Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 30: Lobject’s highway mileage sign

As soon as we pulled onto 485 I’d light two cigarettes, passing one to the left and rolling down the window. We find a god song and turn it up, listening to music until the skyline was behind us.
These dark Sundays night all look the same now. We left Charlotte later than intended. Monica didn’t want to say goodbye. I’d worked third shift at the Waffle House and my sleep schedule was off. We were headed back to college—a five hour trip we once cut down to four hours after following an ambulance through most of the Greensboro to Raleigh stretch.
“Keep me awake. Tell me about your weekend.” She smiled excitedly. We went everywhere and at any time of day or night. I was always awake.  I slept once in the car with Monica when I was very sick.
There was always good Waffle House drama. We called 911 for various reasons. One night someone drove into the restaurant. Once, everyone in the store watched a car on fire speed down highway 51. Drunk assholes would try to stiff us on busy nights. Often, I knew before it happened. No eye contact and everyone ordering the same thing were giveaways. I’d always let them get in their car before calling with the make, model and direction headed. Fighting was common, too. Usually it was lots of yelling between tables. Occasionally there was a fight we (well, people stronger than me) pushed outside where the fight was no longer our problem and usually fizzled out. One night, though, a guy slammed another’s head into every window pane, jerking him around the building quite effortlessly. I remember admiring the speed in which he moved. He was not drunk. I assumed the guy getting beat up was a bad man. He cheated on the other’s sister or maybe assaulted his wife—something to warrant exact revenge.      
We timed out our cigarettes at first. One an hour. The later it got, the more frequent the cigarettes. My stories usually lasted until Greensboro or Raleigh. Monica went through her weekend’s activities, too. And then we saw the home-stretch sign: Greenville 77 miles. The sign woke us up, told us we were close, and gave us permission to be silly. I’m pretty sure there were more than 77 miles until Greenville from that sign, but we believed it nonetheless. That sign let us know we were close to home. When we saw the sign on ECU t-shirts mocking NC State fans, it was a way to keep the sign and show our pirate pride forever.  

2 comments:

  1. This reminds me that the last three times (over the last few years) that I went to Waffle House, there was some super sketch stuff that happened. I don't know how/admire you for working there!

    Scattered. smothered, covered, and, perhaps, peppered. :)

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