Anyone who has stopped at a truck stop for any amount of time has been approached by someone either selling something out of a gym bag or offering to shine the wheels on the truck. I usually don’t deal with these people, because they scare me and I’ve found that if you scream a little when they approach you, it scares them too. There’s nothing more dangerous than a bunch of people running scared and screaming through a truck stop parking lot.
My husband doesn’t leave me alone very much. As I’ve mentioned before, I sometimes get myself hung in cargo nets, or completely baffle people attempting to have a conversation with me. He uses the excuse that it’s safer for me if he’s always around, but I know it’s because he’s fearful of what he might find upon his return.
We were parked at the T/A in Oklahoma City for a reset. I was bored, and had become fascinated with an especially rough-looking Grackle. This poor bird looked as if he had been sucked into the engine of a jet and spit back out. His feathers were all pecked out around his head and his tail was bent, but he kept at the grill of the truck beside us, defending his territory of delicious squished bug snacks. (Side note for the nerds out there – you know who you are: This bird looked exactly like the Skeksis the other Skeksis stripped the cloaks off of in the movie “The Dark Crystal.”)
My husband needed to go scan paperwork, and I didn’t want to leave the Skeksis Grackle, so he left me in the truck. Eventually, the beat-up bird lost his perch on the grill and was screaming at the other birds from the ground. I decided to feed him some oatmeal pies, and got out of the truck to scatter pieces. I was too busy to notice the man who walked up behind me.
“Well hello there, little lady!”
I turned around to see a very tall, very dirty man. He had a duffel bag over his shoulder and was holding a spray bottle full of yellow liquid. The first thought that went through my head was that he was most certainly going to spray me in the face with poison and chop me up into pieces small enough to fit in his duffel bag. The second thought was that my new friend the Grackle, who I had fed delicious oatmeal pies to, might swoop down and peck his eyes out for me.
“Don’t spray me!!”
I jumped back and brandished the remaining oatmeal pie at him, as if it were a shiv. The stupid, cowardly Grackle flew away and left me to my own devices.
“Oh no ma’am, I wouldn’t spray you with this. You see, this is the best cleaning product on the market right now and I’m gonna prove it to you! Is this your truck?”
“No! This is my husband’s truck, and he’s huge and hates for anyone to spray anything on his truck or his wife!”
Once again, my poor husband walked into an unusual situation: me, holding an oatmeal pie out towards a dirty giant with a spray bottle full of what appeared to be piss.
“Hey buddy, we’re not interested. Take it on down the line.”
“Yes sir, yes sir! Sure you don’t want to try it out? It’ll get that truck sparkling clean!”
“No man, we’re good. Take it on.”
The guy shuffled away, off to terrify the next innocent bird-feeding person.
“Babe, why were you trying to give that guy an oatmeal pie?”
“I was feeding the Skeksis bird the oatmeal pie. He walked up and scared me. It was the only weapon I had.”
“The only part of that sentence I understand is, ‘he walked up and scared me.’ I’m not sure I want to know how you thought you’d use an oatmeal pie to defend yourself.”
“Well, smarty pants, since the Grackle didn’t peck his eyes out for me, I thought I’d cram the oatmeal pie into his nose and mouth if he got close enough to grab me. The surprise would make him inhale sharply and he’d choke to death on pie. So there.”
“Okay, I’m going to stop asking questions now.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought. Because I’m awesome.”
“Uh hunh, because all awesome people defend themselves with oatmeal pies.”