Monday, July 14, 2014

Mile 2,557: Ever Thus to Deadbeats

A reader here at "10,000 Truths" told me over the weekend that he imagines me writing a new chapter in this book every time I open the garage door to roll out. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, it's not far from the truth. But some days when the motor growls to a satisfying beginning, the road brings us something we would rather not have seen.

I try to live by the simple philosophy that I want to be treated a certain way, and thus I treat people according to that standard. I really try. Treat others the way you want to be treated. I still teach my kids that.

Rocinante and I were running errands this morning, typical day-off piddling. I maneuvered my way into the gas station and picked an open pump. Nothing special. I had barely turned off the bike and put the kickstand down when I noticed the car facing me on the other side of the pump ahead of me. It was running. Lights were on. Windows rolled down. And in the backseat, there sat a little girl, about three years old. She had soft, blond hair, and she was playing with something while buckled into her carseat.

And she was alone. In a car. A running car. On one of the busiest streets in the United States, in not too good an area, I don't mind telling you.

I was pissed.

I cannot remember if I paid much attention to filling my own gastank because my eyes were fixed on that car the whole time. I kept expecting the parent of the child to come running out. "Oh, I was only in there for ten seconds," he or she would exclaim before I had a chance to say anything.

But by the time I pumped my gas, rounded the gas cap back into place, and told the computer on the pump that, no, I did not want a receipt, still no parent. Oblivious girl still in the backseat.

A minute passed. No one.

I sat on my bike staring at the car, eyes scanning all around for any potential threat, full-on bodyguard mode. I wonder how many people in our lives have protected us without us knowing?

I was just about to call the cops when a short woman slowly sauntered out of the convenience store with an energy drink in hand. No hurry.

I held my temper as best I could, but still firmly looked at her and said, "You are out of your mind for leaving that girl in a running car by herself, especially in this neighborhood!"

Expressionless, the short woman just said, "Okay."

And that was it. One of the darker moments of Rocinante's and my adventure so far, much darker than any raincloud or flat tire.

So if you ever see me leave a toddler in a car--(which you won't... but if you do)--treat me the way I want to be treated.

Tell me I'm stupid.

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