Getting back on track isn’t rocket science

Kristine Gill

This column is a shout out. I don’t like to do these sort of things, but sometimes they seem appropriate. And before you get all excited, no this isn’t the column you’ve been waiting for. The shout out is not for you, Zesty, Janessa, Aaron, Travis, Brent, Stephanie, Chad, Alex, Zach or Evan. Nope. This is a shout out for Gloria.

Gloria is a woman in her late 50s. She’s single now. Her husband died in a fire 10 years ago. She lives alone with a scruffy little dog named Harry, and she likes to watch “Wheel of Fortune.” Gloria has a few kids who are grown up and live all over the country now.

Actually, I don’t know much about Gloria. I made that up. All I really know is that Gloria works at a Circle K in the middle of nowhere, and that she knows how to get to OH-5 East from U.S. 62 West.

On Saturday, I took my sister, Katie, to see comedian Chelsea Handler at the Packard Music Hall in Warren as a birthday surprise. All of those numbers and directions can get pretty confusing; that’s why we had to stop in the first place.

It was after a good performance by Chelsea that we headed back and encountered some trouble. We drove with confidence, and it wasn’t until we found ourselves on a side street of some crap town that we realized we were lost.

My mind raced while hair-raising obscenities of every kind issued from Katie’s mouth. I told myself the worst-case scenario was having to drive aimlessly until morning shed its light and accompanying clarity on our situation.

But rather than wander, we stopped at a scary little Circle K and met Gloria. It was obvious she thought Katie and I were pretty dumb. We couldn’t answer her questions about how we’d ended up there and all I could do was flash my MapQuest directions while emphasizing that Kent State was our final destination.

Gloria turned out to be pretty nice, but it was difficult to follow her advice. She closed her eyes, screwed up her face and had to work pretty hard to think of where we had to go. I thought about how I’d have to kick myself once we’d ended up in Texas all because we’d taken advice from someone who gets paid to stock shelves with Twinkies and lighters at 4 a.m. each night and calls me “hun.”

NASA astronauts wouldn’t take advice from an expert who said he was pretty sure galactic space route 82 eventually, somewhere along the way, probably, turned into galactic space route 5. What luxury such people had to ask the advice of a second professional.

But Katie and I had taken a wrong turn at some asteroid a few light years back and had to place all of our trust in this uncertain little Martian.

But Gloria was right. That road turned into this road, and we’re home safe now. I’m pretty thankful too. So thankful that I’m shouting a big thanks out to her. Thank you, Gloria. Thank you for manning the Circle K counter and for taking a stab at giving those directions. Tonight’s Twinkie is on me.

Kristine Gill is a newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].