The Gas Man Speaks Out
Monday, March 22,2004 around 3:00 p.m.
I have been sitting in a small diner located inside a gas station for nearly and hour. All of the sudden, a man walks in. He is wearing a bright red hat and a blue jacket with a local gas company name on it. Across his face lies a salt and pepper colored beard and a friendly smile. I approach him, introduce myself, and explain our mission. He shows interest in the topic at hand, so I ask him if I could interview him. “Sure,” he replies, seeming not in a hurry to be anywhere particular.
Gasman explains that math is the best subject of all. He uses mathematics everyday at work in order to read meters. He explains that he enjoyed taking math classes somewhat. I do a little further probing, and discover that one reason he doesn’t regret taking those classes is because Gasman met Mrs. Gasman in one of his math courses when he was seventeen years old.
He chats awhile about his daughter and son. Gasman modestly boasts that his daughter had received a double major in accounting in only three years and still lives and works in Padua. He explains that when he tries to help his son with math, he (Gasman) can find the answer, but does not understand the formulas that teachers insist the students use.
Overall, Gasman feels pretty confident at solving math problems. He explains that he only took what was required in school; the basics and commercial math. Algebra and geometry, Gasman explains, were not required so he did not take them. He conveys a feeling of good fortune when describing all of his teachers as nice and compassionate. He feels that if he would have taken more advanced mathematics, he could have worked at a better job sooner and retired earlier. Nevertheless, Gasman is very content with his current job.
Gasman reinforces the same concern that many other Padua inhabitants have; the young people move away. With this statement, I can see that he is sincerely worried about the future of Padua, W.Va. Afterwards, I thank him and give Gasman some follow-up information about our project. I then walk away, hoping that in some small way, we are making a difference. I truly believe that we are.