I took my first shower at a truck stop in Lewisburg Pennsylvania. I was unsure if the travel store, the one with all the 18 wheelers parked out back, really had showers as I couldn’t find them. After about three inquisitive laps through the store and café, with large bearded men watching me as they sipped coffee, I had to ask the attendant. So much for acting like I knew what I was doing.
He told me the showers were upstairs. “Eet eez ten dollarz. There eez towels, soap, everything you need but voman.”
He handed me the slip with my code to open the door and I stepped into a large bathroom with a shower, mirror, sink, and a plastic seat tucked under the counter. Aside from haunting thoughts of truckers with “voman”, it wasn’t half bad. I loaded my dirty clothing into my backpack, took one last look in the mirror to make sure I was presentable, and headed back out to the van.
I patted every pocket, turned my pack inside out, and finally found my keys by peering through the window of the van. They were on the driver’s seat where they had fallen out of my coat pocket. I was forced to go back inside and ask the Carhart clad crowd if anyone had a slimjim. They didn’t.
I walked back to the garage out back where three mechanics were unlocking for their 7:00 open time. I explained I had locked my keys in the car to which they just answered by yelling, “Daryll” towards the back of the garage. “Got it,” he responded as he tucked two slim jims in the back of his belt, grabbed his coffee mug, and started toward the parking lot. I followed. “I do this at least twice a week (I felt a little consoled). Ahh, it’s a new model, what an a’07, ’08?” he asked as he approached a white sports car. “I’ts actually a ’99 and over here,” I corrected, pointing him toward the van.
After ten minutes of trying both doors and both slimjims (two sizes), we turned our attention to the back door where the lock had been removed by the previous owner. He went back to the shop for a screw driver, flashlight, and a smoke. He returned in his little gold coupe, having driven the 20 yards back from his shop. The back door didn’t work.
After another hour we turned to the side doors. One of the side doors has an external hinge, much like any household door. Daryll (spelled with two Ls according to his shirt) took another trip and returned with a drill that he bragged had superior torque and cost him $400. The torque was great for removing the hinge but not in opening the door. He waved the drill at the waitress and shouted “morning gorgeous”, as she crossed the lot on her way to work. “Don’t tell my wife,” he chuckled more to himself than to me. Next we tried a coat hanger.
I was holding the door seal ajar with a screwdriver while Daryll fished for the latch with the hanger. As the clock ticked along he became more and more determined. He also became more talkative. Climbing on the hood inspired tales of his knee surgery due to a football injury his senior year. He had three scholarship offers before the injury but is consoled knowing he still holds the school record for receiving yards. A waitress leaving the truck stop inspired another “morning gorgeous”, and some tales of Daryll’s female conquests. In the end it took three hours and I left grateful for Daryll’s help, sixty dollars worth of grateful, and now know that my van is just slightly less secure than Fort Knox.
Do we still keep gold in Fort Knox?