Sunday, January 18, 2009

RV trip day 14—free money and finis

Long johns in Old Town, San Diego

We had planned on two short driving days to get home, but once on the road we decided to keep going til we reached Las Cruces. The drive was more tiring than I expected, partly because the RV is a bit harder to drive than a car. But we're home and happy, and the cats seem pleased to have room to zoom around and finally burn off pent-up energy.

Around lunchtime, we pulled into a rest stop in Arizona and parked in the section reserved for trucks. As I was drinking coffee, someone started banging on my front door. It was a young fellow who was smiling and gesturing at me to get out of the cab. Though a little reluctant to get out, I did. He started jabbering about somebody giving away gas money, and introduced himself and stuck out his hand for me to shake it, which I did—that much seemed harmless.

"A guy's giving away gas money," he said. "Didn't you hear it on your CB?"

"No, I don't have a CB."

"Well, come on anyway! He's giving away money!"

"Um, no, that's okay."

"Come ON!" He pointed to a cluster of men standing in the parking lot next to the trucks, and the men were all shaking hands and acting cheerful, so I went.

"Here," he said, pointing to the man at the center of it all. "Shake hands with a winner!"

I shook hands with the winner, who held a fistful of bills in his left hand. At the previous truck stop he had bought a scratch ticket that won him $189,000, and on the CB he told fellow truckers to meet him because he was going to give everyone gas money—hundred-dollar bills. As I was standing there, a few of them were playing three-card monte on the blacktop, which immediately made me suspicious that one of them was running a con. A fellow in the group handed me my hundred-dollar bill, and I handed it back and returned to my RV.

There was apparently no con involved; the man was just so happy, he wanted to share with his fellow truckers, and I just happened to be there. Someone said a local TV news crew was supposed to be on its way to meet him. I don't know how much money he received on the spot, but it didn't feel right to accept his generosity. I don't know why. If I had won that money, I sure wouldn't tell a bunch of strangers.

Later in the day, we stopped at a diner for slices of pizza that probably would have been good if we'd eaten them the day they were made. The place was almost deserted except for us and an old gentleman sitting by himself, wearing old clothes and a broad-brimmed hat. He looked at me and said, "Well, the commies are taking over next week."

"Pardon me?" I said.

"The commies are taking over in Washington. They're gonna take our guns away."

As one might imagine, a deep intellectual conversation ensued. The problem, he said, was nobody understands we have a Second Amendment. He said he is a proud lifetime member of the NRA, and while he is worried about Obama, "at least that woman didn't get in."

This got Nancy's attention. "I'm a woman," she said. "Is there a problem with women holding office?"

"Not if they're qualified, I suppose. I happen to really like that woman from Alaska."

I smiled at him. "Oh," I said, "the one who shoots wolves from a helicopter?"

He smiled back. "Yeahhh," he said.

I neglected to tell him I campaigned for Obama and eagerly anticipate his inauguration. The damn guy might have shown me his .44.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Like the photo!

I definitely did NOT vote for Obama, but once he's in office, I pray he will do an outstanding job!

L. Diane Wolfe

Jenny Beans said...

Bob I really enjoyed reading your story and will definitely be back to read more about your adventures.

Jenny Bean

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Loved the photo! And as an Obama supporter I am so looking forward to the inauguration.

Jane Kennedy Sutton
Author of The Ride

Chester Campbell said...

You do have interesting travels, Bob. The scratch-off tale is great. The trucker must have carried a good supply of hundreds with him, though, since lottery sellers can only pay off prizes up to $500. Like Diane, I didn't vote for Obama, but I wish him well. I'm afraid he's facing an uphill battle.

Anonymous said...

Cool post, and LOVE the longjohns photo!

Carter said...

Welcome home! So to speak.

I'd have been suspicious, too, but I'd have taken the hundred and rushed to invest with Bernie Madoff.

Hard times ahead, but but all shall be well. Maybe people will learn something.

Anonymous said...

That was nice of that one guy to share his newfound wealth. I wish him many more returns on his good deed, though I wouldn't have taken the money, either.

You wouldn't believe the conversations I get into here in MN before folks realize I'm Mexican. Just because I "look white" and have in interest in emergency preparedness, they think they can really "open up" with me or something.

Ruth D~ said...

Funny. Love these slice-of-life vignettes. Might see this guy as a character in on of your stories. Good for Nancy, too!