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March 31, 2014 / bekbekbekah

Stranger Danger

I have a lot of weird interactions with would-be suitors. I have no explanation for why I seem to attract the guys that I do, I just know that if I have an interaction with a random man in my day-to-day activities, it’s probably going to end up really weird. There are very few exceptions to the rule. One notable exception was when I started talking to a guy while we were both shopping for chicken at the grocery store. I told him I was making chicken curry for a potluck at work, and we ended up getting our groceries together because we were shopping for the same things. I gained a lot of information from him about making curry – he was from the Caribbean which means he knew his ish about curry – and I received many compliments on it the next day from my coworkers too. That is what I consider a perfectly normal human interaction; the following stories are examples of incredibly weird human interactions.

One time in high school or my first year of college I stopped at a gas station near my dad’s house before setting out on a road trip. My normal routine is to top off my tank, grab a Dr. Pepper, a liter of water, and a Snicker’s bar. I have no idea why, but I can’t handle a road trip if I don’t do that first. I stepped up to the counter to have the cashier ring everything up and when I made eye contact to smile at him, he stopped reaching for the items on the counter and just stared into my eyes for a few seconds. I was trying to figure out what was happening when he said, “What’s your name? Angel Eyes?” I didn’t hear him at first so I gave him a look of confusion and asked him what he said. He repeated the question and when I realized he was complimenting my eyes I just said, “No. My name is Bekah,” and pushed my items forward to encourage him to finish ringing them up so I could pay. He started ringing the items and continued saying, “Oh, it’s just that your eyes are so pretty your name should be Angel Eyes,” to which I responded, “Well it’s not. It’s Bekah,” and then paid for my items and left. That was anywhere between 6-8 years ago, and I have never once set foot back in that Shell station.

I have lived in Houston my whole life, have driven a big truck since 2004, adore the rodeo, and enjoy listening to country music, but I didn’t own a pair of boots until Christmas 2010. Part of the reason it took me that long to own a pair is because as a grown woman who stands a whopping 5’0″ tall, I have the shoe size of a small child and the calves of a grown woman. Those two factors don’t pair well together when trying to find boots that fit correctly, especially when trying to avoid boots with John Deere tractors or crazy colors on them. I finally found a perfect pair and my mom got them for me for Christmas. Because I’d never owned a pair of boots before, the process for getting the boots to stretch and form to my foot was much more painful than I had imagined. One afternoon mere weeks after owning the boots I was driving down Highway 6 in Houston and couldn’t stand to have the boots on any more. I waited to hit a red light so I could take them off, and when I finally stopped it was right next to a guy in an old white Eagle Talon. I put my truck in park and shimmied my boots off my feet. I grabbed one boot from my floorboard and put it on my seat, then grabbed the other and as I lifted it up and passed it to my right, I caught a very pleasant smell. I was surprised because I figured my boots would smell like leather or my foot or something like that, but the smell I smelled had a very nice scent and I wanted to investigate. Not thinking about my visibility to other vehicles I stuck my face into the top of my boot and breathed deeply. What I discovered was that my boot did in fact smell like my foot, and that the smell I had smelled was actually from the perfume that I had sprayed on my wrist that morning. Glad that I had figured out the source of the scent, I put my boot to the side and then thought, “Oh crap! If someone saw that they’re going to think I just go around sniffing my boots all the time!!” When I looked to my left at the guy in the Talon he looked me straight in the eyes, wagged his eyebrows at me, made a suggestive face, and sped off. My only thought was that he had just witnessed me inhaling deeply of my own boot, but that wasn’t enough to deter him from doing something also weird.

When I moved back home in December 2009 the job market in general was awful, and the job market for newly graduated production majors was even worse. I took a job at a company that performed sleep studies for patients and offered treatments for sleep apnea and the like. It was data entry, it was ungodly boring, and the money I spent in gas traveling inbound for work every day was ridiculous. In spite of these things, it was still an ok job because it WAS a job and I got to work with Krista every day. I got into the habit of eating at the Chipotle that was really close to our office; I was there at least once a week and more often than not more than that. At a certain point you begin to notice the same people working at the same place at the same time, and as a server you will also begin to notice people who come in regularly. I have no problem with that. I take my truck to the same place to get inspections and oil changes because all the workers there know me; I LIKE it when people recognize me. But there was a worker there who made me hate how much I loved Chipotle. One day I went in and got the usual and when I stepped up to the cashier (whom I recognized from the previous thousand or so visits), he says, “You come in here a lot, don’t you?” And I said, “Yeah.. It’s kind of hard to eat anywhere else when I like Chipotle so much.” Then he said, “I recognized you by your eyes. I’ll never forget them,” and then stared a little too expectantly into them. My mind was spinning trying to figure out how to make this normal, but all I could muster was, “So I’ve been told,” and I grabbed my change and bolted out of the door. I went back to work and told Krista about the interaction and we laughed. Unfortunately, my Chipotle addiction was stronger than my desire to stay away from that guy and I went back the next week (and basically pretty much every week after). The guy was again working the cash register and when I stepped up to pay he asked me, “Have you ever seen the movie Enchanted? You look exactly like the girl that plays the princess.”

