Tuesday 21 July 2015

Here and Now

Louise had to pop into the Co-op today to pick up a lottery ticket or two and a bag of green grapes. I don’t think the tickets and grapes are linked in any way, but with Louise you just never know. We had just come from the lumber yard and had an eight foot one by eight pine board stretched from the back of the car to the dashboard. I needed the wood to finish a project I am working on and I just didn’t feel right leaving it in a hot car all by itself. After all, it can’t get out if the car gets too hot and although it has eight feet, without hands it can’t roll down the window.

While I was sitting there I saw two young boys, one riding a bike and the other pushing his bike up to the air compressor. He turned the bike upside down, took off the valve cap and proceeded to fill the tire with air. I suppose he must have just fixed a flat or perhaps the tire had a slow leak and needed air every couple of days. He tossed the hose towards the hook where it is supposed to hang when he finished, flipped his bike right side up and took off to find his buddy who had disappeared by this time. Kids never change.

Co-op is one of the few places left that has free air. Most of the other places charge a dollar for the use of the compressor. I am one of those that were stunned when I first heard about charging for air, because that was something that I have just taken for granted all of my life. I understand that times have changed and the gas bars now don’t have service bays that require a large on site compressor, so they have to purchase one for the use of their customers and they need to recoup their costs. Some things change.

I remember doing the same thing as those kids, time and time again when I was about that age. I would walk up to the corner garage pushing my bike and use the hose that was hanging by the side of one of the bays. I would usually ask the guy there if I could use the hose and if he wasn’t too busy he would ask what happened to my tire. He would help fix it the odd time because sometimes it wasn’t a slow leak. Dad could have fixed it, but I guess the garage guy figured that he was building a customer base. He was too, I went there for pop and candy as a kid and when I started to drive I would gas up at that station. It was only right.

The last time I was in the old neighbourhood, the gas station was gone and I think there is a small strip mall in its place. I don’t know why full service gas stations have disappeared for the most part. It isn’t as if the dealers offer bargain basement prices for repairs. I suspect that like everyone else the guys who used to run these stations just couldn’t be satisfied with making a living wage and doing a full days work. Perhaps the government has just made it that much more difficult to be a small businessman. Maybe there isn’t enough mark up on gasoline anymore. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Louise came back to the car with the grapes and tickets and I came back to 2015. I wish I could have stayed in the sixties, but I have pressing business that I have to take care of in the here and now.

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