I can’t remember the last time somebody wanted to fight me. Must’ve been the Hawaiian dude I asked to be quiet while we were watching a movie, somewhere around ’92. He promptly stuck his fist through the living room wall of our North Shore rental, turned to me, and deadpanned, “Mo betta if it’s ya face next time, yeah?” All had been peaceful in my world since then, the only person wanting to ring my neck being my wife. That is, until I made the mistake of stopping at a gas station to get some air in my tire.
The only place I know of that doesn’t charge for air is Wawa, so being the tightwad that I am, Wawa is where I go for air, even when it’s out of my way. They got these bitchin new airpumps where you punch in the appropriate tire pressure and it beeps when it’s finished. And did I mention their air is free? I should know by now that everything in this world comes with a price. If you think otherwise you probably believe the Kardashian’s are real people.
Someone was parked at the spot designated for the airpump, so my wife pulled the car into a spot three spaces away. I asked her to park closer, but she ran inside for a coffee and left me to fill the tire. When the customer finished and pulled away, I tried to stretch the hose three spaces rather than repark the car. It didn’t work.
I pulled out of my space to park closer, and in the meantime another car swooped into the airpump spot. I parked next to them and walked over to grab the hose. That’s when things got interesting.
The driver of the other car, a redneck sporting Fakely’s and a Nascar cap, hopped out from behind the wheel and barked, “Wought the fuck you think yer doin?”
“I’m just getting some air in my tire.”
“You think you can just cut in front of me?!”
“Oh, no. I was already here, but the hose wouldn’t reach.”
“Look at the fuckin sign.” He graciously pointed out that he’d parked his crappy old American sedan in front of the ‘Airpump parking only’ sign, proving he was capable of reading compound words.
“Yeah, that’s what I told my wife when she parked the car over there.”
Nascar was apparently getting confused from so much thinkin, and he had heard enough. He yanked off his Fakely’s and cap and took a step in my direction. “You wanna jump?”
Now I was the one confused. “What?”
“You wanna jump at me?” He was by this point, in the parlance of our time, all up in my grill. I had a decision to make. I could hand him the hose, happy to have avoided a senseless conflict, and allow Karma to have her way with him. Or, I could say, “Fuck you, dipshit,” and resume filling my tire with free air like I’d come to do.
This undoubtedly would have sent Nascar into a tizzy, and I would have soon found myself on the losing end of an MMA battle. In the Wawa parking lot. Over an airhose. With my kids watching from inside the car. The headline would’ve read, “Local Teacher Arrested in Airhose Melee,” but history would remember the skirmish as “The Airpump Rumpus.”
Unfortunately, the result was preordained. I’ve never been a proponent of violence, which is a nice way of saying I’m a huge pussy when it comes to physical confrontation. A favorite quote of mine, from John Gregory Dunne, states, “Violence is the way stupid people try to level the playing field.” I handed over the hose, or as my daughter saw it, he snatched it out of my hand. I need to get her eyes checked.
Considering the miserable existence Nascar probably leads, I’m happy to have provided him the opportunity to feel good about himself (although that was anything but my intention). He left the scene feeling like he was nine-feet-tall and could take on Chuck Norris. I, on the other hand, felt like a complete wuss. Lucky for me, I have this seldom-read forum to poke fun at his sorry ass and exact a modicum of revenge. The pen, or in this case the blog, is indeed mightier than the dipshit.