05 May 2011

Love on the winds of Petrol

Thanks to my new commute and my second job which sends me in three different directions I have to fill up my car with gas much more frequently. I get great mileage but I find myself hunting for a gas station almost once a week now. Quite the change from my 3-4 week interval when the office was just a few miles down the road. My goal is to find the cheapest gas but sometimes my hunt outlasts my gas tank and I have to resort to whatever is convenient so that I can actually make it to work the next morning. And what is often the most convenient is the Chevron just down the street from my house. It isn’t the cheapest but it is the most entertaining. And when I need a little affection, I know where to steer my car – straight to my gas station boyfriend at the Chevron!
I found myself in need of gas the other night; it was later in the evening so my best option was the Chevron. As I pulled in next to the pump I spotted my boyfriend, not in need of affection I didn’t put my window all the way down hoping that would deter him. Manuel was excited to see me, “Hello my friend!” “Hola, amigo.”  “I have not seen you in long time.” “I’ve been here, you have not.” I passed him my debit card and asked him to fill it up with regular. As he gave me my card back he mentioned that it was going to be his birthday the next day. “Really? It was your birthday the last time I was here!” He started laughing and reached in my window to squeeze my shoulder. Hm… guess having the window only half way down was not enough of a deterrent to touch me. “You come celebrate with tequila?” “It’s not your birthday.” “No, but you can come for tequila.” For some reason I started to wonder if I had his name correct. I’ve been calling him Manuel for awhile but suddenly I doubted if that was right. “Como se llama?” (Aren’t you impressed that I’m starting to actually try out my feeble Spanish with actual native speakers?!) He gasped, “What?” “Que es su nombre?” He acted hurt, taking quick gasps of air, “You no remember my name? You no know my name?”  “I think I do, but I am not sure.” “What you think?” “Manuel?” Looking pained, he responded “Ohhhh!! You no know my name!” As he walked to the other side of the pump to assist another customer he yelled over his shoulder, “You not my friend! You not my friend! But I love you.” I couldn’t help but laugh.
After getting the other car started he came back around and unzipped his coat to show me his name badge – Raphael. I’ve been calling him the wrong name all this time! But I think I’ll still call him Manuel, it suits him better. He then replaced the gas cap and handed me my receipt which was followed with his arm reaching in around my shoulders awkwardly through the limited  window opening to give me a hug.  “Bye bye. See you soon. I love you!” Through fits of laughter and shaking my head, “Adios amigo.” Yes, it is definitely worth the extra dollar for the entertainment.

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