Thursday, September 08, 2005


A thing happened to Gas Guy, or rather a culmination of a process happened, a mere few months ago. Gas Guy had a vision in a cave, an experience that transformed him from a presupposed knower to an inquisitive seeker, from a man who had ideas and opinions, into one who now merely possesses questions, leading to trasient and ephemeral guidelines about the whole nature of the human experience.

Are we wonky and deep enough yet? No worries. Rather than peer any further into the heart of creation, I have picked the safest path to deploy my newfound truths regarding creation's manifestations: I have found a degree of spiritual harmony, and am using it to get laid. I’m quite sure that Jesus and Buddha did it too. (Whoops, I forgot, once again to shelve the blasphemy for this story. I'm so going to hell.)

I am not a handsome man, you see, in that square-jawed, broad-shouldered, traditional conception of a handsome man, and hence have to work with other precepts. I have a nose that goes out a bit too far, and a chin that quits just before its time. I am tall and gaunt, about six-feet even, with a trim and fit, if a bit skeletal, 155lbs to my credit. My lone distinguishing feature, aside from brown hair about eighteen inches long, is a pair of large, pale grey eyes, that look blue when I wear blue clothing, and green when I follow accordingly. They have a dark ring about the iris, just like wolf eyes. Women, oddly, find them attractive.

I use them, like a poker player with only one good card, to my utmost advantage. I stare down everyone I encounter these days, young, old, male or female, with a gentle, friendly unwavering look, because I’m not frightened of them anymore. The results are always entertaining: some men get intimidated because they read prolonged eye contact as either a challenge to fight or, for the more insecure ones, a homosexual come-on; they shrink from it for either, or perhaps both, reasons. Women start to get flustered, giggling like little girls, playing with their hair, as they certainly did when their fascinated and loving fathers gave them the same entranced look with very different intentions.

The gaze, for me, is part scientific curiosity, part animal gesture of dominance. It is an open refutation of most of my previous life, in which I was afraid to look girls in the face and wordlessly tell them what I wanted from them. What was I afraid of? Are these usually soft, gentle creatures physically intimidating to me? Or was I just another coward fearing the psychological rigors of rejection? It was a stupid way to live, regardless, and my ability to choose to live otherwise is paying off for me rather, well, handsomely.

I think that I understand now a concept that I did not before: to fear rejection is to insulate oneself from life’s larger project, exchanging the fresh air of exploration and inquiry for the dank, hot vapors beneath the blanket of cowardice. I was consoling myself for failures that had not yet occurred, an exercise as intellectually fecund as that of a man who celebrates what he has not yet accomplished—winning the World Series before it has been played, or, even worse, losing it.

In any case, poor Kristina has become hooked on the drinking-it-all-in gaze. She’s a sweet girl, who sells products for Mary Kaye cosmetics, and has a totally respectable day job educating children. She shops in my store quite often. Over the course of a few short conversations, she’s developed a mad crush on me, the iteration if which I could spot from a different area code, she is so unsubtle. She manufactures reasons to come in to see if I’m working, sometimes several times daily, buying 30 cents worth of gum when I’m not, just so it doesn’t appear so obvious why she’s in the store—which of course it does. She tells me all about herself before I can even ask, in the desperate hopes that something will spark enough interest in me to inspire me to ask her on a date. What she’s doing is precariously close to stalking, but, since I do not associate stalking with the nasty unpleasantness that such understandably carries for most women, I’m finding it kind of cute.

So why don’t I put the girl out of her misery? Well, physically speaking, she’s really not my type. She’s attractive, in a certain mousy kind of way, with a pretty face and nice brown eyes, but a bit too skinny, my preference being women a good measure curvier. That may come across as a little shallow, but keep in mind that I’m, as I mentioned, six feet tall and 155 lbs. If somebody doesn’t offer some padding, bones could get chipped in that act of sin. I like to think that my desire for some hips and chest is just sexually pragmatic. Besides, I have some more promising prospects on the horizon at present.

It’s 6:15 on Friday evening, and Kristina has just stumbled out the door of the shop, badly intoxicated from two minutes of me looking at her while I listen to her chatter.

Keshia, my fellow cashier, inquires, “Why don’t you just ask that poor girl out, on a pity date?”

“I don’t offer pity dates. The last thing in the world someone like that needs is me leading her on. Besides,” I add, “she’ll probably ask me soon enough, and then I won’t have any choice.” This is true, as by the rules under which I operate, I won't.

My prediction remains unconfirmed for a whopping four hours, fifteen minutes. At 10:30, Kristina comes back into the shop, while I'm doing errands on the customer side of the counter. I can tell by her hurried movements that she’s a bit nervous.

“What can we get for you, Kristina,” I wickedly inquire, knowing full well why she’s here.

“Actually, um, I’m not here for anything…er…What are you doing after work,” she blurts. Saw that train coming from the station, I did. I wonder if it took her the 22oz Smirnoff Ice she bought on her last trip in to work up the gumption.

