Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: MAP (01/31/19)
TITLE: An Old Geezer's Thoughts on a Convenience Store Punk
By Betty Castleberry
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You should be ashamed of yourself. All I did was ask you for a road map. I had no idea my simple request was going to stir up such a reaction in you. You think I didn’t notice that little smirk, but I did, and I definitely saw that eye roll you tried to cover up. That little sigh you think I didn’t hear but did made me want to tell you a thing or two.
Maybe convenience stores don’t sell maps anymore, but they sure used to. Actually, convenience stores mostly didn’t exist. They were just gas stations where besides gas, you bought gum, candy bars, sodas, and yep, maps. For those folks intent on ruining their lungs, they also sold cigarettes, just like your fancy convenience store with the hamburger grill and expensive bottled water does now.
The tone of your voice when you explained GPS systems to me was the same one someone would use to explain running water to a simpleton. You might be interested to know that my car has a GPS system and I know how to use it, but there are times when I want a paper map. I like to mark the scenic routes with an orange highlighter and write notes in the margins. Besides, that female GPS voice can be maddening. “Turn left now. Turn left now.” She doesn’t realize if I did that, there would be times I’d cause a multi-car pile-up. Yes, I know I can pick another voice, but they still all say the same thing.
When you told me you didn’t carry maps and hadn’t since you could remember, I wanted to say, “Oh, then about five days ago, right?” Yes, I know that’s not real nice, but I’m pretty sure you think my memory doesn’t reach much past what I had for lunch. My hair may be gray, and I may use a cane, but I’m not senile.
This may surprise you, but I can order a map online. I know how to do that, too. The problem is I needed a map the same day I came into your store because I was driving up that afternoon to see my sister in Oklahoma City. She has just relocated, and I haven’t ever been there.
Instead of just saying you didn’t have any maps, you made it a point to call my age into question saying, and I quote, “We really should have a few maps around for people like you.” Your meaning was clear. You meant OLD people like me.
Well, let me give you a little piece of advice from an “old person.” You really should familiarize yourself with paper maps. What if the fancy GPS systems you kids use now should suddenly go on the blink? What if something happened to the satellite that controls those things? I bet you didn’t think I knew it worked off a satellite, did you? What if that voice stopped talking to you? What if the screen went blank? Could you read an old-fashioned map?
Actually, now that I’ve blown off some steam, I have an even better question. What do you use for your spiritual GPS? Do you read the Bible? If you do, I’m not sure its meaning is getting through to you. Your dismissal of me was hardly Christian.
If you haven’t ever read the Bible, I suggest you get one and read it from beginning to end. It might not teach you how to read a map, but it just might teach you how to treat people better. One of my favorite verses regarding this is Luke 6:31. It says: Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
Now, young man, I will take a piece of my own advice. This old man, and I do admit I am no longer a youngster, has no intention of you ever seeing what I’ve written here. I was taught it helps to express yourself by writing your thoughts down. I know I haven’t been especially kind in writing this, so I’ll throw it in the trash when I’m done.
However, the next time I see you working in the convenience store, I will smile at you and wish you a great day. Then maybe I’ll hand you a paper map and a Bible because that’s the least I can do for a kid like you.
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