I wrote an entry a long time ago where I expressed the frustration I experienced one day when I saw someone walking down the street and couldn’t determine whether they were a 10 year old boy or a 60 year old woman. I went on to elaborate other scenarios where I have a difficult time determining what someone is in terms of age and gender. It was titled, “Human Illusions” and you can read it by clicking here.
Due to a situation I observed recently, it became quite clear that I am not the only one who experiences this problem.
So one day last week I went to Casey’s General Store to pick up a bottle of Lipton Unsweetened Ice Tea. For those of you who are not from the midwest, Casey’s is a string of convenience stores (primarily a gas station) which run rampant in the midwest. When I entered the store, I saw an acquaintance of mine in the front of the line staring at the selection of cigarettes. We will make believe that his name is Squanto because he looked like Squanto standing on a prairie gazing at a herd of buffalo grazing a couple miles away. Evidently he was having a very difficult time deciding which cigarettes to purchase and by the expression of annoyance in the cashier’s eyes, he had been taking his sweet ass time trying to decide before I even entered the building. When I entered the building, Squanto greeted me with, “hey Swaffy!” and went right back to gazing at the grazing herd of buffalo.
One thing to note about Squanto is his lack of social awareness. This is noticeable after talking to the guy for 5 minutes. He has a tendency to say innappropriate things at innappropriate times and is always blissfully unaware of how much of an idiot he makes of himself. He could say something offensive to me that would piss me off if anybody else said it, but since it is him and I am aware of how socially inept he can be, I let it slide because I know he doesn’t mean to come off that way. It’s just the way he is. He is the type of guy that if he saw you drinking beer with your wife, mom and dad at bar, he wouldn’t hesitate to ask you about the details of your sex life. He would follow this by asking your parents some of the details of their sex life and and possibly asking your dad innappropriate questions such as, “so do you think the hair you’ve lost on your head grew back on your ass cheeks? (_l_)” After inquiring about everyone at the table’s sex life, he will begin complaining about his own sex life by expressing how pissed he is because he hasn’t been laid in months and that some day he wants to try anal sex with a woman. He will then ask everyone at the table if they have tried anal sex.
I actually witnessed this exact scenario/exchange take place one time when Squanto approached an engaged couple and the female’s parents. The only difference is that it did not occur in a bar. They were all outside their house sitting in lawn chairs, drinking beer.
After I picked up my ice tea and headed for the line, I noticed that Squanto was still gazing at the herd of buffalo and the cashier was still maintaining her expression of annoyance. An older woman who appeared to be in her late 50’s or early 60’s was now standing behind him in line and was right in front of me. When I initially noticed this woman, I did kind of a double-take. For a milli-second, I couldn’t determine whether she was a man or woman because the white hair on top of her head was thinning severely. Her pink blouse combined with her lack of an Adam’s apple had me convinced that she was a female. “Poor woman,” I thought to myself.
Another minute passed and Squanto still couldn’t decide what brand of cigarettes to purchase. He then noticed the woman behind him and said to the cashier, “this guy behind me can go ahead of me.” I thought to myself, “oh SHIT! Squanto thought this woman behind him was a guy and actually called her one!” Things became very awkward. I didn’t want to smile, but I couldn’t help it. I cupped my hand and put it over my mouth in an attempt to disguise this smile that I couldn’t wipe off my face.
Then things became even more awkward when Squanto said, “oops, I didn’t mean to be rude. I meant this GENTLEMAN can go ahead of me, not this GUY.” When Squanto said, “oops, I didn’t mean to rude,” I thought he was going to point out the fact that he knew he confused this woman with a man and felt the need to apologize. I felt like yelling at him, “dude, don’t apologize! Just let it slide! She may have not even noticed that you made the mistake, so don’t make it totally obvious!” But no, he was apologetic because he felt it was rude to refer to this woman as a “guy” and not a “gentleman.”
The woman had an expression of disgust on her face, but didn’t say anything. She just stood there with her disgusted facial expression and kept making weird, quick, jerky movements with her head that reminded me of a bird.
I was already standing behind everyone trying to cover up my smile, but after this happened I was now trying to prevent myself from laughing. I was still cupping my mouth with my hand and those stupid nasally chuckles that occur when you are trying not to laugh started in with me. I couldn’t help it. Squanto heard these nasally chuckles coming from me and immediately looked at me with a huge grin on his face. He was like, “what’s so funny, Swaffy?” I said, “dude, nothing…I will tell you outside.” He responded with, “you farted, didn’t ya?” It was then where my nasally chuckles transformed into high pitched giggling. I totally lost it. Squanto started laughing as well. His teeth appeared as if they had peanut butter stuck on them. He was like, “you did! You farted, Swaffy! I can’t believe you farted in here!” I was still giggling and when I was able to compose myself for a few seconds I blurted, “dude, I didn’t fart! I will tell you what was so funny when we get outside!” Squanto said, “hahaha, alright Swaffy.”
The lady paid for her stuff and abruptly left. Squanto decided to purchase some Cheyenne cigarettes, the cheapest selection. Evidently Squanto was hurting for cash at the time. When it was my turn to pay for the tea, I was somewhat expecting the cashier to make a comment about the awkward exchange that had just taken place. She didn’t say anything though. She had an expression of disinterest on her face, as if she witnesses these situations taking place on an every-hour basis. After reading many of the entries posted in one of my personal favorite blogs, “Confessions of a Cashier,” I think it is fair to say that people who work at gas stations witness/experience their share of absurdity. If you want to read that blog, you can do so by clicking here. You won’t be let down. Every entry consists of cynical, hilarious observations written by someone who works as a cashier at a gas station.
Before I had the chance to inform Squanto of what I was laughing at, he had already jumped in his Chevy Silverado and driven off.