Haley's Poker Blog

No bad beats, but still a poker blog... hence the anguish.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Tough Way to Earn a Bottle of Tokillya

Not much poker content in this one, in part because I've been too busy working of late. The sum total of my poker of late is a handful of small online tourneys and a single trip to Hammond Horseshoe, where I partook of one of their $110 Thursday tourneys of late. I just barely cashed in that one -- 14th of 14 of 110, but at least it's three-fer-three in terms of cashing at tournaments at the Horseshoe.

Next week I'll try my hand at one of the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza tournaments, as I'll be in Vegas for parts of Feb. 4-9. In so late on the 4th it'll really be the 5th, but that's fine.

So much for the poker stuff.

I went to gas up my car earlier today and drop off a latent lottery ticket that was worth a few bucks that had been sitting on a dresser for... at least a couple of months. I'm not big on lottery tickets, by the way; too -EV for my tastes. But there are two gas station within three-fourths of a mile of my apartment. One of them is a cheesy Citgo with pumps that barely work and a mini convenience mart with a roof that leaks so bad that on a heavy rain day there's four or five plastic buckets occupying the aisles. (Thank god the snack treats are sealed in plastic.) The Citgo's also the closest station to a low-income housing development just off the opposite way, so the clientele one stands in line varies between dicey and scary.

I fit right in, come to think of it.

The other choice is an upscale Mobil super gasmart up the same road where it intersects with Route 25. High-end pumps, brightly lit, stylin' canopies.... Last time I bought gas there the bastards double-billed my credit card.

So I use the Citgo. The staff there is friendly, and it feels like real folks to me.

Tonight I pulled in the midst of weather today that's been right at the freezing point. Gassed up, grabbed the window squeegee to scrub off some of the salt that was dimming my headlights, tossed the squeegee back in the rack and started to step around the end of the gas-pump island to head inside and pay. With the glare and the wet pavement, I didn't notice that there had been some significant drip-down from the canopy off the end of the island, which had frozen into a nasty patch of black ice where it reached the ground. I figured it out when my right leg was horizontal and my left leg was joining it in mid-air.

I have pretty quick reflexes, even at my advanced age. While falling, I saw I was going to land across the edge of the island, which was built up much like a sidewalk curb, and I managed to pull in my wrist just before it would have landed across that edge. At that angle, it would have been a snapped wrist. As it was, the wrist literally scraped through and my elbow and forearm took the brunt, losing a largish chunk of skin (and a bit of blood in the process), this despite the fact that it was through the sleeve of my winter coat that the impact occurred. It still hurt.

I climbed to my feet, wincing, checking to make sure nothing was broken. A car pulled in just then and the woman driving must have seen my wipeout, because she jumped out and asked if I need help. I flexed the arm and fingers -- nope, nothing broken. Not much she could do.

I walked inside and the woman at the counter, who's worked there as long as I've been in this area, must also have been told of my wipeout by another customer inside. She was upset by it, and yeah, before I go on, I get the whole insurance angle of all this. But if there's nothing broken, it's not the type of thing I'm that worried above -- we as humans don't live forever and a little bit of skin will grow back in a few weeks. The asshole that hit me with an errant drive (with a driver) off an irons-only golf range a decade or so was much worse, and though I was quite literally laid up for a weekend on that occasion thanks to a golf-ball bruise on my spine, I let his insurance company off with buying me a new bicycle.

Here, it was a woman I knew who had sincere concern, and I was in pain but not with any long-term injury. She ushered me behind the counter where the band-aids and sink and towels were, and then she said, "You need a shot." This being the non-high-rent district, the Citgo has a whole rack of those two-shot sampler bottles of various boozes behind the counter, not to mention a refrigerator full of chilled Mogen David and Boone's Farm just a few feet away.

I knew full well that she was feeling mighty bad about my wipeout, and it's very likely that spreading salt is one of her duties and she was both scared shitless that I was seriously hurt and relieved that I wasn't too bad off when it could have been worse. She kept insisting, "Shot? Beer? It's on me."

And so, fine. People that screw with me, they need to watch their backs. People that are nice to me and treat me right and are just trying to get by in life, I'm not going to screw them. That's my ethos. Fuck with me and you have need to be concerned, but I'm loyal and protective of those who treat me right.

I rarely drink hard alcohol. But on rare occasions.... "I'll take the shot of Jose Cuervo," I said.

She reached up and grabbed the larger size, the six-ounce bottle. "It's on me."

Whatever, I figured. She's not the owner of the station and I figure she paid that hour's wage into the till because of the incident, and while I didn't care about the tequila, I also know that in her own way, she needed to do that. She then followed me outside with the salt and left her other customers just waiting, just to make sure the stuff was taken care of.

Good peoples come in all flavors, sizes and wealth. There's your life lesson for today.

As for me, I'll have a sore arm for a few days. But it'll heal.

Strangely enough, as I picked myself up from the pavement, I noticed a dime next to me on the ground, and it was one that didn't come out of my zipped-up purse. Darned if despite the pain, I didn't reach down and pick it up. I thought of my very broke maternal grandparents and the hard life they lived through the Great Depression and for many years beyond, and I remembered my grandma saving her change, and picking up any pennies she would happen to find on her daily walks, saving them up in a tiny manila envelope just so she could give them to my sister and me. Little rubber-banded envelopes with 17 or 31 pennies bundled inside.

I think I remembered something about karma and life from seeing that dime and picking it up. Yeah, I could have been a big pain in the ass, and yeah, the pain in my arm is certainly going to be significantly more than the value of a six-ounce bottle of Cuervo.

Now ask me if I care.


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