Now, That’s Good TImes

by

I thought to myself as I watched the guy ahead of me in line at the 7-11 swipe his card for three packages of HoHo’s and a bottle of white wine.

Dude.

That’s a party.

Not a party I will be RSVP’ing for anytime, but I have to admit I was amused.

7-11 in general amuses me.

I don’t often shop in them, never really have, but there’s one of the corner and my friend down the block with the foot in cast for two months peeped me for some Coca Cola two liters and so I just went over to procure said carbonation.

I can’t remember the last time I bought soda pop for myself.

Yeah, I just wrote soda pop.

Pop.

I used to drink a lot of Coke, I did, before I snorted a lot of coke.

Very rarely did the two mix.

I was not a fan of sweets, much, when I was drinking and using, I got all my sugar from alcohol.

Although there were occasions when I would indulge in something sugary, but it was usually something I was making, not something I was buying.

Until I stopped drinking and using, then the wheels fell the fuck off with the sugar thing.

Glad to not be doing that any longer either.

There really is not much for me to buy in a 7-11 for myself, but I did manage to snag a little something.

A scratcher lotto ticket.

I didn’t win, but it was fun for a moment to fantasize about a little extra cash.

I am going to need a little extra cash this month.

I did my spending plan and the scooter costs bit more out of my budget last month than I was thinking it would.  There was also the additional add-on of the bicycle ticket that I paid out and also my Healthy San Francisco was due.

I got the courtesy e-mail from my bank telling me I had dropped below $25 in my checking account yesterday.

That’s good times too.

But I am not too worried.

Why?

Why be worried.

I paid my rent, I paid my student loan, I have groceries, I have plenty of toiletries, I have all the things that I need to get through.

Granted I don’t like having $23.56 in my checking account, it’s cutting it a little too close.

But, hey, I didn’t bounce any checks and I got paid for three days of working, plus tomorrow I will get paid for my solo gig in NOPA and then again on Friday up in the Castro.

It’s not the optimum set up for me, but I know things are working out.

Plus, I am not bat shit crazy yelling at the guy behind the counter at the 7-11 because I am convinced I won on my lottery ticket.

That was happening too, while Mister Hostess Treats and White Wine was paying, there was an elderly, intoxicated, Asian man arguing with the clerk, who finally ended up screaming at him.

I mean screaming.

Then, he pushed the old man out-of-the-way, and said, “next,” and waved me over to check out with my two liters of Coca Cola.

“Uh, I’ll take a lottery ticket too,” I said and pointed to the one that said “Rockstar.”

He rang me up and I headed my way.

Convenience stores are good times.

Just flashing back to all the ones I have been too.

A highlight reel if you will:

Circle K in Homestead, Florida.

It was just off the Lake where I camped, otherwise known as, I was homeless living in a tent, when I was in my 19th year of life on this planet.

I would go there for cigarettes–Doral’s when the money was tight, which it often was, I mean, read previous sentence about camping I was not really rolling in dough.

Although a splurge would happen now and again and then it was Pall Mall Gold Light 100s in a box or Camel Light 100s.

Jesus, there’s something else to be grateful for too, I don’t smoke anymore.  It’s been just shy of 9 years since I have had a cigarette.

Wow.

I was also introduced to roller hotdogs at this particular convenience store.

Hot, juicy, sweaty, logs of pork, one can hope, tucked into a white steamed bun covered in ketchup and dill pickle relish and mayonnaise and cheese.

Do not put chili on my dog.

Do not put mustard.

Do not, I repeat, ever, use sweet pickle relish.

Gag.

And last, but certainly not least, Bartles and James wine coolers, pink lemonade please.

Tasty goodness.

Oh dear Lord, the things I put into my system.

And these were all legally obtained items.

Yick.

The other convenience store that comes to mind for me, like I said, never been around a 7-11 before, was the PDQ in Madison.

Which, I believe, stands for “Pretty Damn Quick”.

Not sure if those bad boys are still around.

My mom would write me a note and send me off to the PDQ for her smokes.

Merit Menthol 100s in a box.

Classy.

I mean, she wrote me a fucking note.

“To whom it may concern, please sell my daughter one pack of Merit Menthol 100s (in the green box), Trish M______”. Her signature scrawled out at the bottom of the page along with a home phone number in case the clerk had any misgivings about selling a pack of cigarettes to a little girl in third grade.

I don’t believe any clerk ever did.

I also remember an ex of mine who swore by getting a Hot Pocket from the PDQ after playing a round of frisbee golf out at Heistand Park, followed by an icy cool blue raspberry slushy.

Double gag.

I can still smell that Hot Pocket and taste the damn slushy.

It was usually too sweet for me to choke down and I usually turned down the Hot Pocket on principle.

But I must have eaten one at some point because I have a taste memory of the weird things.

“That is so white trash,” my friend said in response to a story I was telling him about living in a trailer park in Stoughton with my pregnant teenage sister, her boyfriend, and her best friend.

I hadn’t really thought I was white trash, but I may have some roots down in that muck, I may.

The only other PDQ story I have would have been from living at that trailer for a few weeks while my sister’s best friends parents were out-of-town on vacation in Mexico–it wasn’t even our trailer, we were squatting–and we ran out of money and went to the convenience store in the middle of the night.

I remember it was cold and the heater in the Monte Carlo was slow to produce any warmth.

I remember the weight of the sandwich baggie of pennies, with a dime or two mixed in to add up to the prerequisite $1.80 a pack of cigarettes cost, in my thin coat pocket.

And how the cigarette tasted when I lit it up and blew the smoke toward the cracked window of the car in the back seat, the maroon leather the color reminiscent of dark, dried blood, the frost on the window, the scuttle of clouds over the moon, the dark trees rushing past.

I don’t know how I got from there to here.

But I am damned grateful that I have.

Now, excuse me while I wrap this up and head over to bring my friend some pop.

Soda, that is.

Rolling out this bitch 7-11 style.

 

 

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