Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Prison Food, Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work

Spirit of the Season

2012 Edition Hess Truck
As a girl growing up in a family of metrosexual men, I can't remember ever seeing a toy truck in our house.  Maybe a plastic dump truck for sand at the beach, but that's it.  I am not much of a truck expert.

Luckily for my son, when we moved to New Haven in 2002 (he was 6 months old), we lived upstairs from Mr. R.  A man among men, Mr. R. had served as a fighter pilot in WWII and enjoyed a long career as a general contractor/home builder.  His apartment had a choice collection of model airplanes and baseballs. Among other things, Mr. R. knew trucks and every Christmas he gave Javier the annual Hess Truck.  They are really awesome, with lights and lots of moving parts.  If you've got little people on your list, buy this truck for them.

So I was thinking about Mr. R. and Christmas time when I pulled into the Hess this morning (8:30 am) to fill my tank.  Javier says he's too old for a Hess truck this year, so I was thinking about that.  And the fact that the little door on my gas tank is hard to open, even though I got it "fixed," and one day I might not be able to  pry it open anymore. Then, behind me, I heard women's voices screaming.

I turned around from the gas tank and there were two 30ish White women, in pajama bottoms and short-sleeved t-shirts, fighting.  One was on the ground in a fetal position.  The other was kicking her in the stomach while pulling her head up by her ponytail.  The woman's glasses flew off her head.

I was wondering just what I should do, I hadn't even had my coffee yet, and then they stopped.  The woman on the ground got up and they were insulting each other.  Then they were quiet.  And then they both got into a blue sedan that a third person was filling up a the pump and drove off. Together.

I was shaking when I got back into the car.  What was that?  Two really sad people in the middle of some messed up chaos.  Friends? Family? Lovers? How does one go from being the kid with the Hess truck, to the woman lying on the ground at the gas station getting kicked in the stomach on a cold December morning?  Random acts of unkindness to mark the holiday season. Unseen by all except for the two participants and a few casual onlookers.  Hmmm....that's an odd thing to see at the gas station.  Keep pumping, onto work and the morning coffee.  There but for the grace of God, go I.