Saturday, July 26, 2014


Recently, I wrote about diners in my neighborhood and how Greeks own them. The Greeks are a great nation of people, they work hard, are innovative and can read Greek, and I can’t! Actually, I did learn the Greek alphabet one summer many years ago, before entering college. A rather sweet gal worked with me in a stock room and taught me the Greek alphabet to a tune sung by her brother’s fraternity.

“I got the alpha beta gamma delta epsilon bluuuues”

I can still sing it after all these years. Her name was Arlene Jefferson and she was one cool gal.

Many times, after breakfast on a Sunday morning, as we leave the Greek diner, I stop on my way home to fill up my gas tank, and pull into what seems like Saudi Arabia, complete with Arabic chatter. Now you must be wondering: “Isn’t that MY gas station!?” It seems that Arabs run just about every gas station I go to. If you remember the Seinfeld episode with the ‘Soup Nazi’, you recall the “No soup for you!” line so famous in American lexicon now. Well this one gas station has a ‘Gas Nazi’, that’s right, if you didn’t pull up just right, this swarthy looking guy with a perpetual scowl would reprimand you in half Arabic and direct you to pull up or back, whatever his fancy was that day. And God forbid if you didn’t have your money ready, he was an unhappy man with no tolerance for anything. Why did I go to him, because he was amusing, it just made me laugh how you had to be in a perfect spot to get gas, and sometimes I liked to bust his Arabian chops and pull up too far from the pump. The scowl alone was worth the time.

Now this gas station is almost next door to the Greek diner, and in line on my way home. I pull up and have to find the attendant, who is happily chatting away on his cell phone in Arabic. Finally he’ll look up and come running over: “What’s hup?” he’ll say. I tell him to filler up and he asks me if it is cash or charge. He then proceeds to fill the tank, when it is full and the pump stops, he then begins the process to make no change! Yes, $18.76 will become $19.00 or if he has no singles, $20 by putting the excess gas in you pocket, your glove compartment or wherever there is room. No really, but I do wonder where that extra gas is going.

Once I fill up the tank, if I need, I can just pull up next door to my local Seven/Eleven and buy a newspaper. There are at least three such establishments in my local area, each is owned by the same guy: or so I thought! A rather somber, no nonsense Pakistani  stands behind the counter, will print out the lottery tickets, the bottle of Pepsi, or containers of coffee and even remake the coffee.

Between the Greeks, Arabs and Pakistani population, which is 6 people all together, I wonder where they all live?



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