For reference, he was talking about Amy Adams.

For reference, he was talking about Amy Adams.

While I found it flattering that he’d associate me with Amy Adams (um, hello, she’s GORGEOUS!), I definitely don’t see the resemblance. I think I just awkwardly left his question unanswered and again bolted, went back to work, and retold my tale to Krista. When I got to the part where he asked me if I’d seen Enchanted she said, “Well, he’s just admitted that HE has..” (seriously, guys, Krista is ridiculously funny) and we had a good laugh about it. The next several interactions with him were pretty normal (maybe he was picking up on my discomfort), and I became more comfortable with interacting with him. One week a water pipe burst in our office building, and the bulk of the flooding from it occurred in the room where Krista and I worked, so we were told to work from home for the week while it was being fixed. I guess the week away from that part of town broke my Chipotle habit a little because I didn’t go for several weeks once we returned to the office. When I finally did make my way back to the restaurant he was on his break and walked up to me and we talked for a bit. When I told him what had happened at the office he said, “Oh my gosh! I was beginning to wonder what happened to you! You’re in here every Thursday and then I didn’t see you for like a month! I’m glad you’re ok.” I laughed uncomfortably and said something clever like, “Yep,” paid, and bolted. After that encounter the company moved to a different building near the Beltway and 249, and then we were given permission to work from home, and then I was offered a job here at Mustang. Around the time of the job offer I stayed at Krista’s house (which is in the same area as the original office building) for a bit, probably to dog sit or something while she was on vacation, and grabbed dinner from that same Chipotle. I figured I’d be ok since I was going at dinner time and all the previous times I’d seen that guy were at lunch, but as I walked through the doors there he was, working the cash register. He spotted me almost immediately and chatted me up at the register while I caught him up on the history of why I hadn’t been to that Chipotle in nearly 8 months, and I don’t think I’ve been back since.

One time while I was driving home from work I got caught in traffic on Clay Road, and all we were managing was a slow inch-by-inch crawl (which is perfectly normal, actually, for Houston). The traffic lightened up a little in my lane so I was able to move several car lengths at once. I looked to my right and spotted a beautiful Dodge and thought I recognized the driver as my friend’s brother Neil. I couldn’t quite tell though because the light was fading pretty quick and the guy’s windows were tinted, but the truck looked like Neil’s so I kept looking trying to figure it out. We ended up stopped under a street light and I looked over again and immediately saw that the guy was NOT Neil and as we made eye contact I could tell that he’d seen me staring at him for the previous 10 minutes while crawling down Clay. He looked amused, but I was just embarrassed because I didn’t want to be the girl that was gawking at some guy, and tried giving him a face that said, “Whoops! I thought you were my childhood friend’s brother that I consider my own brother, but clearly in this light you are not him and I’m sorry that I was staring at you for so long, but I really love Neil and haven’t seen him in a while because he’s in college right now and I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to say hi to him,” but I don’t think it worked out very well. I was a couple lights away from my my next turn, but I like to be in the correct lane long before it’s needed so I don’t have to bully my way over when I do need to make the turn. I had to go right, so I got into his lane behind him, and he quickly switched to the lane on my left. I had my window rolled down because that’s my preferred way to drive – windows down, music blaring – but I didn’t think anything of it. Then I noticed that the guy started pacing me, even though he had a lot of extra space in front of him. I told myself that he was just keeping a safe distance from the car in front of him, but when we stopped at the light he left a HUGE gap between himsef and the car in front of him, and then I heard someone say, “Hey, how’s it going?” Because of my social inclinations, I tend to talk to people even if I think a situation might be weird (unsafe, no.. that would be stupid.. but weird, yes) so I turned down my music and asked, “Are you talking to me?” and he goes, “Yeah I’m talking to you! How’s it going?” The light at this particular intersection is notoriously long, so we ended up having a longer conversation than I’d intended, roughly transcribed below (my commentary is in Itallics).

