Monday, February 12, 2007

The payback

I was leaving work about 9:30 tonight wondering where or how I could get to talk to a person about organ donation. It's late, a winter storm watch is in effect. (It was downgraded from a warning). So I thought I should stop and top off the gas tank. You know, you should drive on the top half rather than the bottom half.

I pulled into the local corner gas station/convenience store and swiped my card. Selected the cheapest octane fuel to put into my beater. I can't really call it a car, but it is my current mode of transportation. The speakers were blaring out Abba and the Bee Gee's. I even looked at them in a bit of disbelief to hear the sounds of the 70's.

I gripped the cold metal handle and noticed it felt slippery. No, more like there was a film or substance on the lever. It was probably the salt spray from the various cars that pull in. Or it could have been the windshield washer fluid that they use to clean the windows. Either way, I squeezed as much life out of the hose to fill my steed.

While the fuel was flowing, I looked around. There was a white car across from me as I was facing. The guy had a leather jacket on, but was not interested in anything but his eventual destination. Next to me in the same lane was another car, but no occupants. They must be inside. They could be getting anything from donuts, to hoagies to motor oil. Beyond my neighbor was a yellow cab. The cabbie was dutilly cleaning the interior glass. I thought that was nice that he took the time to clean and squeegee the inside windows.

Ker clunk! My tank was full and I was pulled from my observations abruptly.

I too sought out a squeegee and took to my own windows in an attempt to rid the beast of it's salty film.

As I made it around the car and finished my own windows. Everyone else had filled and went their own ways. But the yellow cab was still there. Cleaning. Taking care. I started up the engine and looked for a spot to pull into so I could approach the cab and it's driver. As I was parking, a man walked out wearing a kilt. He would have been a great person to talk to. But I wasn't fast enough to get out. He was in his own car on on his way.

I grabbed a card and walked back to the fuel aisle to talk to the cabbie. He wasn't a big buy, but he was bigger than me. I noticed he was wearing green shirt and dark outer coat. But what I thought was the stand out was his short dreadlocks. Or at least what I identified as dreads.

I approached him as he was cleaning the passenger side, rear windows. He didn't even slow down. I passed my card and asked if he knew anything about organ donation. He didn't then I asked if he had some time to talk about organ donation.

I didn't hear his first response. The 70's were ringing in my ear. But I leaned in and he did say it was against his beliefs. I appreciated his candor and it piqued my curiosity. He went on to say that the body should depart whole. But he did add that he donated blood that was able to save his daughters life.

Blood is a renewable resource. It was therefore acceptable. I was really enjoying my conversation at this point. I again expressed his honesty and I reiterated that I was there to talk about donation and not change minds. Hopefully he can talk about it and his own reasons with his fares or his family. We walked around the cab. Cleaning then wiping up. Probably as much for him as for his fares. He wasn't so meticulous that it hurt to watch, but he wiped the excess off the black vinyl so it didn't look messy.

I tried to stay close, since I couldn't hear him too well. But still trying to stay out of his way. He went on to say he was an entertainer. He and his friends have done some musical creations for a few large companies in the area that I recognized. I could see that portion of his life brought him great joy. He smiled big when he spoke of his daughter and his music.

As we were each departing on our own directions, we reached out to shake hands. "J", it was a pleasure to talk to you.

Perhaps he will drop me a line for a portrait some day.

No comments: