Saturday, May 28, 2005


Sorry for the lengthy intermission. I've been doing those things that I do when I'm not doing this, if I may drop a sentence of Dogberryan facility. I'll try to post more frequently.

Since it has come to my attention that a few people are actually going to read of my little adventures in indentured servitude, I've decided to compile an FAQ list, which will doubtless elucidate the countless uncertainties regarding this blog. And away we go:

1) Q: Isn't it a bit presumptuous to write an FAQ list for a blog with three posts and seventeen total comments?

A: Ah, I see you've stumbled afoul of the Prime Directive of the Gas Guy, listed helpfully at the right: don't take any of this too seriously. I cannot emphasize this point enough, lest I be compelled to repeat it like what they used to call a broken record, back when anyone knew what that meant.

2) Q: Are you going to blog about anything else, or just your crappy job?

A: At present, just the crappy job, but thanks for the interest in things that are of no concern to you. A bit nosy, are we? I don't recall asking anyone's age or bra size at their blogs, now.

3) Q: Are all of your customers degenerate alky losers?

A: No. Some are degenerate smack-addicted losers. Seriously, though, many if not most of my patrons are normal and decent people, but writing about normal and decent people holds no appeal for me and little for any reader. The crackhead stories are a lot more fun. Go to Church if you're looking to be uplifted; it's not happening here.

4) Q: If you hate your customers so much, then why don't you just get a different job?

A: Actually, I really enjoy hating my customers; it is, for me a duty lodged midway betwixt necessary expression of personal charism and annointed mission. I'm the Gas Guy. It's who I am and what I do.

5) Q: Is the stuff you talk about real, or are you making any of this up?

A: Real as the street, baby. There is, as it was in the beginning and shall be ever after, world without end Amen, an invitation to stand in with me on a shift if anyone thinks I'm exaggerating.

6) Q: So, are you, like, available?

A: Why yes, as a matter of fact I am, provided that you're gorgeous, smart and personable, and generous of spirit, much like me. Think Angelina Jolie without being clinically insane. Hey, just because I work at a gas station doesn't mean I come cheap.

7) Q: Are you this much of a pompous jerk in real life?

A: Refer, please, to #2. But generally, yes. This blog is an extension of my real life, and not a departure from it. I sometimes say mean things so that other people who are thinking them don't have to. I provide the essential societal service (oddly alliterative, I am today) of allowing others to speak vicariously through my prickdom. I am what I am, and that's all that I am, as I think the sage and learned philosopher Popeye, paraphrasing Yaweh, once said. Man, I've gotta go rent that movie again. It's probably the only Robin Williams part where I didn't want to shoot him.

8) Q: Why is your profile so darned mysterious?

A: Because I'm secretly a female octagenarian writing from a Florida retirement community. Because I don't think I can handle the fame and riches this blog will bring me. Because that's just the way of all things...the way of the Force. You should really stop asking dumb questions now.

9) Q: How long are you going to painfully prolong this post now that you've clearly run out of ideas?

A: At least to ten questions. I think that's underwritten into the fundamental rules of FAQ lists for insurance purposes. Who ever heard of nine FAQ's? What, are they the Muses? The Jackson family? A baseball team (at least in the National league, where they don't play by girly softball rules)?

10) Q: So are we done now?

A: Mercifully, we are.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A River in Egypt.

There's a low-rent apartment complex near my station, colloquially referred to as "the Glen." The residents use my store as the local grocery, which in turn gives my job its unique and delightful character. The handy walking distance allows for Glen residents to visit my store three or four times daily. Luckily for me, they joyfully embrace this opportunity, allowing our staff to chart how drunk, high, and cracked-out they are over the course of the day. To anyone who thinks I'm using unfair blanket statements or painting a willfully bleak view of the patronage--there's a standing invite to come work with me any given Friday night

One of my favorite Glen pastimes is witnessing the purchase of small quantities of alcohol, by the same people, many times daily. The drill goes: purchase one or two 24oz cans of some asphalt-tasting toxin like Steele Reserve or a forty of Schlitz; pay in a manner so exact as to suggest that the sum of coinage handed over represents the fruits of scouring the furniture cushions; go home (or to the alley, or whatever) and consume the beer, along with copious portions of pot, crack, meth, or some combination of the above and a pack of Newports. Return to my store and repeat said process at two-hour intervals until closing time.

I'd say that I want to know why my friends don't just buy a whole lot of beer to begin with, since, inevitably, they're going to drink a whole lot of beer, but actually I don't. Not knowing, and the gloriously fun conjecture that entails, is probably more entertaining to me than having the actual 411 ever would be. To put this in a properly male perspective (Warning! Politically incorrect comment!), it's like that girl at the bar you're dreaming of doing the business with: she's never going to look as good naked as your imagination has her looking. (I don't know--do women think like that too?) The real reason for the walk-by drunkards is in all likelihood more mundane than I suppose it to be.

In any case, I've worked out a list of theories as to why this booze circuit works the way it does. In no particular order:

1) Drunkard doesn't have a refrigerator, and hence leaving future beverages in our cooler keeps them from getting warm. This would make more sense if most of the clients weren't apartment dwellers with furnished appliances. Finding places without refrigerators isn't even very common anymore, so this can't explain more than a few instances. Well, a few instances beyond the landscapers, who are obviously drinking on the job.

2) Small quantities are easier to hide from the wife/cohabitant and younguns, who might complain about drunkard squandering the rent money, or worse, not sharing. I suspect this might explain a few more instances. The fridge would be considered fair game for the eight other people living in the apartment. Hence, buying what you can keep in your hands is just an elaborate and well-planned method of hoarding.

3) Busking $1.39 in change takes about two hours. This adequately explains those drunkards who feel that all twenty cents in the "give a penny, take a penny" bin are specifically alloted to advancing their alcoholism. Hey, the people that left them there were leaving them for somebody, right? Why not them?

4) Unspeakable acts were performed in exchange for twenty dollars. Since the walk-by drunkard phenomenon is an overwhelmingly male one, there's probably an awful lot of cellmate love performed for the local drug dealers in exchange for cash. Nevermind...that twenty would go right back to the dealer. Who exactly would pay cash? Is there really a sizable contingent of undiscerning homosexuals with disposable income wandering Tennessee? 'Cuz the number of dirty chidren that get dragged into my store by crack moms indicates that the local ladies certainly didn't have to pay for it.

5) I deliberately left this one for last, based on its preponderant improbability: they really think that one forty is all they'll be having tonight. This one keeps flitting through my mind, like the memory of an itch. I can't banish the possibility that some of these folk are actually convinced that tonight will be different from every other Friday of their lives, that tonight they're going to kick back with a single deuce-deuce, tall boy, or 40 , smoke some seedy brown Mexican weed out of their 50-cent, modified Black and Mild blunt, and call it quits when they're done with it. That's right. This time it'll be different.

As Stuart Smalley used to say: "Denial. It ain't just a river in Egypt."