Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Riding an Emotional Roller Coaster Through the Gas Station Chicken Store

I'm not a fan of roller coasters. Not even the kiddie version at Silver Dollar City that I rode with young Genius many years ago. Forget Fire in the Hole! I think that ride gave me PTSD. Somebody in the family persuaded me to get on it, saying it wasn't really a roller coaster. LIAR!

Anyhoo... I was not expecting a roller coaster ride when I entered the Gas Station Chicken Store on Tuesday. It was another dreary day, snow covering the parking lot, not many customers. In fact, there was only one guy at the counter when I entered. I wasn't paying any attention as I passed behind him to get to the soda fountain for my magical elixir. Just a local kind of guy, perhaps early 20s, in jeans and a Carhartt jacket, with dark hair and a short beard. He didn't stink. Not that I'm judgmental as I gallop by on my high horse, inhaling the rarefied air with my flaring nostrils.

I ran my 44 oz Diet Coke without incident (YAY, me!), calculating in my head which tickets I could buy with my cashed-in winners. I heard the doorbell thingy ding as the customer left. THEN my attention was drawn to the newest young clerk. He's a nice guy, always friendly.

"OH MY GOSH! This NEVER happens to me!"

I turned to see him patting his cheeks like the Home Alone boy putting on his dad's aftershave. He looked a bit flustered. I wondered if maybe he was having a panic attack or something. WHAT has never happened to him?

"You okay? Did I miss something?"

"No. It's just that NOBODY has ever asked me for my number!"

"Oh. Well. That's surprising. You're a good-looking guy."

"I can't believe it. He just asked for my number!"

"Did you give it to him?"

"Well, YEAH! He says he's going to DM me tonight. Oh, no! I don't remember if I gave him his change!"

"I'm pretty sure that's the last thing on his mind right now. Your register shows two dollars and something."

"Yeah. Maybe not. He said 'Nice tattoo.' I'm pretty good at picking up on things. I didn't get this tattoo to attract attention and say HEY I'M GAY."

[Let the record show that it's a tattoo on his left inner forearm, in the shape of a feather, rainbow-colored. I had commented on it a couple weeks ago, because that was the first time I'd noticed it, and he'd mentioned that his schedule changed, and he couldn't get a tattoo like he'd planned. But turns out this wasn't a new one. It's about 3 inches long, and quite breathtaking. Heh, heh. I'm kidding. It's really a pretty tattoo. Not an anchor or a dancing floozie or a huge tribal thing. For a tattoo, it's tasteful.]

"When I was in high school, I had a best friend who came out to me as gay. We were perfect together. She and I understood each other. I wasn't even sure about myself back then. I was still kind of questioning. We were great together. And then her sophomore year, the bullying was too much for her, and she committed suicide. It broke my heart. When I got this tattoo, I was thinking about it being a feather, and my thoughts lifting up to her in heaven."

"Oh my gosh! That's so sad."

"I miss her a lot. The tattoo is for her. Not to make a statement about myself, to see how people react. But I could tell by the way he was talking about it."

"It must be hard to meet people around here."

"Yeah! They're all GROSS!"

Heh, heh! There I went. From being happy for him getting asked for his number, to almost crying about his old friend, to laughing out loud at his assessment of the dating pool.

The Gas Station Chicken Store roller coaster. Not for those with cardiac issues.


  1. Ah, the ups and downs of life, as told by our feathered young friend. I quite like the idea of a rainbow feather tattoo, but obviously won't get one.

    1. I'm not a tattoo fan, but this one was colorful and aesthetically pleasing. I'm so glad he didn't have it on his neck. I hate a neck tattoo!

  2. That was a roller first I thought he was upset because he did not want a stranger to have his number, then I realize he was happy about it. Still, I hope the stranger does not own a wood chipper.

    1. I thought he was nervous about making a mistake. Like the gal clerk who said she took a bad twenty. I guess he was just really flattered by the attention.

      I hope the stranger does not have access to an empty house with a septic tank...

  3. How did he know you would be accepting of him?

    1. I guess his 'dar was working. Maybe he's a people-reader. I can spot a liar a mile away, after all my years of teaching.

  4. I was all into this post until you took a dark turn there at the end. Now I need you to go back and see if the rainbow feathered friend is still alive.

    1. I haven't been there for two days because of the ice! AND he usually off on the weekend. I'll pop in today and see if my fine feathered friend is working.

      I was not thinking anything sinister until joeh put that idea in my head!