Encounters with the many customers at gas stations can be quite interesting.
There are, of course, many customers who are quite “normal” or average. With around 1,000 people stopping by the gas station I work at, many are not memorable transactions. People can be quite dull and robot-like when they stop at the gas station to buy a pop or cigarettes.
Fortunately, not all customers are personality-less.
For example, there was the one lady who explained, without me asking or prompting, that she was headed to a funeral and then went into details of the persons death despite my attempts to move her along to the funeral she was already late to.
Another time, a man came into a gas station I worked at and asked what kinds of gas there were and what each was used for. He then went into a tirade about gas prices and how he doesn’t understand them. I had basically no answers to his questions (I mean, do I look like a gasoline expert? Just buy some.) and he eventually left after getting all his talking out.
One customer memory, however, does stand out from the others. I’m not sure why, exactly.
You see, there was once a man who was a regular customer at my gas station (Sometimes I like to pretend I own it.). I knew him decently well, if you consider the random discussions I would have with him about his job at the casino, my job at the gas station and whatever random events were happening around town (We are all about townies at the gas station.).
Oftentimes, we didn’t talk about anything significant. But, like I said, I knew him decently well.
One day, he was lingering after purchasing his two bottles of Mountain Dew. We had discussed our jobs and got on the subject of guitars. He told me, “I just want to teach people about them.”
“Huh?” I asked because I hadn’t been following the conversation that closely.
“If I could do anything, all day long, I would teach people about guitars. I love them,” he said wistfully while looking at me like I was supposed to turn into a genie-in-a-bottle and give him his wish or something. I just looked at him and let the awkward silence reign. I was used to them because they happen often at a gas station, one of the more boring places in the world.
He left a little bit later, without explaining himself. But he came back for his Grizzly Wintergreen chew one day and he went on with his explanation. “I’m saving up for a new guitar, almost there!”
There was pause while I rang his items up.
“You see, my Dad taught me how to play and I’ve been playing all the time, used to play for the church in high school but haven’t done many public performances lately.”
I knew that there were a few music stores around that he could have applied to or he could have started lessons or played at the local coffee shop that hosted local artists. Why wouldn’t he do that? I didn’t understand but said, “That’s cool that you are close to buying it.”
“Thanks,” he said and walked out. He occasionally talks about his guitar (he bought the new one eventually) and what songs he is working on. I sometimes offer some words of encouragement.
Then he goes to the casino and I find something else to break the boredom at the gas station. The boredom hits as some more robot-customers visit. If only I could not be so bored.