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The Phantom of the Awkward Part 2: A Painfully Awkward Interaction with a Gas Station Clerk, Brought on by My Own Social Stupidity

This was written in 2007.

A long time ago, I posted an entry titled, “The Phantom of the Awkward,” in which I chronicled a bunch of awkward personal experiences in a single entry. After reviewing that one, I decided that not only does that entry need to be revised in terms of typos and paragraphing, but I think it would work better if each story were segregated into their own entries. So that’s what I am going to do. I am going to segregate the stories into their own and repost them. I did a spin-off of the original “Phantom of the Awkward,” later on titled, “When the Phantom of the Awkward Struck Wal-Mart” (recently renamed: “The Phantom of the Awkward Part 1: When the Phantom Struck Wal-Mart.”) I am going to consider that story, “Part 1.” That is why I am starting out with this one being labeled “Part 2.”

Keep in mind, this one was written in 2007. I no longer habitually get drunk every Friday as I chronicled in this story.

Here it is:

My life would not be complete without some of the crazy, uncomfortable and straight up awkward situations I have consistently created for myself. No joke. If I were to duplicate my life, as it is and how it’s been until this point and if I were to take away every crazy, uncomfortable and awkward moment that I have encountered and seemingly subconsciously created for myself throughout the years, my life would resemble a block of Swiss cheese. In other words, my life would have a substantial amount of holes in it. My life would not be anywhere near complete without these moments.

As mentioned, I have encountered these moments consistently my whole life. However, I had never really thought about why I seem to experience these situations so frequently in depth, until recently. In my pondering of this, I came to the conclusion that I find myself in these situations frequently because deep down, subconsciously, I must like them. Somewhere inside my soul, I love getting myself into these situations because they entertain me and those who I tell about them for weeks afterward. Therefore, I believe I subconsciously prompt myself to say and do things that make me more vulnerable to the crazy, uncomfortable and awkward situations.

One by one, I’ll fill you in on some of the awkward moments in my life, beginning with this story:

This story took place about a week ago (remember, this was written in 2007). I was on my way to a gas station because it was a Friday and I was planning on throwing some beers down. I have habitually been drinking on Fridays for quite a few years now, and one habit within this habit that I have developed, is buying a 40 oz. of Bud Light to start off every Friday night. It just seems like the proper serving prior to hitting the bars. Sometimes I buy 2 of them before hitting the bars, and this usually ignites a fire of a night that results in waking up in strange places without having the slightest clue as to where I am.

So I pull my car into a gas station to buy my forty oz. There was a parking spot open in the front row, so I proceeded to take it. I pull about half-way into the spot when I realized that it was a handicapped parking spot. Now, for as long as I can remember, I have always had a bad habit of referring to these handicapped parking spots as “paralyzed parking spots.” I think the reason for this is because of the “handicapped parking spot” logo. As we all know, the “handicapped” basically consists of a stick-figure drawing of a dude in a wheelchair. I’ve always figured this dude was paralyzed, considering he is wheel-chair bound and all.

So I stepped on the brakes with my car about half way pulled into the spot and actually considered pulling out and finding another place to park. Ultimately, I ended up just thinking to myself, “screw it” and I proceeded to park there. Finding a new parking spot just seemed like way too much work for something that I didn’t anticipate being too much of a problem to begin with. I was only going to be in there for a minute and besides, I didn’t think a paralyzed person would be pulling in at that time of the evening. How’s that for considerate? The possibility of there being a potential fine for parking there didn’t bother me, but the thought of a handicapped person possibly coming to the gas station and needing that spot, did make me reconsider. I’m a real class act, yo.

When I walked in to the gas station, I noticed a tall, scrawny, dark-haired bastard with a snooty, negative demeanor and was wearing thick-rimmed glasses and skinny jeans.  He had probably spent the majority of his day to that point, hanging out at a coffee shop discussing how many ways he could inadvertently conform to non-conformity. He was probably one of the first “hipsters” I have ever seen in person. I don’t consider myself a prejudiced, hateful person, but I sure as shit have hated some fads in my day.  First there were the “emos” who ran rampant while I was in college.  I was bitter for years that the emo craze was so popular during the years I spent in college.  I hated that fad. Hated “emos.”  Now we have these “I feel the need to force irony on everything, even when it isn’t there” hipsters.  I hate that fad too. These ass-wipes need a hot iron forced upon their faces. How’s that for irony? It is literally a toss-up as to which fad I loathe more, which loathing a fad more than I loathed emo is something I thought would NEVER happen.