“I’m going to be here pretty late,” I answer, truthfully, a bit bemused at my uncanny ability to call shots of recent. “Why don’t you give me your number, and I’ll call you sometime?”

“Uh, yeah, let me get you my business card.” She begins digging through the cavernous expanse of her purse, piling disparate things into her left hand while she continues ferreting with her right, her movements growing more frantic with the knowledge that two people are watching her. Keshia, being the kind, attentive girl that she is, tears off a piece of blank receipt paper and sets it on the counter with a pen in an effort to give Kristina an easy out, but Kristina is hell-bent on conveying the Successful and Important label that a business card will clearly sell me, and will have none of it. I am not at all surprised when she fumbles everything she’s holding onto the floor, items scattering as badly as if she'd shattered a vase.

I squat down to help her gather her things, gentleman that I try to be. In the cheeseball Hugh Grant movie version of this story that she’s written in her head, we no doubt lock eyes and kiss passionately on the way back up. In the real world take, I help her collect her possessions, trying not to make her any more nervous or embarrassed than she already is, take her business card and send her on her way, promising to call.

“Oh, my,” Keshia opines, “that girl's going to be knocking things over the whole time you’re out with her.” I look at her and smile. She’s probably right.

But who knows? Maybe this woman is wonderfully suited to me, and I just haven’t given her a chance yet. Maybe there’s a delightful and hidden spark in her personality that can compensate for her initial shyness and slight build. I’m going to find out, because she mustered the courage to ask, which, from what I understand, is a hard thing for a girl to do.

I have come to admire courage, gradually learning that conquering fear opens the path to new endeavors, that it makes life beautiful and pleasant in times that previously seemed dark and foreboding. If I congratulate it so when I see it in myself, expressed in such tiny avenues as looking directly at people when I’m talking to them, then I have to reward it when someone like Kristina puts herself through something that was probably terrifying just to get me to call her. I could complicate the matter with superfluous window-dressings, but my take on the matter is as simple as this: my stalker risked a little bit of herself, as she would no doubt have been disappointed had I rejected her overture. And because she had the temerity to do that, I cannot find it in my heart to reject her without an interview, which is all a first date really is. Fair, after all, is fair—nothing ventured, nothing gained.


At Thursday, September 08, 2005 9:29:00 PM, Blogger Hawaiianmark said...

Daring post, Gasguy. Your comments should run a wide range on this one.
Being the proud owner of green peepers, 'the stare' recalls many a night of mis-placed amour.
I doubt hell is waiting for you. It would more likely be a hopefully good karmatic experience comes your way, returned. But that being your decision to use it, or as they say, lose it.
Maybe I am a bit jealous, that the chances of conquest were abated by the first one that took the stare. and made it her own. Maybe I am just a fortunate soul, who never had the chance to play the dance, but just gets to enjoy the music.

This should be interesting.


At Friday, September 09, 2005 2:26:00 AM, Blogger deleted said...

i love the word temerity.

At Friday, September 09, 2005 2:54:00 AM, Blogger Hari said...

Hey Gas GUY,
If you were my friend, I would have told you to cock up and take her for a date!!!
As we say here beggars are not choosers!!!!
good post ,
thanks and keep writing !

At Friday, September 09, 2005 4:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad your description of yourself fitted what I had in mind from reading your blog. As for Kristina, give it a go you just never know - for all you know she may be reading your blog too ...!

At Friday, September 09, 2005 6:28:00 AM, Blogger St. Dickeybird said...

Dude, Go out with her!
The great thing about dates, is that you get to know someone. You learn. You maybe have a good night, maybe more. At worst, you waste a few hours.
Be flattered that you can fluster someone so well - I wish I could!

At Friday, September 09, 2005 7:05:00 AM, Blogger xanadian said...

"for all you know she may be reading your blog too ...!"

Mua Ha Ha Ha Haaaa! [insert creepy evil music here]

Sorry. Couldn't resist. ;-) Hope it goes well.

At Friday, September 09, 2005 8:06:00 AM, Blogger Leann said...

I'm impressed. You capture perfectly how courage can help you through life rather than create opportunities for rejection.

Well done.

At Friday, September 09, 2005 8:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xanadian: "for all you know she may be reading your blog too ...!"

Actually - I re-read it and yes you are right - sounded EEVIL!! ;-)

Very Stephen King - I saw you also think he is a great writer!

At Friday, September 09, 2005 9:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kristina has the courage to do what I wish I could do: get to know you better. You are a most interesting, perceptive man. I've developed a great affection for your mind and now I have the outline of your appearance.

At Friday, September 09, 2005 10:09:00 AM, Blogger Kit Is Knitting said...

I've charmed many a mentally ill criminal with these blue peepers. I like to think that they're an excellent defense system for when they get a little...snapped.

I have never been a fan of the "pity date". I'm sure it's just as disgusting as it sounds, full of awkwardness and no earnest meeting of minds and personalities, just someone patronizingly humoring the desperate.

Here's hopin' she's not a bundle of nerves when you two go out.

