"Hey, David," I say to the cashier manning the register at my all-time favorite gas station. I have a soft spot for gas stations for two reasons: nonjudgment and proximity. I would come in all hours of the day and night and David would only give me a smile and a wave. He never asks why I'm dressed as a homeless vagabond all the time, nor does he say anything about my stale breath that must have caused him some toxic damage over the course of our pseudo-friendship. And you can't beat the proximity of this place, located only a short distance from where I reside. I say reside because I can't say technically that I "live" in a dumpster located behind my work. For census reasons obviously.
He waves to me without looking up because he is hard at work. That man loves his job. I waltz over to the cooler where I store my precious Arnold Palmers and retrieve one marked "Vernon's: Do Not Touch." It doesn't really say that but who's to say dreams don't come true?
I also grab a bag of the new flavor of Sun Chips, one I admire whole-heartedly. So much so that I don't even eat the chips, I just stare at them and hope that they'll return the love I so effortlessly give them. I got a duplicate set of keys made for this flavor and am considering asking the chips to move in, but I don't want to rush what we have already. These things take time, and we've only just opened up to each other. Plus, the dumpster doesn't really lock, per se.
"I don't need my receipt," I tell the Samoan guy. I'm a big spender. I'm on the edge. And by the way, I don't play by the rules. I take my cherished items to the register and am appalled when it is not David who rings up my things but some huge scary-looking Samoan dude. I say Samoan because he looks like The Rock only fatter and with frizzier hair. I hear rustling in the back and put my fourth grade reasoning into play: eleven o' clock… most shifts switch at this time, and there's obvious noise coming from the back room. David is in the back room! And my teachers said I'd amount to nothing.
"I don't need my receipt," I tell the Samoan guy. I'm a big spender. I'm on the edge. And by the way, I don't play by the rules. I yell my goodbyes to the general area where I think David is and walk outside.
I'm halfway across the parking lot when a random sitting in a red Grand Prix accosts me. "Hey, do you work down at that big building over there? I think I've seen you."
Real specific, guy. But I'm feeling nice so I answer him accordingly. "Yeah, I do actually."
It was practically winking at me already. "Yeah, I think I've seen you over there."
Cool. Now we're best friends. I'll be selling the book and movie rights to the highest bidder.
I stop making up titles to the theoretical book and/or movie when he starts talking again, and by the degree of lisp he uses I can instinctively tell that he bats for the other team. Right on, I'm attracting all types these days.
He goes on to say that he frequently walks by the building and that he was right because he thought he saw me and do I remember because it was the day I wore that really cool tie along with that awesome paisley sweater vest. Of course I remember. That was a good day for me. My HR write-ups reset.
It's what he says next that really grabs my attention: "…And I'm leaving for Utah tomorrow with David."
"Wait. David's leaving? He didn't say anything to me." As if our gas station hellos and goodbyes give me the right to scrutinize the in-depth life choices and aspirations of a truly complete stranger.
"Yeah, he's my husband."
I cock my head. What? Husband? David doesn't seem gay…. I am completely taken off guard, but there's nothing to say really, other than congratulations, so I wish him the best of luck in (ugh) Utah and go on my way.
Huh. You live and you learn, and sometimes, just sometimes, you move to Utah.