Anyways, fuck hipsters. This guy was one of them and as expected, he ended up being a self-righteous prick in my short, goofy, awkward exchange with him.

I stroll into the gas station and grabbed my beer. I walked to the desk to purchase the beer and said to the hipster gas station clerk, “yo dude, I’m sorry that I parked in that paralyzed parking spot. I hope it’s not a big deal.” The dude scowled at me, and shook his head while he was ringing up my beer.

“Apparently this IS a big deal,” I thought to myself. So me, being the impulsive and somewhat confrontational dude that I am asked this noticeably butt-hurt clerk, “Oh, I take it there is a problem?” He looked at me and said sternly, “it’s called HANDICAPPED parking. It’s not PARALYZED parking” “WELL EXCUUUUUUUSE ME,” I thought. I responded with, “oh sorry about that man, I always get that mixed up because those signs always have the little paralyzed dude in the wheelchair. Ya know what I mean?” (Crickets chirping). He gave me a blank stare. Evidently the situation wasn’t ironic enough for him.

Then thanks to my own social stupidity, things became even more awkward. As he stood there silently with this snooty “I have a pine cone wedged deeply in my anus” expression on his face, I inquired without thinking, “you appear upset. I am sorry, are you handicapped, sir?”

This popped out of my mouth before I even thought about how offensive it would actually be perceived. He scowled again and snickered and rolled his eyes is disgust and was like, “do I LOOK handicapped?” I replied innocently and impulsively, “well no…not really.” Although this was a freaking lie, if anything is a handicap, it’s being a hipster. He responded with, “Ha! Not really. Anyways, I just thought it was offensive that you referred to the parking space as paralyzed parking. Like it’s supposed to be some sort of joke.” I was just like, “Oh…ok dude.”

He put my 40 oz. of Bud Light in a paper bag and handed it to me. I thought this was a good opportunity to make some more small talk and attempt to redeem myself as being someone who isn’t just an inadvertently offensive slur-spoutin’ jackass. So I said the first thing that came to my mind again (which obviously isn’t a good idea, ever). I said to him, “haha dude, every time I buy a 40 oz. and they put it in one of these paper bags, I feel like a homeless person walkin’ around with it.” Sir High and Mighty McHipsterclerkpants scowled, snickered and rolled his eyes through his thick-rimmed glasses at me again.

“Oh great, I struck another nerve,” I thought to myself. You’ll never believe the social idiocy of my response to this. I responded with, “oh, you are obviously upset by that comment. I am sorry, are you by chance, homeless?” He was royally butt-hurt by this point and said, “You are ignorant and I don’t feel obliged to answer that. Goodbye sir.”

I stood there silently, staring at this butt-hurt clerk and began thinking about this abortion of a conversation that just took place between he and I. I thought about how I actually asked him if he were handicapped followed seconds later by asking him if were homeless. It suddenly hit me how stupid I can be, yet how hilarious my own stupidity make things. I proceeded to straight up laugh hysterically in this dude’s face. And by “laugh hysterically,” I mean high-pitched giggling. I couldn’t help it. Everything was just was so awkward and well, hilarious as a result. I continued giggling all the way to my car. Hell I bet if the little paralyzed dude in the handicapped parking sign had a face, he would be giggling also.

I caught a glimpse of the clerk as I was pulling out of the gas station. He still had that stupid scowl on his face and was shaking his head. Pretentious douchebag. What a dick, seriously. Some people take the little technicalities of life way too seriously. Hipster bastards are notorious for it. I remember drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon was something I did because I liked the taste for it being such a cheap and generally “scoffed” at beer for everyone used to think it was disgusting. They were missing out.  Then these hipsters began drinking it, not for the taste, but to be “ironic.” Considering this hipster fad is quite a big one right now, it goes without saying that the prices on Pabst Blue Ribbon went up.  Yeah, thanks for ruining Pabst Blue Ribbon for all of us who knew it wasn’t a bad tasting beer to begin with, you skinny jeans wearing, mouth-breathing hipster.  Ugh, I should have said that to him.

So as I pulled out of the parking spot, I noticed the little paralyzed dude in the handicapped parking sign and thought about how funny it would be if that little dude unexpectedly burst out of his chair and started hittin’ some M.C. Hammer dance moves. I have been watching the movie, “Don’t be a Menace While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” quite a bit, which probably inspired that thought.