Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Yesterday morning on the way to Carson City, I stopped at the 7-11 near my house. Gas and a bottle of water. The Smart kind of water. Because it makes me feel smart. Or hydrated. One of the two. Or both. And both are important.

I grabbed my gas card and noted the mileage on my odometer as I swung my legs out of the car and onto the asphalt. I chanted 21,361 over and over as I made my way to the pump, 'cause when you use a fleet gas card, in addition to your super secret Driver ID the pump calls for your car's mileage. I tapped in my driver code and then wrestled with the pump, for it always seems to be a wrestle for me.

Once my gas tank was satisfied I wrestled the pump back to its home, went into the 'lil mart for a Clif Bar and my Smart Water, came out, and slid back into the car. I went through the blast-off rigmarole: clicked my seat belt, twisted off the cap of my water, tore open the Clif Bar, turned the key, pressed Play on my iPod, put on my magnetic name tag, and was about to put ‘er into Drive when I spied a man at my window.

A small man—maybe 5’5”, slight, probably in his early 40s, sort of resembling Sean Penn, wearing jeans with a wife-beater, and pinching a cigarette in one paw. This man gestured for me to roll down my window. I politely shook my head (for I’m highly discouraged to do such things even in the daylight—on certain topics I heed my husband’s admonishing like a dutiful daughter). He motioned for it to be just a crack. I relented—hoping that were he to shove some weapon through the crack someone in the nearly-full gas station would hear my screams—and let my window down an inch.


I’m sorry to bother you [Oh great, is he going to ask me for money or directions? I don’t carry cash, so I’m useless for the money. And I’m terrible with directions, so I’m useless for those as well . . . why couldn't he have approached someone else?], but I just wanted to tell you that I just drove 2400 miles and you’re the prettiest lady I’ve seen on my trip.

Oh! Oh! Well thank you so much. Uh, thank you. I sputtered, trying to be gracious as I noted his van's Ohio plates. Please have a nice day and a good drive.

He waved politely as I rolled up my window, and I smiled at him as I pulled into drive and escaped.

The subsequent repaired stream of consciousness: Wow, he’s nuts. But that was very nice--very nice and bizarre--of him. This skirt was a good buy for sure. How weird that he approached me. Do you think he meant my face? ‘Cause my face is flat. And my hair is weird these days. He couldn't have meant my face. But then, what's left? Did he mean my whole form? Whack job. I’m a fat cow right now. Was that his line to kidnap me into that giant van? Why would he want me? That lady with the jet skis looked just as viable. What the heck does he need that giant van for? Oh look, he’s got an adorable pug in there. What a little sweetie! I should have gone to meet his dog. What the %&#@ am I thinking?! That’s how they lure you before they kidnap, rape, and kill you. A cute little dog. Sneaky. I wonder what brought him here from Ohio. Oh! What if he lost his job or something? Sad. Well, of course I’m the best looking thing he’s seen—he’s been driving through No Man’s Land and gas stations for half the country—I’m the only thing he’s seen that isn’t wearing a wolf howling at the moon t-shirt or grimy baseball cap. I’m not a truck stop broad or a trucker. I’m like gold. Why would he call me a lady? Isn’t a lady old? Or a hooker? Do I look old? Are these heels skanky lookin'? Does my giant rump make the skirt too tight? I’m modest, so I didn’t look like I was askin’ for it. I know that much. The neck on this dumb shirt is too high anyhow. I can barely breathe. Oh, no! I wonder if he read my name! Or maybe got my license plate! But then he would have only got the front and it’s the wrong plate I’ve still got on there. But if he did get my plate number and my name what the heck would he do with it? A lady? Really? Oh, now this is one good Clif Bar . . .


Julie said...


Know what's more creepy? I can no longer go to the library because everytime I went, some whack job would leave a note on my car tell me of his fondness for me. So now I am no longer able to support my public library and have been forced, instead, to support the economy and spend my extra dollars on books.

Creeps ruin it for everyone....gas station patrons, library go-ers, women in general....

So glad you escaped safely.

Jessica said...

interesting. love the stream of consciousness afterward. what kind of clif bar was it?

Alicia said...

Isn't it sad that paying a complete stranger a compliment can be so traumatizing? I would probably have had a similar stream (flood?) of thoughts after an encounter like that!

tom lindsey said...

Q: How does a husband/father satisfy the desire to protect yet not vilify half of the human race and, by insisting on the need for protection, weaken the other half?

I have no idea. While we all ponder let us check out some of the movies highlighted in the Movies section of the Lifetime channel website :-)
Mother, May I sleep with danger
Based on the book by Claire R. Jacobs. A naive college student (Tori Spelling) falls in love with a charming pathological liar, credit card scammer and murderer (Ivan Sergei). When her mother (Lisa Banes) attempts to break off the relationship, the crazed boyfriend abducts her daughter and hides her in his cabin in the woods.

Intimate Stranger
Single mom Karen was convinced Dennis was her Mr. Right. The charismatic man even wowed her son, Justin. But when Dennis becomes a control freak, Karen calls it quits, and her scorned ex resorts to spying, threatening and setting up a secret hiding space - in her home! Ready for the kicker of this bizarre story? It really happened! Wait till you see how it turns out.

Student Seduction
Christie Dawson always wanted to be the "cool" teacher. But her world is shaken up after a pupil's crush spirals out of control and he sexually assaults her. Suddenly, her colleagues, neighbors and even her hubby are wondering whether she crossed the line and tempted her student. But school isn't out for Christine just yet — she's gonna fight back, and big time!

Megan said...

Mother May I Sleep with Danger? You've got to be kidding me. That's not a movie I'd be carving out my schedule to see.

Kami said...

Wow! Your internal monologue sounds exactly like what goes on in my head! I laughed through the whole thing! Well done! Oh, and about the guy - maybe it was just one of those rare moments in life that are just for you, just like a random acknowledgement of you in the world. Sounds esoteric, I know, but it always seems that people (and by people I mean me) get freaked out by out of the ordinary kind acts. Probably mostly because I hate people so I find kindness disarmingly jarring...

Megan said...

Kami, that's actually lovely. A moment just for me. If only we were good at taking things like that. A face value acceptance.

"kindness disarmingly jarring." That's darn good.