Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kissing, Shoplifting, and Peeing: The Classic Love Triangle

There are three things you will need to know in order to fully appreciate this story. One, when I was a child I was accused of shoplifting when I was, in fact, innocent, and I was too scared to speak up for myself at the time, and that memory of failed action has haunted me ever since. Two, I have an unusual bladder, one where once I even have one beer in me, shrinks like the Grinch’s heart the day after Christmas.  And three, at the time that this story takes place, I had been in the middle of a considerable dry spell, romantically speaking.
OK, so just to recap: dry spell, false accusations during childhood, and small bladder. We good? You got it? OK, great, then let’s get this puppy rolling then. 
            The story starts with the middle item on the list rearing it’s ugly head. I had to pee. This wasn’t such a big deal, except I had a lady with me. We were in the car together, I was driving her home after our date. The date had gone reasonably well, in my estimation, and now the plan was for me to take her home, walk her to her door, and kiss her. It was a bold plan, but then again, I’m a bold man. Always have been.
            Anyway, the only thing standing between me and this plan was my bladder. Like I said,  it was causing me a great deal of discomfort. Would this discomfort affect my kissing performance? That certainly seemed like a possibility. After all, shouldn’t the passion of the kiss outweigh all other passions at the moment? I felt it should. And yet, I could not honestly imagine a scenario where anything could outweigh the passion I currently had to relieve the pressure of gravity on my bladder until this problem was taken care of. What a fool I had been for ordering that second beer! Clearly, my hubris had gotten the better of me in the moment.
            I turned into the gas station nonchalantly, hoping that my date would keep on talking without noticing what I had done.
            “Oh, do you need gas?”
            Damn, she noticed. That left me with two options. One, I could lie to her, telling her I do need gas when, in fact, I don’t. Or two, tell her the truth, that despite my two visits to the men’s room at the venue, nature was still calling me like a crazed ex-girlfriend who won’t accept that it’s over. While I’m not one who normally believes that deceit is the optimal route when getting to know someone, I also wasn’t willing to admit that internally I had the workings of a seventy year old man.           
            “Yes, I need gas.” I said. Then I hopped out of the car before she could ask any more questions.
            I headed to the gas station store in a brisk but collective manner. It wasn’t a slow walk by any means, but it also didn’t scream to anyone watching Hey! I need to pee, get out of my way! (Remember fellas: It’s important to be smooth on a date at all times, you never know if she’s watching.)
            Once I was inside the store, though, I became an entirely different beast altogether. I shed my cool casual walk, and replaced it with my patented get-the-hell-out-of-my-way-before-I-shower-you-with-my-shame-juice stagger. I lurched to the far corner of the store, figuring that would be the most likely place for the restroom to be. I cursed when I realized my assumption was wrong, and looked high and low for any sign for the restroom. I found one in the other corner, and blazed a trail to the promise land.
            Now, it’s in the bathroom when this story goes from your run of the mill bladder-needs-disrupt-romantic-desire story, to something far more nefarious. For it’s in the bathroom, while I was using the urinal, when an old, middle-eastern man who appeared to be an employee of the gas station, walked into the bathroom and washed his hands. He didn’t go to the bathroom himself, you understand, he just washed his hands in the sink. This wouldn’t be all that weird, except for one thing. The whole time he washed his hands he was staring at me. And it was not a kind stare either, it was a mean, angry stare. Instinctively, I returned his stare with a mean stare of my own, and before I could even realize how weird this random angry stare-off with a stranger in the bathroom was, he disappeared back out to the store. Obviously, I was perplexed, but I also knew that there was a female in my car who needed a good kissing in the near future. And now that I had discarded my discomfort, I had to focus on that task, no matter how many odd, old men angrily scowl at me while I relieve myself.
            So I left the restroom and made my way to the main door of the store. That was when I heard a voice from behind me.
            “What did you take??”
            I turned around only to find the old man scowling at me once again.
            “What?’ I asked in a genuinely confused tone.
            “I know you took something,” He barked. “You come in here, you go to one corner of the store, then the bathroom, you are up to something!”
            Now I saw what’s going on here. I was being accused of shoplifting. You remember the number first thing on the list, right? That’s important right now, because that incident and the baggage that came with it, came roaring out at me at that very moment.  
            “Excuse me?! Are you accusing me of stealing! You think I stole something! How dare you! Well go ahead then! Check my pockets! I dare you! Put your hands in my pocket and check! I didn’t steal shit!”
            At this point, the other clerks working in the store could tell by the earnest anger in my voice that their coworker had made a mistake, and so they politely told me just to go, that they were sorry this happened. The old man himself even put up an almost apologetic hand and I saw the anger fall from his eyes. I had won the moment. My childhood injustice had been righted.
            I could have just walked out of the door right then, enjoying my small victory. But, you see, I have never been a clever man, and that becomes especially clear now. For I decided that the best thing to do was let loose a “Yeah, that’s right mother fucker.”
Now, let’s just take the time to make things clear. I’m in no way the kind of guy who goes around telling people “yeah, that’s right motherfucker”, unless I’m joking around with a friend. I’ve never said it seriously. I know there are some people, tough people, who do, but that’s not me. But in that moment, I realized it could be me. I could be the guy who underlines his righteous victory with a vulgar, masculine send-off.
 I could be that guy!  
So I became that guy.
And it felt good being that guy…for a quick second, and then the old guy heard what I said and things got dark. Real dark.
 Now, I’m not sure if the term motherfucker means something different in the country that this person was from, or if he generally just takes exception to someone insinuating that he fucks his own mother, but whatever the case, his eyes went back to angry in a flash. Actually, that’s not true, they didn’t go back up to angry, they jumped that level altogether into something I could only call murderous. This guy’s eyes wanted to murder me, and the rest of him didn’t seem too against the idea either.
            “Hey!!!” Was all he said. Or at least, it’s all I heard him say before I hightailed it out of the store.  
            I collected myself when I was near the car. I calmly and collectively hopped back in the car and drove off in a casual, yet masculine manner, hoping by doing so my date wouldn’t ask any questions. 
            “Didn’t you want to get gas?” She asked, confused.
            “Uh, yeah, but they were all out.” I said, not thinking about what I was saying. There was a long pause after this, and I looked over at her and knew she wasn’t buying that for a second. And so, realizing that there was really only one thing to do at this point, I told her the truth. All of it. And, because I’m one lucky son of a bitch, she loved the story.  She laughed, and I laughed, and then we both laughed some more. A terrifying moment turned into an awesome one.
And then a few minutes later, in front of her door, I kissed her.  I kissed her good.
Yeah, that’s right mother fucker!!