Monthly Archive: September 1999

You Staying?

            Monday.  Late in the afternoon I stepped outside and went to the mailbox to get the mail before going to the store.  I waved to my kind North Carolina neighbor who lives behind me.             “You staying?” he asked, incredulously.             I noticed he had his windows taped up.  He was talking to his neighbor, who had a pickup truck packed to the max with family belongings.             My neighbor informed me that the big danger was tornadoes.  “Have you ever been through a hurricane?” he asked me.             “I didn’t know until this morning,” I told him.             “Where have you been?” he said.             Perhaps I am not as in touch with things as I should be sometimes.             On the way to the store I noticed very heavy traffic in the westerly direction, and surprising heavy traffic going east.  I stopped at a gas station to fill up both tanks of the Jag, which I felt like putting on the highway north and cruising for about ten or twenty hours.  Although I ran my credit card through, it took some discussion in the office to get the pump turned on.  A hostile young man using a pay phone walked rather close to me—“invading my space”—whom I dismissed as a thug.  The thought occurred to me that with disaster looming for so many, the looters were already rejoicing, counting their loot already.             A girl in the car on the other side of the pump said, “Mom, what kind of car is that?” while looking over at me staring.             A young woman pulled up at the pump behind me.  She hollered at me.             “You take care of that car!”             “I will,” I said, a little embarassed.             “I bet your going to North Carolina,” she said.             “No, I’m staying, but I wish I was going to Tennessee,” I said.             “My mother wants me to come up to Jacksonville,” she said.  “That’s where my grandmother is.  I dunno.”             “You should stay,” I said, realizing my bad advice as I said it.