At Friday, September 09, 2005 10:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog...I like your posts but with all due respect Gas Guy, your ego needs to come down a few notches.

At Friday, September 09, 2005 12:05:00 PM, Anonymous rebecca said...

You could always fatten the girl up. It might take time, but you could do it. Curves are nice.

At Friday, September 09, 2005 12:44:00 PM, Anonymous Willow said...

There must have been something about you (besides the death stare) that she felt was worth the anxiety and awkwardness of asking you out.

From your description, she doesn't give the impression that she approaches a lot of men, so for that reason alone I'm glad that you didn't reject her.

At Friday, September 09, 2005 2:33:00 PM, Anonymous bandit8it said...

Thanks for giving her the interview, gas are justlumps of coal with heat applied. Once she gets over her shyness, who knows what she has to offer. If she's not the girl for you, at least she will have gotten encouragement to take chances and go after what she wants in life.

At Friday, September 09, 2005 4:31:00 PM, Blogger Nightcrawler said...

Good luck on your date... give her an honest chance. Who knows, you may be soulmates!

At Friday, September 09, 2005 6:32:00 PM, Blogger annie said...

we called those eyes you speak of bedroom eyes, but that was "back in my day, sonny."

At Friday, September 09, 2005 10:52:00 PM, Blogger KaLeigh said...

You're one of the good guys. =)

At Saturday, September 10, 2005 1:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

19 years ago,when I was in the middle of a divorce, a workmate asked me out. He wasn't good looking or wealthy and my mouth was ready to say "no" but at the last minute I thought, what the hell, so I said ok. We fell madly in love before dessert and were married three years later. We now have three kids and every year has been bliss. Go for it, Kismet is a funny thing and that's how soul mates find each other. Take a

At Saturday, September 10, 2005 5:13:00 AM, Blogger zilla said...

Hmmm. This is a refreshingly open-minded approach for a male -- oh, hell, for most people of either gender.

Our culture places a lot of stock in chemistry, the response of the reptile brain to visual cues & pheromones.

In my personal experience, chemistry can be a trap. "Love is blind" -- but only for a time. After we regain consciousness, and the shit hits the fan, which it invariably does in human relationships, we often find there isn't enough there to work with to make a long term go of things. However, if chemistry is taken with a grain of salt, set aside for other possibilities, as you're allowing for here, sometimes a stronger pair bond develops, so that when the shit hits the fan, which it invariably does in human relationships, you've got so much more to work with that the bond doesn't only survive, it grows stronger.

As for Gas Guy's ego, anon, I don't find it particularly egotistical for a person to have and express self-awareness or an accounting of one's assets or liabilities, whether physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual. I think your criticism indicates your own insecurities. With all due respect, get a little confidence, dude.

At Saturday, September 10, 2005 8:04:00 AM, Blogger Elizabeth Taylor said...

You must go out with her. Confidence is an aphrodisiac. Blow her mind. It was a big deal for her to ask you out...don't you love it that she's thinking about you? It'll be interesting to see if the tables end up turning...

At Saturday, September 10, 2005 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

She sounds cute and sweet. She sounds like a little pet you want to just pick up and take care of. Maybe you should be careful of her, I always hated the relationships where you're taking care of the other one all the time.

Let me, uhm, us know how it goes.

At Saturday, September 10, 2005 11:40:00 AM, Blogger Femi-mommy said...

So you don't want to know this girl because she is not busty enough? Aw, gas guy you just lost so much of my respect. Don't take too much offense - but as a woman reading this you come off as a pompous ass - and I have much pity for any woman who now speaks to you. You toyed with her by not showing your disinterest from the start - and all in a very shallow attempt to boost your ego. I hope when you meet the woman who you are to become so enamored with, she is kinder to you than you have been to others.

At Saturday, September 10, 2005 1:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Femi-mommy, I think you are tkaing yourself a bit too seriously. Gas guy didn't mention her chest size, he mentioned a preference for wome with some padding to compensate for his own lack thereof. Lighten up already!

At Saturday, September 10, 2005 8:00:00 PM, Blogger Femi-mommy said...

ahem "I like to think that my desire for some hips and chest is just sexually pragmatic." <-- Direct quote from Gas Guy (in which he mentions the womans lack of chest). Perhaps I took his pompous talk as having a degree of seriousness to it (becuase it does.) He wanted an ego stroke, she gave it to him, and he got his ego stroked at her expense.

At Sunday, September 11, 2005 12:22:00 AM, Anonymous mamabear said...

I want to hear more about this "vision in a cave." Do tell!

At Sunday, September 11, 2005 8:00:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

"temerity" just made my word of the day. You got linked, gas guy. :D
Great post, as always.

At Monday, September 12, 2005 6:28:00 PM, Blogger jay said...

I am all about the ego. The notches are just right

At Tuesday, September 13, 2005 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Kristine said...

I see that your working at the gas station is a clever facade for your real identity - a pimp.

Well done, you had me fooled.


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