I worked last night. My co-worker is a huge strapping friend of Cara's. Colby is a really good kid, hilariously funny. I enjoy working with him. Last night was one of those crazy nights. He was doing full serve and running register, which meant he was in and out a lot (in all that heat), and I was often by myself on the register. We were not as crazy busy as we had been over the holiday weekend. Things were finally beginning to calm down.
Anyhow, I happened to glance out and saw a large pile of things sitting along side our store. "Where'd that stuff come from?" I asked, blinking a little. (We'd just had a rush, and I'd been busy.) Colby started to speak, and a dredlocked, deeply tanned young man cheerfully said, "It's my stuff. Need me to move it?" He was returning the restroom key. "No, it's okay, no rush. I just had not seen you walk in." The 'non-gathering' of the Rainbow people is starting to break up, the tribes are heading for home, where ever that might be. So this kid and Colby talked for a minute before he left. He was a polite kid. Good looking. Bright clear eyes. Looking to catch a ride to New York State. He went out the door calling, "Thank you!" as Colby said, "Nice meeting you," and spontaneously, I found myself saying, "Hey. Be careful out there." Because people aren't nice sometimes, you know? The boy has a mother out there, I imagine. One who probably worries about her boy like I worry about my own kids, and like my own kids, this one assured me that he would be careful. Anyways, he gathered up his things, in all that heat, and stepped down the road a piece to an empty store, to wait along the highway with the ubiquitous cardboard sign. Spontaneously, Colby bought him a jug of iced tea, and went out across the parking lot to give it to him. (It was a hot, hot day, up in the high nineties.) I watched the two young men talking animatedly for a couple more minutes, and then Colby returned to the store. He stood over by the coffee machine, watching him for a time. He said, a little wistfully, "You know, if I was not working, I'd totally give him a ride." I smiled a little. "What?!!!" he said. "I know what you're thinking," I said. "What?" he asked again. "You're just the teensiest bit jealous right now." And Colby said, "Yeah. I am. I'd love to just take off. Not like that maybe." No. Indeed not. Colby has a mint condition Monte Carlo sitting in the parking lot. If he ever took off, it would be in his car. But I watched Colby, long hair down around his shoulders, criminal justice major, all around good kid and hard worker, staring out the window at another young man with long hair all down around his shoulders, watching him 'take to the highway', and I smiled to myself. I recognized the look on Colby's face. I used to have those same longings, and I am not so old that I have forgotten that.
Later on, Colby came in, and he said excitedly, "Oh, he got a ride. Somebody stopped for him," and I said, "I hope it's a good person," and Colby said, "Yeah, I know what you mean." The two of us went back to work.