Thursday, October 7, 2010


It happened again. My second job gas station was robbed last week. This time at gunpoint. A couple of days ago one of our regulars that I find quite pleasant asked me if I was on duty. When I said I wasn't, he said when he heard it on the news that he hoped it wasn't me and thought "...because she is such a nice lady." I thanked him for thinking of me but added "We're all nice ladies here."

The poor gal who was there got lucky because she was nice enough to be covering for another nice lady who had fallen and hurt her back. Her nice husband, who works for the company at another location, was so nice he was in the store keeping her company, because she was nervous about her first stint on third shift. He was keeping himself occupied on the side of the store where the robber approached, saw him coming and warned his wife, but because we do not have an automatic lockdown, there was no way to shut the villain out in time. Both these nice people had a gun pointed at them by a man wearing a shirt over his head. I hope he had a nice accomplice driving.

In one of the Harry Kemelman Rabbi Small mysteries, the rabbi explains to one of his fellows that according to jewish text, it is sinful to be "glad it wasn't you", because it follows that you are glad it happened to someone else. That struck me when I read it, and came back when our customer expressed his relief that I had been two hours gone when the robber came. According to Rabbi Small's explanation, it would be no more spiritual to wish it had happened to me instead. There have been times in my life when someone I loved was going through something awful and I did feel that way. As a child I hatched a number of plots to take my brother's place, were he called to Vietnam. The idea of him being afraid or hurt is still more than I can stand to dwell on. "God's will be done." Any other attitude, according to the novel Rabbi, would be assuming you know better than God what his purpose should be.

It's a good thing my few jewish ancestors converted under pressure sometime around the 1500's. I am an abject failure at God's-will-be-done-think. I wish it had been The Terminator working the overnight and that the cowardly shit who pulled a gun on that nice couple who are just trying to stay ahead of their bills and have a life was riddled with holes and lying, at the very least, in intensive care. No, he didn't hurt them. But he was prepared to hurt, or kill. It makes me feel like not such a nice lady.