55.  His unintelligble screams at her can be heard through the store daily as she wants this and that and this.   I often feel sorry for her and worry how she is treated by this monster.  He has long stringy hair that has never been washed and wears an Vietnam era army jacket which I surmise he got at a thrift store.  But tonite he has left his jacket and is clad only in a stained wife beater tee.  I can tell he at least has some underwear on as it is barely covering the crack of his bent over ass.  He is a big man and this is a very close approximation of what he looks like:


Being alone and closing the store I admit this guy is somewhat disarming to me, he being about 6′ 5″ and obviously the possesor of mental issues.  But a voice in my head says “Man it’s freezing ass cold out here, you have got to offer him some help – remember do unto others”.  So I ask him if I can help and it becomes obvious he has a flat.  He says he may need my help and may need another jack to get his car far enough off the ground to get a donut on it.  I tell him no problem and will help him as soon as I lock up the store which should take about five more minutes.  As I go back inside to turn off the lights and lock up I’ll admit I try to take my time hoping he will be successful with his tire change and out of my hair by the time I walk out.  But alas, he is not and as I lock the door I notice something and say “Hey man, your other tire is flat too”.  He looks around and starts cussing and mumbling and I ask him if I can call a tow truck for him or (and I almost chocked on these words) give him a ride.  He says he sure would appreciate a ride and that he lives just 1 mile down the road.  I say sure no problem and then he adds non chalantly that he has to get to a gas station that is in the opposite direction of his house because he has to get his wife some smokes.  I say isnt there a store on the way to your house but he insists they are already closed for the evening.  I should have manned up right then and said ” Look dude, I’ll give you a ride home but the store is really out of my way so take it or leave it”.  But I didn’t.  All the time in my head thinking hey it will only take 5 minutes and this guy is obviously having some bad luck. 

So off to the store we go and on the way he complains about his wife and how this is all her fault and how mean and heartless she is to make him get out in this weather because he is a suffering diabetic.  As we approach the gas station he looks at me with crazy eyes and says – Damn! I forgot the gas can! and starts looking around in the back of my truck and frantically saying he forgot it and all I can say is -“So not only do you have two flat tires, you were out of gas too!!!”   Luckily I did not have a spare gas can in the back.  He just hurumphs and snorts gets out of  the truck and goes into the gas station.  I can see him walking around in there for a good 10 minutes and talking to the attendent and when he finally comes out he jumps back in the truck and has 2 candy bars and a yoohoo……and he is a frackin diabetic.   I look at him and say did you forget about your wife’s cigarettes and again he curses and apologizes and says he must go back in and get them or she will kill him – this takes another 5 minutes and I can see he is giving the attendant a hard time.  So finally he gets back in and I don’t say anything and just start back the way we came and start asking him directions to his house.  We turn right at my store and take a bunch of back roads and wind up back on the main road just a half mile away (this took another 5 minutes of turns) and guess what we are looking at – an open store (CVS).  I don’t say anything and he says take a left and we proceed down the road and after about 5 minutes and 3 miles I ask him if we are getting close and he says yeah its just a few blocks ahead so I slow down thinking he is going to tell me where the next turn is and we just keep on going , for a couple of more mile, finally I say is it on the right or left side of the road – he says “I think its on the right” (WTF!!!).  Finally after another mile he says its right here and points to a dirt road coming off the highway and immediately I am using my butt sensors to detect if my handy dandy box cutter is still in my back pocket.  We pull up to his dimly lit dwelling and he gets out  and says  a curt “thanks” and nothing else before slamming the door.   I peeled out of his dirtway like the Dukes of Hazzard, grateful for my life and wondering what to say to him the next time I see him at the store and whether or not I did the right thing. 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and most of all…. the wisdom to know the difference.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Zentient December 13, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Of course you did the right thing. There’s a Buddhist saying, “Help those you don’t want to help”. Pema Chodron says: “Other people and ourselves, we’re the same really, and we just get stuck in different ways. Getting stuck in any kind of self-and-other tension seems to cause pain. So if you can keep your heart and your mind open to those people, in other words, work with any tendency to close down towards them, isn’t that the way the system of racism and cruelty starts to de-escalate?

The thing is, once we get into this kind of work we are opening ourselves for all our own unresolved misery to come floating right up and block our compassion. It’s a difficult and challenging practice to keep your heart and mind open. It takes a lot to be a living example of unbiased mind! But when you see how you feel towards these people, you can begin to understand why there is racism, why there is cruelty, because everyone has those same thoughts and emotions that you do. Everyone feels that irritability and then it escalates.”


2 Drew December 9, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Sorry.. but I can see the hilarity of the situation. Of course- I would have done the same thing as you (if it was a woman)… and I can see myself in one of those Steve Martin “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” making it to the car rental parking lot only to see your car has been stolen” moments.


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