As usual, I swung by SuburbaGas this morning for my gallon of crappy coffee. I was in a fairly good mood, spending the previous 5 minutes of my commute belting Aretha’s “Freeway of Love” and looking forward to my long weekend in Sea Ranch. At the bank of coffee dispensers, I found a middle-aged gentleman in mini-Magnum P.I.-esque denim shorts and sunglasses dangling around his neck, taking up the coffee, milk, sugar and container areas simultaneously. Literally, this guy somehow dominated every square inch of SuburbaGas as I stood right there attempting to make my presence known.
Clearly, this guy fancied himself Norm in Cheers, he was so comfortable with his surroundings, speaking to each employee as if they were best friends getting together for their morning cup of Joe. Suddenly, the owner of SuburbaGas emerges from “Employees Only” and Norm manages to take up even more space greeting him.
“Ma-HAM-ed! Where the hell you been?”
“Ah, hello. I was visiting my family.”
“In the Middle East? Shit, Ma-HAM-ed! I don’t see any bullet holes. Hehe.”
Silence. Still blocking coffee. Spots getting uncomfortable.
Norm keeps talking. “You got a girl there?”
“No. Just family.”
“We got to get you some tail, Ma-HAM-ed!”
Oh my god. Can I please get my fucking coffee?
I finally push my way past him, quietly excusing myself as I plop my handbag down and start to dispense my coffee.
“Oh, ‘scuse me, honey.” Norm giggles, shifting in his shorts. “Never keep a lady from her coffee, right Ma-HAM-ed?”
I was about 2 seconds from dumping my coffee all over this douchebag until suddenly, Mohammed emerges as my knight in shining armor.
“You let her get coffee. You take up room. Make people uncomfortable. You get out of way. She wait while you talk bullet hole.”
Norm was stunned into silence.
While delighted, I had no idea what to do next. Had I any balls, I would high-fived Mohammed and been like, “Nice shorts, asshole.”
But I didn’t. I’m a repressed-Catholic American woman. So, as protocol states, I apologized for doing nothing.
“Oh, no! I’m fine! I’m so sorry. I’ll get right out of the way. I’ve got coffee. Don’t worry about it. I’m almost done.” I stammered, dumping Spenda into my cup without even bothering to swizzle.
Norm was still in shock, holding onto his coffee and staring me down. As I pushed my way past him to the cashier, he finally pulled it together. “Jesus Ma-HAM-ed. Relax. I didn’t know that was your girlfriend. Christ, I come in here every day for this shit? I was just messing around.”
I slowly paid my $1.75 as Juan the cashier and I listened in.
“You not mess around. You get coffee. You go. No mess around! No loiter!”
Juan and I made eye contact as Norm slammed down his cup and walked out of SuburbaGas, most likely to return tomorrow morning.
Mohammed made his way behind the counter next to Juan. And then, like I wasn't already in love, Mohammed rocked my world yet again.
Folks, had I not been there I wouldn’t believe it.
He simply looked at me, sheepishly smiled and winked…