My relationship with Manuel started several months ago. I pulled into the Chevron down the street from my home to fill up on gas one afternoon. Manuel was the only attendant and he stuck close by my car. He tried making some small talk, "How is your evening?" "Oh, good." I'm not used to talking it up while getting gasoline. I had asked for a fill-up with the discounted car wash - my car was more dirt than car. As he handed me my receipt he carefully pointed out where it showed that I had pre-paid for the car wash, how much I had saved, and "you have very beautiful eyes." Huh, what?! My brain couldn't register his last statement as it didn't have anything to do with my car, gasoline, or a car wash. He repeated himself, "You have very pretty eyes. Are they green?" "No, they're blue. Thanks." "They are very beautiful. Have a good evening." Weird, but amusing.
A few weeks later my gas grill ran out of propane. Having never been in need of propane before I didn't know what to do. I noticed my local gas station had it for sale and figured that if I showed up while Manuel was working I guessed that I could bat my eyes and have him take care of it for me. I guessed correctly. While he was filling up my propane tank he asked what I was planning to fix - hot dogs. He suggested carne asada, and that I should invite him over. I agreed that carne asada sounded much better than hot dogs, but I had been craving a grilled dog covered in sauerkraut and topped with a little veganaise so I was going to stick with my original choice. He said I could bring him one, that he still would be working for a couple more hours. I just laughed it off. Manuel was very helpful, he did everything, even putting the tank back in my trunk, and wrote up the receipt for less than what actually went in. Did I feel a little guilty for taking advantage of him? Just a twinge. But it's just so hard being me with my beautiful eyes that I can use to persuade guys to do work for me.
It has been awhile since I've been in desperate need of gas so that I'll go to the Chevron instead of Costco, but today was one of those days. The needle was precipitously close to the E and I didn't want to take the extra time to go to Wilsonville for the cheaper gas. After all, I'd only save maybe a buck. As I pulled into the Chevron I noticed my buddy and wondered what he was going to say this evening. Manuel did not disappoint. As he was giving back my debit card he was sounding out my name, "Yenn-e-fair. Hen-i-fir. That is your name?" "Yeah. (he hands me the card) Thanks." I start digging around for the wallet I just had in my hands to replace the card in it's slot. But then Manuel is back at my window, "Henny-fur, are you married?" "No." "Do you have a boyfriend?" Long pause - do I lie to try and create a barrier or tell the truth?? "Do you have a boyfriend?" "Not at the moment." Good compromise, truth but with enough edge that maybe one is imminent. "Can I have an application?" "Ha, ha! That's a good one." He walks off with a grin. He brings me my receipt and is studying it, "Ginn-e-fer, is this number right? 503-637..." "Ha, ha. Nice try." "Can I have your number?" "No, I don't think so." He hands me my receipt and then reaches into my car and squeezes my shoulder. He tells me, "Have a nice evening. I love you." "What!?!" "Just kidding. See you next time." And again, he reaches in my car and gives a couple squeezes to my shoulder. Part of me is incredibly amused and humored by the interaction with Manuel, another part is screaming don't ever go back there.