Wearing the right clothes

I ran out of gas last week.

As these things usually go, it was a series of wrong choices. The warning light went off on the way to the hospital, but I wanted to get there ASAP for the visit. I forgot about getting gas leaving the parking lot, and then I was on the freeway, and then there was traffic, and if I pulled off it would take forever and then the traffic would be worse, and of course there would be a gas station on Scholls Ferry Road, only of course there wasn’t, and then there I am stalled on the side of the road a mile and a half from the next gas station.

It started raining.

I considered who I might call, but realized it probably wouldn’t be any faster than dealing with it on my own. So I started walking, thumb out, hoping (assuming?) I could get a ride to the gas station. I got picked up within 200 yards of my car, and despite some awkward silence in some really bad traffic, had an easy time of it. Bought a gas can, filled it with gas, and started walking back to my car, thumb out again.

This time, I had to walk considerably longer, getting wetter and wetter, left thumb out, right hand holding six pounds of gasoline, brain wondering if a protruding rear view mirror was going to give me a concussion. But sure enough, another guy pulled over and let me in.

“Thanks, I really appreciate it.”

“No problem. I was taking my kid to practice and saw you, and was like if he’s still there after I drop off my kid I’m picking him up.” I was impressed. He’d come out of his way back this direction because he saw me, just to be nice. Humans aren’t so bad after all.

“Wow, that’s above and beyond. Thanks a lot!”

“No problem! I mean, you were wearing the right clothes. It wasn’t like you were all homeless looking or had a sign saying you were a veteran or something…” He chuckled.

Jeans and a plaid, collared shirt. That’s what I was wearing.

This is what privilege looks like.

Jeans and a plaid shirt meant I had a better view of humanity.

Made me think about what it must do to your view of humanity when you live a lifetime walking, without having anyone stop.

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