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You know how Val is Everywoman? How somebody always thinks she looks familiar? Well...there's a guy just like her!
No, I don't mean a guy who looks like me. Not-Heaven NO! I hope not! And so does the guy! But there's a guy who seems familiar. To me, anyway. And I saw him on Friday. Except I didn't know it yet.
As you may recall, I got up way early (for ME) on Friday, because the air conditioner repair guy was coming, but Hick didn't bother to tell me when. So it could have been any time between 8:00 a.m. (an hour when I am usually still a-bed...don't be hatin'...I paid my early-morning-riser dues by getting up at 4:50 a.m. the last 18 years of my working life) and 5:00 p.m.
I had several errands to run, one of them being to mail the weekly letters for my college boys. Along the way, I stopped at the Casey's where I get gas (NOT AT ORB K!!!) to buy a lottery ticket. That's the place I won $200 last Monday. Not so on Friday. But I distinctly remember stopping there (for a lower denomination ticket, of course, because lightning doesn't strike the same convenience store twice a week) and that I didn't get gas.
I had to park way around the end (darn those people with leaky tires taking up my rightful parking spot!) and in doing so, kept the beer man from his rightful parking spot. Too bad, so sad, Beer Man. Don't you worry about Beer Man, though. He had plenty of room to park in the alley beside the car wash behind Casey's. I did him a favor, actually, because he would have had a devil of a time getting that big ol' beer truck back out on the road if he had parked along the side of the building like I did.
Anyhoo...as I left the store, Beer Man was coming in, wheeling some cases on a dolly. That's his job, though. So he should be glad he has one, no matter where he has to park. I ducked my head as I went past him. I KNOW he knew I was the one who parked there. But hey! His giant beer truck was nowhere in sight when I parked. It was a done deal. In fact, I was standing beside T-Hoe, reaching in to check my phone that had just beeped, when he pulled up behind me. I should be mad at HIM, really, because no way could I have backed up if somebody parked in front of me. Which they almost did.
There was a guy who'd been in front of me inside the store. An older man. He had cashed in $10 of winners, and traded them for more tickets. One of them being a kind I was buying. I should have heeded my head-voice and switched to another kind of ticket, but I was feeling all-powerful that day, and was sure that HE had taken a loser, leaving the winner for me. Listen to your head-voice, people. I won nothing there.
Anyhoo...this old guy got into a white sedan that was parked all cattywompus down in front of me, next to a light pole. I would not have gotten out of the lot except that I had made sure to leave room for a sharp right turn back out to the main thoroughfare. This old guy was taking his time about leaving. I figured he was scratching his tickets.
I went on about my errands. The last stop on the way back home was the gas station chicken store. Their Diet Coke has been real and spectacular lately. As I was drawing my 44 oz elixir, I sensed a guy move past me to the beer cooler. Which is the same cooler as the milk cooler and the 20-oz soda cooler in the gas station chicken store. It's not a very big place. He selected a case or box or suitcase or whatever you call those giant packs of beer cans now.
I wasn't really paying attention. It's not like I'm Carrie Nation. I don't care if people imbibe. Don't make me no nevermind if they traipse around with a wineskin slung over their shoulder like a gambling purse. I'm often in close quarters with customers in the gas station chicken store who emit the fumes of the by-products of alcohol metabolism. They're usually quite cheery. This guy didn't have that smell. I only noticed his purchase because it was 9:23 a.m. An hour at which I am either sawing the logs of the retired night-owl, or clicking the bones of my femur, tibia, and fibula together like an obese oxymoronic skeleton, trying to get going for the day.
Let the record show that in Walmart, there are signs posted in the liquid department about no alcohol sales before 9:00 a.m. Not that I'm there then. And not that I'm buying alcohol. Hick's bottled water is in that section. Strawberry Water. Sam's Choice, I think. Not sure. I just know where to grab two four-packs every week.
Anyhoo...I wondered if this guy set his alarm to get up and buy his Stag or Old Style (don't know my beers, but I know it was some retro kind of brand that I'd seen my grandpa drink) as close to the permitted time as possible. But again, it was just a curiosity. I wasn't planning to pull out an ax and chop into his brew.
I paid for my soda and got a ticket there for good measure (won $40 on a 20) and headed to T-Hoe. As I was settling in, checking my phone, buckling up...I saw the beer man stashing his stash in the trunk of a white sedan. Wait a minute! Why did he look so familiar? Was he that guy from Casey's, a whole town over, who had not-blocked my car? And then it hit me.
IT WAS THE STAGGERY MAN!
The old Guy who I'd seen a while back while parked in this very same spot, stumbling around a silver sedan just like this white one!
I can only surmise that the Staggery Man back then was indeed drunk. And that since then, he's had a reason to get a different sedan. And that he must drink really fast in order to achieve the level of inebriation I saw him at the last time, at 11:00 a.m.
I guess first instincts are usually correct.