Sunday, August 11, 2013

Kum & Go

This is the summer of my work day starting at five in the morning. I chose this schedule to get to work before all of my coworkers, in hopes to complete my daily tasks long before anyone else arrives. Also, I have really enjoyed getting to the gym in the early afternoon, instead of right at five o’ clock with the masses. 

I have to say, I really am enjoying this plan. Even if it means getting up at three o’clock and leaving the house just as my neighbors are walking up the sidewalk after a night out. The part of this plan I didn't account for was going to bed before it was dark out. So, really it's the summer of sleeping five hours a night.

Leaving the house before four gets me to my local gas station, the Kum & Go, just in time for all the predawn drama. Who knew a simple stop for coffee would include the involvement of small town theatrics the likes not seen since that Shakespeare bloke. 

The epic I'm referencing begins as I pull up to the front of the huge Kum & Go sign. This is when the curtain is raised on the same frumpy Hispanic woman, with two kids clutching onto her, searching through the movies on the Red Box machine. She may not have a face as she is always pressed against the ATM style movie renting box. I always say “Good Morning” to her terrified brood wondering who rents movies at four A.M. I never spend much time on this character, as I am always pulled to the story of the female cashier and her two boyfriends. 

Most days, the Ingenue is sitting cross-legged on the hood of her 1984 Oldsmobile, Cutlass Calais. I always marvel at its showroom condition. For her to be sitting on the hood. She daintily takes a drag from her cigarette as her multiple suitors attempt to woo her with their charm. As every day I pass by this story, and have learned that her husband is “away” for ten years, I have named her Penelope. Last week, I heard one of the suitors says, “you gots beautiful eyes...” Penelope, having heard all this before cut him off with, “I don’t want fake bullshit!” That Odysseus is one lucky man. 

This gas station inexplicably is also a staging point for every Chrysler/Dodge test fleet on their way to do a battle of high altitude mountain driving. With my coffee in hand, it’s not unusual to come out of the store to find a sea of Fiats, 300s, Darts, or even mystery vehicle dressed up in disguise in an attempt to hide new body designs. The technicians and fleet coordinators line up the cars like a platoon to be fueled. I stop and attempt to guess the newest changes to the car under all the cleverly layered bits of plastic. We’ll see in fall, when the new models are unveiled if I was correct. 

I love my daily personal ritual at the Kum & Go. I enjoy seeing the same characters playing their roles over and over. It begins my day, ready for whatever it may bring. 

Friday; however, was completely different. A cold and foggy morning, I pulled in the parking lot to find it abandoned. No renting of movies, no Dodge technicians, the hood of the Cutlass was cold and empty. As I moved from the cold dark, into the warm glow of the fluorescent lighting I spotted Penelope. Alone in the corner making egg sandwiches. No customary “Good morning!’ Just a glance up as I approached the coffee machine. As I met her at the cash register, and her ripping off of plastic food-handling gloves, I noticed she was sporting a Doctor Who themed hoodie.

“I like your hoodie” I cheerfully said. 
Silence. I swiped my card.
“You want cash back?” She said more to the front window than to me.
“No.” I said. Averting my gaze to my styrofoam cup. We finished by Penelope turning on her heels and returning to her work. I sipped my coffee as I slipped into the predawn foggy darkness. 

Other posts about the Kum & Go:
Even with a Baby


Rex said...

KUM and Go, the nae always cracks me up...

Pac said...

I wish we had Kums & Goes here.

Robert said...

We have Kum & Gos here in Iowa and all my friends want t-shirts from there. They make great Christmas gifts.

Erik Rubright said...

She probably didn't even know it was a Doctor Who hoodie.