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Jumping to conclusions

January 12, 2009

by Julienne

Tune in or log on to any news station and you will be sure to find one thing: negativity.  Nowadays, a broadcast is more likely to air with words like “economy,” “war,” or “Lohan” than to provide upbeat information.  Who told the media that the American public is no longer interested in quality, human interest stories?  We did.

Please do not misunderstand me.  I know that my receiving the latest details on the Stock Exchange and the Gaza Strip is crucial.  Still, I am well within my rights to also say it is depressing!  Moreover, it was not until recently that I realized how much I am actually affected by what I hear.

“These pretzels are making me thirsty.”  Die-hard Seinfeld fans know how it is.  Admit it — you’ve done it: quoted the show in your daily conversations.  If it is not Seinfeld, you have another vice.  Maybe it is Beatles’ lyrics, The Office, or classic literature – something to which you connect most of your life’s happenings.  Well I had one of those moments, and it happened at the gas station.  (I’m a classy girl.)

It was a rainy spring day, and I was on the clock.  I had to fill up the tank before I could finish running errands for work.  I pulled into a family-owned gas station downtown, and I was driving my non-profit’s ludicrous, old Astrovan.  I pulled on a baggy sweatshirt, donned the hood, and jumped out of the car.  Although not my first time driving the van, it was my first time fueling up and I couldn’t find the gas door’s release switch!  I searched for about 5 minutes, and went inside to seek help.

I approached the man behind the counter and explained my situation.  He grudgingly followed me outside and found the button right away.  I thanked him, purchased the gas, and went about my day.

Fast forward a few weeks.  The rain is gone, the sun is out, and I’m in high heels.  I’m on my way to a meeting and I pull my four-door Sedan into the same gas station.  This time, I was able to get a pump right up front and close to the office door.  While I’m filling up, the same man I saw before comes outside and offers to pump the gas for me.  Shocked, I say no thank you.  I’m appalled.  Is this the same man who was reluctant to help me while I was wearing a sweatshirt?  Has his interest suddenly been peaked by stilettos and a moon roof?  I need to make some sense of this situation, so I tacitly consult Seinfeld.

You’ll remember the episode when Elaine becomes disgruntled with the owner of the group’s favorite Diner.  (Who, incidentally, really has some of the best cheesecake in NYC.)  She notices that all the waitresses are rather well-endowed, so to speak.  After voicing her concern to the guys, she decides to apply for a job.  When Elaine’s application is denied, she decides to take her case to higher authorities.

At this point I have worked myself into quite the frenzy.  I vow to keep buying my gas there — each time in a different outfit.  One day I might wear the sweatshirt, another, the heels.  I’ll document my experiences and take my findings to the powers that be.  In my mind, the ACLU has already shut this place down and NOW is picketing out front.

However, in my excitement, I forgot the rest of the story.  Upon further investigation, Elaine finds out that the restaurateur is not discriminatory in his hiring.  Rather, all his waitresses are his daughters.  Their (ahem) benefits are merely genetic in nature.

Had I remembered this, I might have not been so shocked on my third return to the gas station.  That was when I saw them.  The “Full” and “Self” serve signs.  I trust you will not be surprised to hear me say that the Full Serve pump was “right up front and close to the office door.”

This started me thinking.  When did I become a product of my environment?  I had no idea I was a person more willing to assume the worst than to read a simple sign.  In this 21st century world, controversy is what sells.  To all those who say that modern media is corrupt, I say today’s journalists are merely complying with supply and demand.  This world most often boils down to simple economics.  Only when our utility for negativity decreases will we have a balanced news report.  I can only hope that CNN won’t “yada yada” over the best part.

  1. Bear permalink
    January 15, 2009 12:33 pm

    You rock kid. Pleasantly surprised by the turn of events in your article! I was right there with you on the ‘trying on different outfits’ bit. A sociology experiment that should still be put into practice if you ask me!

  2. Julienne permalink
    January 15, 2009 1:26 pm

    I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. This time…

  3. James permalink
    August 21, 2009 10:29 pm

    The rest of the world works pretty much the same as a gas station- just smells different

  4. Julienne permalink
    August 24, 2009 9:23 am

    But which smells better?

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