Me: Oh, it’s good. Just enjoying this cool weather before it gets any colder.
Him: I hear ya. I hear ya. Hey, that’s a nice truck you have there. (Note to all men: if you want to chat me up, first compliment my truck. I’ll open right up.)
Me: What? Thank you! It’s my pride and joy.
Him: What year is it? ’04?
Me: Yep. Good eye.
Him: What size engine do you have? Did you spring for the Hemi? (Seriously, guys, ask me about my truck – it’s that easy.)
Me: Nah, it’s just the 3.7 V6.
Him: Well, it sounds really nice. Do you have after market exhaust? Tell me it’s a Flowmaster.
Me: HAHA! Yeah, right again. I like the Flowmasters over the other after market products. It’s basically the only choice there is, you know?
Him: Yeah, you’re right about that. How long have you had it? I can tell you love your truck, you take good care of it. Nice toolbox; great brand. (Do I really need to spell it out? Don’t give me weird compliments about my eyes – I’ve heard them all anyway.. Just compliment my truck, and don’t treat me like a silly girl who doesn’t know jack squat about her vehicle.)
Me: I bought it in 2004. I love this thing; never had a problem with it whatsoever.
Him: Wow! I like a girl with a truck and…. [muffled, couldn’t hear over the motorcycle in front of me that revved his engine] ….. beautiful.
Me: What? I didn’t hear that last part.
Him: I SAID YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!
Me: ………………………………………[thinking]…………..Th-thanks.
Him: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: Yes. (I didn’t.)
Him: Ah, too bad. He’s a lucky man. I do really like your truck. [light turns green, I move forward and decided to make my right early.]
Me: Thanks. See you later!

I think the interaction that takes the cake though is my most recent interaction. My church goes to lunch every Sunday after service, and one of my favorite locations to go is Torchy’s Tacos (seriously, crazy tacos and killer queso). There was a new girl so Lisa and I were asking her questions to try to get to know her better, and life in general was just great. The weather was perfect, the sun was warm, and the company was good. But then I had to leave because I was going to be late to meet up with my mom, so I said my goodbyes and headed back to where I had parked down the street. As I walked toward this little boutique strip I saw a homeless man sitting on the doorstep of one of the shops. My uncle works for a charity that provides legal services to homeless people, and he always says that you shouldn’t ignore eye contact or simple interactions with homeless people because it dehumanizes them. I took his advice to heart and made eye contact with the guy and said hello. He then asked me for some change, I gave him what I had and I started to leave when he asked me another question. I can’t remember what we talked about right then because after I answered his question he said, “Do you have a boyfriend?” and I immediately responded, “Yes,” (I didn’t/don’t), “I’m actually heading out to meet him right now.” He huffed and shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, he’s lucky. I was thinking you’d make a perfect fourth wife for me,” and I nervously laughed and said I had to go or I’d be late.

And those are all of my would-be suitors. After typing out the two stories in the middle I realize that those guys might seem pretty normal in the grand scheme of things. Both of them had to be at least in their mid-30s and at that time I was barely 22, and that’s a pretty big age difference, especially when talking about 20s and 30s. Also, I look like a small child – even now as a 26 year-old woman – and people are hesitant to believe that I am anything over 20, so back during those encounters I can’t imagine what age those guys thought I was. I still stand by their label as awkward encounters though, and I’m so thankful that my imaginary boyfriend has been there for me when I’m in a bind. He’s kind of great like that.

5 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Leslie W. / Mar 31 2014 2:05 pm

    The 4th wife one is one of my favorites ever! Hahaha!

    • bekbekbekah / Mar 31 2014 5:14 pm

      That guy managed to creep me out and make my day at the same time.. It was just too good to be upset about.. Hahaha!

  2. justmejennmarie / Mar 31 2014 3:21 pm

    Glad you clarified about truck guy. I was thinking, “Why didn’t you give him your number?”

    • bekbekbekah / Mar 31 2014 5:15 pm

      When I was typing that story out – especially the conversation part – I was thinking the same thing, but then I remembered the age thing and decided I’d stick with my guns. If it happened now there would be a different ending to the story I’m sure.

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