Saturday, January 22, 2011

Girls and their gas stations

When I was 19, I worked as a cashier at SuperAmerica. It was, by far, the most obnoxiously boring job I have ever had in my life. That is, until I got my very first Gas Station Stalker.

You see, if you're a gas station employee and female, you are guaranteed at least one stalker. The Stalker is someone who comes in to buy his daily 3.2% alcohol 40oz malt liquor and two packs of Marlboro reds, and notices the new cashier-- you! He kindly informs you that he finds you pretty (swooooon), and on the spot declares you to be his favorite cashier. You smile and say thanks as you take his smelly, wadded-up singles and give him his change. He leaves.

Cut to the next week. Since your first meeting with your new stalker, he's managed to memorize the days you work, and which shifts. He now makes sure that he waits until you're there to buy his smokes and watered-down booze, and stands off to the side while you ring up other people, to ensure that he gets some face time with you. You still naively think it's a little cute, and maybe he's kind of gross, but mostly, he seems harmless, so you just deal with it.

Cut to a month later. Dude no longer gives a shit that you don't want to give him your number, or that you have a boyfriend. He continues trying his best to convince you to go on a date with him and his Marlboros and 40s. You complain about this to your coworkers, who tell you about their own stalkers, who are nearly identical to yours. Next time you see Stalker Man coming up to the store, you announce to your coworkers, "I'm going to hide in the cooler! If he asks, I'm dead." Your coworker complies. You do the same for her when her stalker comes in an hour later. You notice, resentfully, that your male coworkers lack stalkers.

Sometimes, you're a girl who doesn't work at a gas station, but instead, you're a girl who goes to a gas station on a regular basis. Maybe you're my sister, who lives half a block away from a gas station and has a reason to go there nearly every day. And maybe the slimy douchebag who seems to be the only one working there won't leave you the bloody hell alone, to the point where you refuse to go to this gas station unless you know for sure that he is not there. Maybe you ask your sister to go for you.

So. That's where I come in. I frequently go next door to the gas station to buy my sister a pack of cigarettes, because Slimy Douche has made her that uncomfortable by repeatedly trying to get in her pants (which, had he been successful, would have been the second pair of pants in our town-home complex into which he's managed to get). This does not fool Slimy Douche, who has memorized my sister's preferred brands of cigarettes and soda, so he asks where she is. "The Girl," he calls her. I politely tell him she's busy, not wanting to make things awkward for her if she were to come in again later when he's working. He says "aww, that's too bad."

This continues on a frequent basis, as me, my mom, and husband trade off buying my sister cigarettes. See, he doesn't bother me, because I come into the store with my husband on a regular basis, so he knows I'm
already someone else's property
not likely to be interested. One night, I go in to buy her smokes. She's waiting in the car, as we are about to go out. He is finally fed up with this and asks why she won't come in. Is she scared of him? For the most part, he seems like a decent enough guy, if not utterly fucking clueless, so I figure I'll try to help him out a little. He seems to feel genuinely bad. I kindly explain that his frequent flirtatious behavior started to make her uncomfortable, so she prefers to avoid him. He kind of laughs, and explains that he wasn't trying to be serious, he just liked to get a rise out of people. He seems nervous, and keeps rambling. I interrupt him to politely explain that most women tend to get hit on just about everywhere they go, or whistled at, or rudely leered at, so it may be something she's very tired of dealing with. He doesn't let me finish, but instead interjects to inform me that he would be thrilled if he got hit on every day by women. Not wanting to go into a Feminist Theory 101 lecture with him about street harassment and how insulting and ridiculous it is to expect women to take all this shit as a fucking compliment, I smile tightly, take my purchases, and say 'bye.'

Yesterday, I go into the gas station. I changed my hair (got bangs), and he noticed. "You did something... your hair? Is your hair different?" I tell him it is, I just cut bangs. I smile, because I'm always so damn nice to everyone all the time, especially people who don't deserve it. He is about to say something, but stops himself. He then restarts, and says in a frowny-face voice I hadn't yet heard from Slimy Douche, "well, I would tell you it looks nice, but I wouldn't want to offend you."

Motherfucking son of a...