The door game
Okay..You want to hear a joke?
I don’t know any good jokes...But okay. Okay...Here’s a funny story...Last night, I was at
the gas station where I work, right? I know, you’re thinking “No! What is that great
thinker doing working at a gas station? ....With flammable chemicals.”.
I get that all the time. Mostly from policemen and clergy.
But I was at the station, and I had just locked up, you know? Both of our doors are
locked, and I’m inside this little bullet-proof box with only one drawer to interact with the
“Yeah, robber, just try it!” *ponk*ponk*ponk*
“Bulletproof!” Heh heh heh...He tries anything funny, and *shoop!* in comes the drawer!
Now, there’s NO way to get at my precious 25 bucks in loose change! Even the Special
Olympics donation box is behind a foot of bulletproof glass! I am invincible. Heck, I
WANT someone to try and rob me at that station...
Seriously, though, I feel like I can beat anything when I lock myself in. You want beer?
Well, you AIN’T GETTING IT! HA HA HA HA HA.....I’m in the box, and there’s
nothing you can do! You can shoot at me all you like, robberman! All you’ll get is an
empty gun, and the finger!
I will rule the world from my impregnable fortress like that weird thing in the movie Krull!
Then my manager pointed out that the fire extinguisher was outside the box. So if the
place catches fire, I’m screwed. Also, if I get hungry, the only thing in there is cigarettes
and dirty rags. If I’m lucky the cigarettes and rags aren’t soaked in kerosene or paint
thinner. So not only do I die of smoke inhalation, but I die of SECONDHAND smoke
inhalation. But, if somebody thinks they’re getting in my station without my authority...
They can, since I usually work in the daytime, and I have to keep the doors open, even
though I asked if I could just close the bulletproof glass, and lock them out to let people know who was the
important one here...No go.
So there I am in my locked little world last night, and the doors are locked up tight, and
this guy walks up to the window, where I’m standing, and like cuts a lateral for the doors.
He like tries to headfake me to get into the gas station. I stand there and watch as he goes
to open the door.
He grabs the door, and yanks, and nearly falls the hell down.
It’s amazing how perfectly normal intelligent people react to locked double doors. And no
two people are alike when they come across the locked door phenomena. I’m sure it’s
happened to you.
There’s the surprised one:
Customer walks up, yanks on the door, and nearly falls down when it doesn’t give.
There’s the offended one:
Customer walks up, yanks on the door, shakes it, and bashes a sullen fist against it.
And my favorite, the magic one...
They try the first one. And then scratch their head.
They try the second one. This time they use more force than your average SWAT officer
raiding a crackhouse.
Then, here’s the amazing thing:
They try the first one again.
WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?
Why did they try the first one again? Are they thinking there’s some magic trick to it they
don’t get? That the doors only open when they’re shaken like a bottle of Yoo-Hoo? Do
they think someone’s playing a joke on them? That someone’s pressing a button, locking
the door just as they try and open it? Boy that would be childish and pointless.
Pretty childish all right.
That’s probably why I do it.
Hell, I get paid crap, I need to make my fun where I can get it right? They go for the door,
and I look over and nod like I’m pressing the electronic lock button, and I am....it makes
this cute little buzzing noise. But only until their hand gets near the door.
They grab it...
And I let go of the button. They shake the door. Funny thing is, they’re supposed to be
using the drawer, always the drawer. My impregnable drawer. You want something? It
better fit through that goddamned drawer, buddy. But they want to play the door game.
“Hey let me in!”
I nod, and press the button, they shake the door.
“Hey! I can’t get in!”
I nod and press the button again, they shake the door harder.
Sorry, pal! “Bulletproof!”. Ha ha ha ha! Anyway, this game bores me after a while, so I
just deal with the people. And as you can all tell, I am a “people person”. Actually, I think
just about everyone is a “people” person. What the hell else are you going to be? A
spotted owl person? A blue-assed gibbon person? Anyway, the funny part of this story
was later on that night. This beautiful car pulls up to one of our pumps, and out steps this
really classy woman.
Classy. Classier than me. Way way classy. You know, the kind of class that says, “Super
Size”. Yeah, and don’t skimp on the extra pickle. Yeah, no off-brand soda here, pal...No
"Dr. Piker" or "Sprout" here...Oh no...This was a brand-name baby from the word ‘Go’.
She stands at the pump for a bit. Maybe a minute. Then she spots something that I
hate...the thing that separates our ‘valued guests’ from our ‘customers’ Or what I like to
call them ‘gas whores’...The ‘help me’ button.
That button will be the thing that drives me insane...Okay MORE insane.
*ping-pong* “Help me!” *ping-pong* “Help me!”*ping-pong**ping-pong**ping-pong**ping-pong**ping-pong*
She sashays up to the impregnable fortress of solitude, and I’m like “Go for the door
baby...Go for the door”, because putting the elitist bourgeoisie in their place is another
perk of my job, especially after they’ve made short work of the ‘help me’ button. And she
looked like the ‘magic’ type, you know? But she just stands in front of my window with
the drawer looking filled with righteous anger. Damn, classy and smart.
I lean to the microphone, I hit the button and I say brightly:
“Good evening, Ma’am! What can I do for you?”
She sighs....And makes that little tisking sound? You know? The passive-agressive
war-cry of the nuveau riche when they don’t get their way? God, I hate that noise. But my
job is on the line here.
At this point she just glares at me as she reaches into her purse like a Queen regarding a
butler or other lowly serf.
“Your pump should say PRE-PAY on it. I pressed the help button about seventeen times.”
IN THE SPAN OF FIVE SECONDS.
I blinked at the woman. She appeared to be very classy, and very intelligent. Oh the thinks
you think when people make you angry....Oh the things that raced through my head. But
no, I am a slave to the wage, my friends. And so I say:
“I understand ma’am. I thought it did say that on the pump...What did the pump you were
at say on it exactly?”
“It said ‘Insert Credit Card or Pay Cashier’.”
“Are you paying by credit card?”
And she looks at me like -I’m- stupid for a second. The cash is in her hand. She’s looking at
me, the cashier, and she knows I see the cash and-
Now, you fine people are intelligent sensitive souls, and you understand right now that
what this lady is suffering from is a case of what southern doctors call the “Dumbass”.
But in an instant our eyes met and something magical happened.
There we were. All of our lives bringing us to this moment, where we met at this gas
station. A choir of angels sang in the ether....We were there, not saying a word, sharing in this blissful moment, this apotheosis of cashier-customer interaction. Two souls
standing on either side of a wall of military grade bulletproof glass...All else melted away,
until we were just two perfect beings understanding one thing in perfect clarity.
That she was a dumbass.
She paid her money for her fuel, ashamed of herself. But that wasn’t the funny part. No.
The funny part was when she got only a foot out of our parking lot when her car broke
Then she had to play the door game with me to get to the phone.
I really earned my minimum wage that day.