He had dark hair, most of it hidden under the battered cowboy hat he had jammed onto his head. The long length of his matted, bushy beard lay menacingly on his chest. He stared at me intently as he sat parked next to me, as if I had grown three heads or something. I wondered if he was a Hatfield or a McCoy as I washed the dirty red LeMans at that forsaken car wash. He never said a word, and yet I felt a sense of dread as his gaze stayed unwaveringly upon me...
Did I get your attention yet? Good. This is actually a true story, but you have to keep reading in order to find out what happens next.
So anyways, last week's power outage in the Northeast shocked me greatly. It made me think that I took for granted things such as running water and electricity. Things that seem so basic yet are an absolute necessity in this day and age. Stocking up on emergency supplies seemed like a good idea, so I went to the local Wal-Mart.
"What does one buy for an emergency?" I muttered to myself as I stood in the store, uncertain as to where to go. I supposed that I should start with food. I headed over to the canned good section and filled the cart with beef stew, spaghettios, Spam, and soup. There was even this lovely offering
, which as delicious as it looked, I avoided like the plague. One thing I noticed about many of the canned goods they sold at Wal-Mart, many were extremely high in sodium. Confident that my family would have enough to eat for several days (though they would probably have high blood pressure), I moved on.
I thought that water purification tablets would also be a good item to acquire. I stopped a passing associate and asked him where I might find such an item.
"What do water purification tablets do?" he asked.
I paused, trying to phrase my answer so it wouldn't sound so sarcastic. "It purifies water," I replied. Damn, I ended up sounding sarcastic.
"Why don't you try the outdoor/sports section," he suggested. I thanked him and made my way towards the o/s section. Being a city girl who isn't inclined towards the outdoors, I instantly felt like I was intruding on foreign territory. There was an entire aisle dedicated to ammunition. The next aisle boasted fishing lures and hunting accoutrements. The sales guy for this department wore fatigues beneath his bright blue "Hello How May I Help You" Wal-Mart vest. He ignored me for several minutes while he debated the merits of a particular brand of ammunition with a customer.
I cleared my throat meaningfully. "Excuse me," I asked him. "Do you sell water purification tablets?"
"Nope," he said flatly. "Fresh out."
"Er, thank you," I said and walked away.
This exchange reminded me of my brush with the wilds of West Virginia. I was (and still am) a sheltered city girl who considers camping to be staying at a nice hotel near Yosemite, not actually staying in the park.
Back in college, I dated this guy who lived in WV (long distance relationship) and went to visit him one Christmas. I was very excited because I would get a chance to see another part of the country. When we first drove into his small town, I was charmed by the picturesque landscape of wilderness and rivers. This is the countryside that Aaron Copland envisioned while composing 'Appalachian Spring', I thought excitedly to myself.
I don't think it hit me at the time how people would react to the sight of one of their own dating an Asian girl. A's parents were nice enough. His father was the minister of the local church and his mother was a very nice woman who made me feel welcome. Since I was staying there for several days, I made an effort to help out with the family chores. A's sister had a Ford LeMans that was filthy, since the dirt road that led up to their house was completely muddy. I volunteered to drive the car down to the local car wash to clean it. A gave me directions and I went off. The town car wash was little more then several concrete stalls with a hose attached to each stall.
I parked in a stall and began to wash the mud off the tires. As I cleaned, a truck with a mounted gun rack pulled into the next stall. The man in the truck had dark hair, most of it hidden under the battered cowboy hat he had jammed onto his head. The long length of his matted, bushy beard lay menacingly on his chest. He stared at me intently as he sat parked next to me, as if I had grown three heads or something. Perhaps I was the first Asian he had ever seen in his life. I wondered if he was a Hatfield or a McCoy as I washed the dirty red LeMans at that forsaken West Virginian car wash. He never said a word, and yet I felt a sense of dread as his gaze stayed unwaveringly upon me.
I nervously finished washing the car. Shit! I thought to myself. This guy is going to kill me and my body will never be found. I hopped into the car and quickly started it. As I drove away, I could see him in the rear view mirror. He had gotten out of the truck and started to wash his truck. I hoped that he wouldn't follow me. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got back to A's house.
"BTW, we're going to church tonight," A informed me. Fair enough, I thought to myself. Surely I could handle a church service. That night I went with A and his parents to the service. We pulled in next to a big red truck with; you guessed it, a mounted gun rack.
One of A's friends came up to greet us. "Hullo," he said to us. "Hey A, look what I bagged me yesterday! A deer! Come take a look!" He gestured to the red truck. I peered into the back and sure enough, there was a dead deer. "Mom still has to butcher it," he enthused. I was in shock, not only from the sight of the dead deer, but because my WV experience thus far was so different from what I was used to...
Perhaps I'll post more on my West Virginia adventure tomorrow. ^_^