Friday, January 14, 2005

Check My Age

So, I went to go and buy a lottery ticket the other day. Nothing major, just a scratch-off. I walk into "The Apollo Mart" (*See Below) to get a scratch-off ticket. I go up to the counter, and the man greets me.

"Hello, you pump gas?" He says, his middle-eastern accent I cannot place. I look into the clear counter to where the scratch-offs are.
"No, no gas today,” I say, smiling at him. I point at the tickets. "Can I have 5-dollars worth of those?"
"Yes, can I see ID?" He says politely, now slightly frowning as if I'm trying to fake him out. I gladly take out my license and hand it to him, still eyeing the tickets.
"Actually, I think I want the scratch-offs where you add the coins to a dollar..." I say, telling him my favorite scratch-offs that I normally 'win big' on. I couldn't see them behind the clear-counter, but I was certain he had them.

"One second please," He says, promptly turning away with my ID in hand. I look at him curiously, waiting.

How long should it take to figure out that I'm 18? I'm thinking now, watching as the scene unfolds before my eyes.

After what seemed like an eternity, he turns back to me.

"I'm sorry, I cannot sell you any ticket," He said, his face grim as he hands me back my license.
"What??" I say, perplexed.

I KNOW I'm 18 - my birthday is just a few months away! I'm going on 19 fercrissakes!

"You are not old enough,” He says, his tone sounding final. Now I'm catching stares of the people standing in line behind me. I look down at my license to make sure they have not mis-printed my birthday.
"Of COURSE I'm 18!" I burst out, thrusting out my license. He doesn't want to seem to listen to me now. "It says right here! See my birthday?"
"Yes, and you are only 18,” He says simply.

I stand there, struck dumbfounded. Did I just hear correctly?

"I know, you need to be 18 to buy a lottery ticket,” I say, for clearly there has been a misunderstanding. I get the distinct impression that he thought that one had to be 21 to buy a lottery ticket.
"Noo...Er...Is that right?" He says, turning to the other cashier.

Now this is a bright woman, I think, looking at her. She's chewing gum with her mouth wide open, her eyes scanning me.

"You have to be 18 to buy lottery tickets,” She says calmly, eyeing me like a surveillance camera.
"I AM 18!!!" I yell at her, trying to get my point across. I stuff my license into her hand before she can turn away. Taken by surprise, she stumbles back a few steps, clutching onto my license.

A moment or too passes, and I see her holding up her hand, counting on her fingers.

"Oh Lord have MERCY!" I say loudly, glaring at her. She stares back at me, her eyes blank as she keeps on adding my age on her fingers. Now the people in her line AND the people behind me are getting impatient.
"You ARE 18, aren't you?" An older-looking man says next to me who was in the woman's line. "Because I will be highly affronted if you are NOT 18."
"Yes, I am 18. Maybe I should have gone to another gas station 'eh?" I retort at the man. He stays quiet.

Finally, the woman cashier hands my license back to me, apparently satisfied.

"Okay, sell her the tickets,” She says in a tone condemning me to the death sentence.
"HALLELUIAH!" I say loudly, grinning. The man looks at me accusingly.
"Here you go,” He says, handing me the scratch-offs and looking at me like I'm about ready to jump him.
"Thanks,” I say, practically ripping the tickets from his hand.

* Name has been changed on account of how stupid the employees are