Remember how I spent an afternoon with my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel on Thursday? I left her house sometime between 3:00 and 4:00. Time means nothing to me now! For remembering things like that. But time means everything to me when it comes to getting my daily 44 oz Diet Coke. If I went straight home, I'd have to go past the homestead into town for my magical elixir. That would tack extra time on my outing, time which Hick didn't have, what with almost dying of starvation while I was away. So I stopped on the way out of Mabeltown at the LOVE Station.
For those of you who don't know, a LOVE Station is a truck stop/convenience store franchise. They usually have a restaurant attached. This one in Mabeltown is always booming. It has a McDonald's on one end, then a Church's Chicken, then the LOVE Station. You can walk through all of them on the inside if you want, or go in the exterior doors.
I figured I'd grab my 44 oz Diet Coke there, so I'd have it when I got home. And also I'd pick up some chicken for Hick the crybaby who didn't want a bacon cheeseburger that had been in the car for a few hours (even though he later ate it after the chicken). I went to the soda fountain and reached up top for a 44 oz cup.
I did that sound because it's a truck stop, see? Instead of the phonograph needle sound. So it's like putting on the brakes. WHOA! The 44 oz cup dispenser was empty! So I looked at the row built into the wall on the left side, and that top 44 oz cup dispenser was ALSO empty! But at the bottom on the left, there was ANOTHER 44 oz cup dispenser. EMPTY! Yeah. Every single 44 oz cup was missing! That's no way to run a business! I looked around, you know, because surely somebody had seen that I was perplexed, not having a 44 oz cup. The most expensive cup.
Can you believe nobody cared? Can you? That place is always frantic. People here, people there. Truckers acting like they own the place (!) grabbing coffee and oil and sundry products from the shelves that kind of look like Auto Zone. I don't know where all these people come from, and where they're all going. It's like they're competing in a road rally, or Amazing Race. The line is always backed up at the counter, despite two cashiers. So I couldn't go butt in that line and ask if somebody could get me a 44 oz cup.
Don't even think I would go to the McDonald's for my soda. No siree, Bob! I do not like McDonald's Diet Coke, even though my mom favored it. It's weak sauce. Forget Church's Chicken. For all I know, they serve Pepsi there like the Oklahoma casinos. Nope. I HAD to get my 44 oz Diet Coke from the LOVE Station. So I did what any normal person with a daily 44 oz Diet Coke habit would do, and pulled a 32 oz cup, and then a 20 oz cup. Don't even suggest two 20s. That's NOT 44 oz! Besides, why pay more for two 20s and get less, when I could get a 32 and a 20 and pay less. Oh, come on! I didn't drink 52 oz of Diet Coke! There was ICE involved!
I paid for my two sodas and left. I might have stopped by the scratch-off machine as long as I was right there by it on my way to Church's Chicken. Do you know how hard it is to carry scratch-off tickets, two sodas, a box with three pieces of chicken, and have your T-Hoe clicker ready? Pretty ding-dang-dong hard!
Once inside T-Hoe, I set to apportioning my 44 oz of Diet Coke. I had brought two foam cups, you see. Because one time I got a soda at a strange store, and they only had those thin plastic cups. Not insulated. So I brought my own cup-within-a-cup just in case. I poured in the 32 oz cup, and then some from the 20 oz cup (with ice) to top it off. And put on a lid that I had brought. The remainder, I left topless (heh, heh) to sip from on the ride home, on straight stretches that didn't matter if I tilted my head back momentarily.
I was not pleased, once home, that Hick took the food bag and left me to juggle the mail, my purse, those two foam cup-within-a-cup filled with 44 oz of magical elixir, the 32 oz empty cup, the 20 oz cup with a bit of soda remaining, and my giant yellow bubba cup with ice water. I was expecting more help from Hick, especially since my karma points were in the plus column, having held the door open at the LOVE Station for a woman exiting with two bowls of fruit. Uh huh. In a giant barrel of ice right inside the door, they had plastic tubs of mixed fruit. None for Val, thanks.
I may buy gas station chicken, but I draw the line at truck stop fruit.