15 February 2011

Is romance in the air? Or just the fumes of gasoline?

A few weeks ago I made a comment on Facebook that the dating lives of my roommate and I should be made into a reality TV show; that I find it extremely amusing. The comment was met with enthusiastic responses. While I may not be able to pull together a TV show, I can post the occasionally blog with the more entertaining escapades. Valentine's Day seemed like the perfect time to start. So with no more introduction...

Okay, maybe a little more introduction... a refresher. I have an admirer. I call him Manuel. I'm not entirely sure that is his name, but that is what is etched on his name tag. He works at the Chevron station just down the street from my home. I wrote about him previously in "Manuel, Applicant for Boyfriend." I know you're overjoyed that there is another installment.

A dark evening last week (when is it not dark in the evening this time of year?) I needed gas for my car and was low enough that I needed to go to the station nearest my house. Slowly pulling into the gas station I stare down the attendant to see if it is my grande amor, Manuel. I don't recognize the fellow and was a mixture of relief and disappointment - he is entertaining afterall. Stepping out of the car I walk over to the island and grab the window-washer-scrubber-squeegee thing and start scrubbing my front window. My whole car needed to be washed. Badly. But until I could get that done, cleaning off the windows so that I could see would have to suffice. Just after starting on the drivers side of the windshield I hear a voice beside me with a Latin inflection, "What are you doing?" Turning to the voice I am greeted with the sight of my favorite gas station attendant. Had he been there when I drove up? Did I not recognize my best admirer? "I'm washing the window." I answered wondering if I could just stop and dash back into my car for protection. "Do you want to work here?" he asked with a chuckle. I pass him my debit card and ask him to fill it up with regular.

As he fitted the nozzle into the tank he told me it was his birthday. After a long pause during which I debated internally whether to wish him a happy birthday in Spanish or not (would I botch it? would he be offended?) I wished him "Happy birthday!" (in English). By now I had started working on cleaning the back window and Manuel was standing behind my car so I tried to make small talk, "So how old are you?" "What? Why do you ask?" "Because you said it was your birthday." "Why do you want to know?"  "I was just asking." I began to suspect that maybe it wasn't his birthday, but then again, maybe it was and he was unwilling to admit his age.

To avoid talking about his age, Manuel asked "Are you new here? You have not been here before." Oh! How shocking! My heartthrob didn't remember me! It was like a stab in the heart. Okay, not really. It had been many, many months since I had seen him so it wasn't that surprising he didn't remember me, the one he previously had claimed to love. With such a large gap of time since I had seen him, I actually wondered if he had been deported. But here he was standing in front of me trying to get out of me where I live and asking me to come join him for a birthday drink of tequila after he got off work.

Alas, my windows were washed and the tank filled, it was time to say good-bye. But not without a hug! Service at the Chevron is affectionate. Before I knew what was happening I was being squeezed tightly, his stubble painfully feeling like a porcupine against my cheek. "Only because it's your birthday!" I said as I wiggled out of his grip. He said he would see me later for tequila. I got back into my car and as I drove off returned his wave with a smile. Still smelling his cologne as I took off my coat to hang on the hook in the garage I chuckled. Oh, Manuel, you are just so amusing, but I think you have been inhaling the gasoline fumes too long.


Courtney C said...

Oh Jenn! This story is tragic! How could he forget you so?? Even if he was deported and had to fight his way back??? Obviously, God has better things in store than Manuel, the boyfriend applicant/gas station attendant/gas fume sniffer! Manuel, Manuel...you kill me dude!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenn,

I am pretty sure they have a survey on your receipt. I have filled it out many times. Under customer service you could say extremely friendly.