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.