November 2010-There is always a time where everybody’s day becomes a little bit more hectic. Days are long, hours and longer and the minutes that pass always seem like the longest, and in this busy city of ours it’s hard to find that perfect place to relax and unwind and call it a spot of your own. But luckily for me I’ve found that hot spot and that spot is my neighborhood Exxon and I would like to share it with you. Yup that’s right your ordinary neighborhood gas station. But there’s something special about mine, located right on the corner of Aldine Mail Route and U.S. Highway 59. My Houston hot spot never fails me, no matter what I may be going through I go to my Exxon and always leave with my feelings uplifted.
One way my Exxon helps me out, and I’m sure could be useful to many others, is that it helps me think. Here is where I can come when I’ve had a really long day, may be that I could be stressed about a certain situation or just need some alone time. The excitement that I experience here takes me back to the bodegas at home in the big city (New York) where I grew up and first experienced the meaning of a true bodega. There you could find a bodega on any street corner no matter where you were. As you entered the little shack you can hear the Latino music playing throughout the store and the store owners talking with their strong Hispanic accents. In case, you are unsure of what a bodega actually is, it is the equivalent to a typical corner store. It still has everything to offer you, your favorite snacks (ice cream, chips, candy, soda, ice, etc). So my Exxon is really special to me for that reason and many others.
When I’m at my neighborhood Exxon, one of the things that I enjoy doing is listening to the sounds that go on while I am there. On a Friday or Saturday night you will hear the different crowds getting gas, beer, ice, cigarettes, getting ready to go to their hot spot the club down Highway 59 called Escapade 2000 and 2001. Where at the end of a busy night out my ordinary Exxon will be there new found hot spot to meet up and hang out at as everyone gets directions to the next after hour or to a friend’s house. Or early in the morning you’ll see a gas station full of people getting ready for their days work filling up there gas tanks, getting their morning coffee, and talking about the long day they have ahead of them, and with that thought of motivation of everyone else around me getting ready to conquer there day it gives me that much more positive strength. Or the hype of the mid-day rush hour, that lets me know that I have made it half way through my day. Let’s not forget the simple conversations that might be taking place around you either. Everyone with different stories to tell some might me personal others may be about their visit to my Exxon.
When I’m here at my Exxon I come across all sorts of people, and more than often it happens to be someone I may know. Even the workers here I have come to befriend. On a average day you’ll see you working class, or on a after school after noon you’ll see you typical teenager stopping by for there and size fountain drink for 99 cent trying to make it home, and the homeless guy who sits there faithfully everyday asking do to you need help pumping your gas or maybe washing your windows for whatever change you can give him. I might even see a friend or two while I’m there getting gas as well. My Exxon is also a spot where I might come meet up with somebody to give directions to my house, being that it is located right on the corner of the street where I live it is a much easier spot just to come to, and it’s so extremely close to my house it’s not a hassle at all.
Being away from home has not been easy for me and my Houston hot spot has come in handy to me ever since I moved into this part of town. Not only for me but seeing that Houston is such a city of cars coincidence it can be helpful to any of you as well. If you are ever in the area or having a bad day try my Exxon out for size and see how much it helps. Houston is a huge city full of many different attractions, museums, parks, landmarks, clubs, restaurants, but it’s the small things you have to notice and why they are so great and appreciate them.
Brittany Cortez is currently a part time student at the University of Houston Downtown, who is thinking in majoring in education. She grew up in the Bronx, New York and believes that our children hold our future. To futher pursue her life long dream of becoming a educator she is currently employed as a daycare teacher for preschool children.