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21 more things = 42

The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...


My Self-Concept Or Yours: Who Wins?

Prelude [but not to a kiss]

Last weekend I was leaving a family dinner with my invited guest. Sitting at a stop sign, across from a gas station, he questioned my desire to correct my pessimistic gas tank situation, noting that it was less than ½ full. I declined, not wanting him in any way to feel responsible for putting snaps on my petro.

Oddly enough, this line of thinking makes ZERO sense, especially after my girlfriend & I, earlier this year, roasted her husband for never making sure her tank was full—even after driving her car himself. I issued him several Boisterous Boos myself, as I proudly remembered that 1 time at band camp where I actually had a man who took care of those things for me. That relationship & that gesture from the men in my life fell by the wayside like the rush for Y2K compliance. Independent azz woman that I am, I ain't blink back any tears over it, I just kept pumping my own gas.

Back history aside, lets skip ahead to last Thursday. I pull up at my local gas station, turn off Steel Magnolia & get out to run my card. Before I could get the tank open an older gentleman appeared like a genie, insisting that he pump my gas. He told me he MUST pump it for me because I was too pretty to touch such nasty things. Why, thank you, Sir. I could tell by his aggressive body language that he wasn't taking "no" for an answer & I damn sure wasn't pressed to stand outside. At night. In the cold. He insisted he wasn't after money, he just wanted to help. His partner, was behind my car with the hood up on his, receiving NO help & NO attention from his workman onesie wearing friend. I sat back down in my car, attempting to put distance between me & this man, while also keeping a close enough watch on what he was doing. What did Granddad take this as? Attention. Next thing I know, I'm engaged in convo with a man whose teeth have been charged to the game, with 3 holding on for dear life.

Granddad: You live around here?

Me: Yup

Granddad: Where?

Me: Why would I tell you where I live?

Now, at this time, an SUV pulls up to the tank on the other side of mine. The driver gets out & starts fillin'er up. There's another dude on the passenger side who must've caught the look on my face because he gets out of the car & looks around my tank to see who I'm talkin' to & giving the disappearance side-eye. He sits back in the SUV with the door open, facing my conversation. At this point I was just appreciative that the dude is on the eye-candy side, giving me a little hope as I endure the longest gas pumping in the history of my Civic's tank. The yellow light had come on, but damb.

Granddad: Just checking to make sure you're as smart as you look. Seriously, you stay in Trinidad?

Me: Nope

Granddad: Awww, come on, I just wanna know in case I'm over there. I can come say hello.

*dumbfounded, thinking: is he effin serious? like...really, Old Man?*

Me: Even if I did live over there, that wouldn't be possible. I. DON'T. KNOW YOU. You're still a stranger, remember?

Licorice Stick, the beautiful gentleman in the SUV, is cracking up quietly & trying to see if his boy is listening to this.

Granddad: You married?

Me: Yup.

Granddad: For how long? *Licorice Stick is flashing both hands to signal I should say for a decade* I'm divorced mah'self, but I got friends. See me & you can be friends.

This is where I get out of the car to see what's taking so COTDAYUMB long. Either the dude with the SUV didn't fill'er up after all, or he was low-ballin' & only put $10 on 6 cuz he was cappin' off & preparing for his departure. Licorice Stick is asking me if I'm good, do I need help. I'm nodding yes like a bobblehead & saying something he obviously isn't able to read on my lips because he waves & gets back in the SUV & closes the door. My face cracks & the bass appears in my voice.

Me: You aren't finished yet?

Granddad: I don't know why this is taking so long? Where you want me to stop, Honey?

Me: Now is good.

Granddad: Ok, I'll stop at $33, is that OK.

Me: Yes.

$33 goes by. I started wondering since when did my tank take so much gas, & how in the hell did he manage to see $33 & still be pumping? I reach for the pump to remove him from it & my life space just as he makes the decision that $34 is good.

Missed my mark before, is that good?

Me: Yes, thank you, Sir.

Granddad: Don't you talk to strangers, now.

Gas cap on. Gas door closed. Me in my car. Music on. Mileage reset. Trip resumed. As I'm driving up the street I really had to wonder what just happened? It seemed as though a man,whose remaining teeth were older than me, had the gall to try to sell himself as a viable option for a young woman such as myself. Somehow he looked at me & thought that I would make good company for him & his grandkids.

The Summa Holla was dumb funny. But if this is what I have to look forward to all winter, let the hibernation begin. I learned a couple of valuable lessons.

1. Independence is great when you gotta flex it, but interdependence is the shit & the muthafuggin urine.

2. Apparently, all you gotta do these days is be alive to attract somebody. I don't know if Granddad's self-concept was so high that he doesn't know that the warm winter cave I seek is not in his mouth, or that I just look like somebody who'll deal with any damn thing? Either way, something's got to give.

3. Pumping gas at night is for the lonely. Even if you are alone, you ain't gotta look it if you pump during the day. Then you just look like you're pumping gas en route to take care of the business of life. Pumping gas alone at night looks like nobody loves you & you gotta be going home to the cold side of the pillow.

4. Women must be out here with no policies. I'm bout to get a bumper sticker that says No Shoes, No Shirt, No Teeth, NO LOVE!

While there is no actual truth to these lyrics for the rapper delivering them, I see now how Remi Ma came up with "I Look Too Good."

Folks, you gotta respect ya nickel. aka: stay in your lane.

Watch me move.

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