The beef jerky stinks.
It was purchased an hour ago at a grungy gas station from a clean-enough box of meat sticks against my advice. As my husband lifted the plastic lid of the container and pulled out a piece of jerky with tongs, he said over his shoulder, “You have to trust someone sometime.”
I wasn’t certain that this sage piece of wisdom applied in this situation.
The clerk watched us warily and sipped from a can of diet Mountain Dew. I guessed he sized us up pretty quickly. We were out-of-towners, two out of the hundreds who must pass by on a weekly basis, lured inside by the hopeful promise of a bathroom and caffeinated beverage to get us through the next leg of the journey. No special treatment was to be given, not that it was expected. Although, a smile might have been nice.
Nonetheless, we slipped the unpackaged piece of meat into a wax paper bag, paid, and left the store. My husband was gleeful at his newly acquired meat snack.
“It’s homemade, the best kind,” he explained, unconcerned with the potential for a weird gas-station-foodborne illness.
Images of a dark garage, with greasy car parts jumbled together in one corner and tools and cans of old paint on sagging shelves, and a workbench where the meat was sliced and seasoned next to a pile of screws filled my mind. I envisioned a man with denim overalls and no undershirt shaking salt over the cut of meat and rubbing it in with dirty, black nails.
“Would you save it for later?” my husband asked sweetly, handing the jerky to me.
Bleh, I shuddered at the thought of actually eating it, but agreed.
So now, the jerky is riding shotgun in my purse. It’s peeking out over the zippered edge until the driver of this rig remembers it, stinking as only an unwrapped piece of dehydrated and seasoned meat will do.
In the meantime, I am trying to keep quiet. My guess is the beef jerky is barely fit for a vulture and certainly not for my spouse. Yet, who am I to crush his dreams of consuming what he expects to be the tastiest purchase ever made from a country gas station? Who am I to stop anyone from doing what they want?
Freewill is only dangerous most of the time, but what are we without it?
“Der Mensch kann tun was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will.
Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms