The time was nearing 7 on a weekday evening, and Art was late getting home. After work, he had browsed a bookstore, then stopped to buy some grtoceries.
As he was driving home, he saw that his gas tank was about three-fourths empty, so he stopped at a convenience store to buy some fuel.
As he stood in line to pay for his gas, he realized that he stopped at convenience stores for one big reason:
Restrooms accessible to the public.
And when he used the restroom of a convenience store, he often bought something. It was usually a candy bar or a soft drink. If he used the restroom of a fastfood place, he usually bought a small drink to go.
He did that as an obligation that he must fulfill. He used their services, so he had to buy something. If he didn't do that, he often felt guilty because he was ripping them off.
He didn't know how or where he ever got that idea.
As he got closer to the clerk at the cash register, he moved by a food display case that contained sandwiches made at the store and ready to be eaten after they were bought. Often when he was hungry, he bought one of them, but usually didn't do that because the bread in the sandwiches was dry and white and the meat was often tasteless and sometimes a sickly shade.
He saw one of the sandwiches had been squished into a shape that resembled a ball.
Then he chuckled at a memory.
In high school, he played halfback on the freshman football team. A teammate who also played halfback had a bad habit; he didn't carry the football close to him, so when he was tackled, he often fumbled.
The coach, Dan McGraw, would scream at the player:
"DAMN IT, SON -- DON'T CARRY THE FOOTBALL LIKE IT'S A LOAF OF BREAD!"
McGraw was nicknamed Goon. He was a minorleague Woody Hayes. He thought yelling and screaming at his players was the best way to motivate them. This was during the time when half the high school football coaches in the Midwest were minorleague Woody Hayeses.
And now, after all those years, in front of Art was a loaf of bread that looked like it had been carried like a football.
Then he remembered that the player was often nicknamed Loaf or Loafer or Light, as in light in the loafers -- a slang phrase for an effeminate homosexual.
When Art got to the clerk, he decided he wanted some change for a $20 bill. He asked for two $5 bills and ten $1 bills. Then he said, "I'm not going to use them all at a titty bar."
Right after he said that, he wondered:
Why the hell did I tell him that? He didn't need to know what I was going to use the bills for. Besides, if the clerk had been a woman, I wouldn't have told her that.
The clerk gave him the change and then replied:
"Hey, if you were going to a titty bar, you'd want all ones."
As Art drove home, he thought:
I told that guy what I wanted out of habit. I usually tell people why I do something or what something done to defuse their possible objections. because they have objected in the past. Because what I want from life is often different that what most people I know want from it. So I must explain so they might understand it and therefore approve it because most people usually don't approve of things they don't understand.
From now on, if no one asks me for a reason or an explanation of my actions, I won't give them one. And if they want a reason, I'll tell them the truth, no matter how they'll react.
And another thing: Quit feeling guilty for using the rest rooms at those convenience stores. That is what they are there for. If they weren't for the public to use, they wouldn't be so easily accessable.
After Art made those decisions and followed them, his life became a little less smooth that it was before. But he felt more satisfaction as he lived it.