Monday, January 31, 2011

I still can't see the gun.

Even though I just watched the surveillance tape and could clearly see it in his left hand, I cannot picture the man standing in front of me with a gun pointed my direction. I told the police officers he had a sock on his hand with something hard in it. Or his hand was in his pocket. I told them I definitely did not see a gun. Watching the video it is clear that is impossible. Somehow my mind has photoshopped that selected area with the "grainy" filter. I simply cannot call up the image.
My turn. I knew it was coming. I have been too lucky. The night started out all wrong. When I got to work I realized I had forgotten my cell phone. It plays a key role in my escape plan and getting all flummoxed over that made me park in the wrong place. On third shift I always leave my car at one of the pumps, hoping a would be robber might think I have a customer. However, I was so distracted I parked in my second shift spot and was already counting in when I noticed. Oh well.
It was a dark and stormy night. Okay. It was drizzly and there weren't many customers. There was plenty of time to notice the guy who came in a little after one. He bought a Pepsi with a debit card and wouldn't speak to or look at me. However, he was looking hard around behind the counter and directly at the empty open till on the other cash register and at the safe. I knew right then I was going to be robbed. I made a copy of the receipt and wrote everything I could remember about him on the back. That way the police would be able to see him on the film easily, I figured, because the receipt would show the exact time.
Right after the incident, I was ridiculously grateful that he let me finish mopping and didn't track up the floor. I don't know if it was the same guy, and the clothes were different so it is hard to tell about the build, but he was the same height. His face was all covered up. Reviewing the tape I realized why I kept saying to the police officers that he had socks on his hands and face. (I thought he had a sweat sock over his mouth.) The way he was done up he looked like a sock monkey. Since my mind was refusing to acknowledge his weapon, it substituted an available theme.
He didn't get much and he was rather disappointed.
"Is that all? Are you sure???"
"Do you want the rolled change?"
"No. I just want more money."
At this point I tried to say "That's all there is.", but I think it came out as "Meow."
He ran. I dialled 911. The cops were there in about 2 minutes.
When other people get robbed, you fantasize about how you would react. I had told my old boss at Shell that if I ever got robbed at gunpoint, he could consider that my immediate notice. I thought I would come unglued and have to at least go directly home. Preferably with some good friend whose company I would sorely crave for solace driving poor hysterical me. But when our new manager got there, I finished up the chores while she went about figuring out how much was taken. We reopened and I stayed until the end of my shift. There was no one I wanted to call. Maybe if it hadn't been such an unseemly hour. Besides I didn't have my cell phone and I don't know anyone's number any more. When I got home I was nonetheless happy to find I had left the bedroom light on and the silhouette of Pete the Cat was obvious in the upstairs window, and very gratified that I have a weird cat who likes to meet me at the front door. When she spoke I knew that she understood everything.
You said it, Pete.

Monday, January 24, 2011

3rd Shift Lessons in Stereotype- O'Really?

In July, I will financially be able to quit the Shell station where I work part time because that silly thing I have been paying off will be gone. I don't know if I will be able to part with it, though. Not only do I love our weird little family, but the adventures and the opportunities for learning just never quit.

For instance, tonight I learned that in certain circles, one must be very careful in how one expresses a desire for certain vegetables. Specifically green beans. It may be safest to indicate "non pharmaceutical". Without the School of Third Shift Convenience Mart Fringe Learning Program I could have wound up with a plate full of Percoset someday.

Also, there was a surprise seminar in Stereotype Confirmation and Retention. My longtime friend Russell is the only person I have known to be brave enough to say "What we have to face is, they become stereotypes because they are so often true." Lesson 54.

Our little gas station in on the edge of Horsefarmland here in Lexington. Everyone from owners to grooms stop by. I had been told that the Irish were a big part of Kentucky's horse industry, and this idea is supported by the number of brogues I hear at the counter. I don't think there's one of these fellows that I have seen going to or coming from work, all lilting politeness and charm, that I have not also seen piss drunk. Even the genteel bespectacled Mr. R, who wears shirts that have to cost a hundred bucks each. Sweet Mr. R expressed in a besotted lament once, how deeply sorry (tears in his eyes) he was that I had missed a certain race because "… sheeshe sush a laaarvelly haaaaarse."

Tonight's guest instructor was a man of about my age that I know only as Pat. A yellow cab surprised me when it swung into the parking lot in a hurry and pulled to the door instead of the pumps. No one came in. I could see the driver was turned and talking to the passenger in the back seat. I have seen Pat in a number of taxi back seats, but not with a driver waving his arms around like that. When the cabby finally came in he turned out to be introducing the lesson as an expert stereotype himself… a taxi driver named Boris who spoke with a slovak accent. It seemed that Pat was so very inebriated that he not only could not produce any carfare, but could not even manage to tell Boris where he lives. Boris wanted to use the shelter of our Shell to call the police, leaving Pat outside in the cold cold cab. Which didn't last.

Weaving and staggering in precisely the exaggerated way that mimes indicate drunkenness, Pat opened the door by leaning against it until he fell in. Gratefully he did not fall all the way down. I could not understand anything he was saying between his brogue and the thickness of his tongue. Assuming he wanted the men's room, I told him it was in the back corner of the store but he was confused that I had brought it up. "It always is, isn't it?" He stumbled off that direction, but went into the beer cave instead of the toilet. He then managed to lumber over to the counter with a 24 pack of Keystone. Boris started to reinterview him about his ability to pay for the cab and his place of residence. Pat talked to me instead of Boris. I didn't get a lot of it, but I repeated what I thought I heard.

"There isn't any money any more?"

"Nooo. Not anymore. Not any money any more."

"That's not good news."

"Nooo. S'not goodues s'tall."

In spite of this confession, he still indicated that he wanted me to find some way for him to take the beer home. The police were not coming fast enough for Boris, so he fled outside to repeat his S.O.S., leaving me with Tullaghmore Dew's legacy.

"I can't sell it to you Pat."

Sadly. "Why not?"

"Because you're already drunk."

All charm. "Aaaaah. And I luuuv ya furrreva. A'right den."

The next few minutes were a confused mess of Boris not being able to decide if he should get away from Pat or be by his side constantly and Pat getting bored and going outside to wait and then coming in to demand that they leave for home… but not being able to say where that was… and the door just opening and shutting and them going in and out a lot and the snow blowing in and me getting really cold.

I don't know what Boris told the cops but two cars showed up at once and neither of them contained the usual Officer Friendlies who stop in. The biggest policeman I ever saw emerged from the car in front. Pat and Boris saw him at the same time. Strangely, Boris looked terrified and Pat just looked very very sad. He turned his usually twinkly eyes on me, beseeching.

"Hash the worrrrld gone mad? Z'ha worrrl hash gone ashuloosely mad."

But when Police Mountain speaks, Irishmen sober.

"Hey Buddy, where do you live?"

"I gush wan go home dash my cab der."


And the address came tumbling out. The other more regular sized policeman found Pat's wallet and ID in the back of the cab. Police Mountain seemed more annoyed with Boris than Pat. Stereptype 3- Big Policeman with a big sympathetic heart. Then suddenly I was alone and they were just three sets of tire tracks in fresh fallen snow.

So you can see why I am reluctant to tender my notice. If I were to leave this constantly edifying source of adventure and entertainment, I would prove Stereotype 4. Overworked Middle Aged White Woman- Ashuloosely Mad.