For a few years in the mid-2000s, I was having better luck with sightings at a gas station in my southern Minnesota where I topped off my tank after attending my local county fair than I did at my local county fair itself. One of the best examples of this came on a Thursday night in 2004, where I left the county fair with no particularly impressive sightings. I retreated to my favorite gas station in town, cited as the location for a couple of sightings in this blog, as I already knew at this point that this station, attached to a strip mall and a frequent teen hangout, would be my best chance to score the memorable sighting of the evening that the fair did not produce. And the station came through…..
Right away when I pulled in, I noticed a cluster of three or four teens hovering immediately in front of the gas station door. Dominating my attention was this bodacious 16-17ish curly-haired blond in a tanktop and white shorts, the perfect picture of Midwestern innocence. And while there was no familial connection, at least that I know of, this girl’s wholesome look immediately sent me back a decade to what Cousin Jamie looked like in her mid-teens. She wasn’t smoking when I pulled up, but it was one of those cases where my gut told me it was gonna happen. And then it did….
Standing there filling my tank with gas, I looked up to see a freshly lit all-white in the blond’s mouth and a pack of Marlboro Lights in the hand of a guy friend next to her, who apparently supplied her the cigarette even though he wasn’t smoking. The two friends were at this point getting in their car and leaving, so only the two of them lingered in front of the entrance. And the lingering was the x-factor that added the extra yumminess to this sighting. They were literally standing directly in the way of the entrance as the blond beauty obnoxiously spewed her cigarette smoke. And about three drags into the cigarette it was time for me to head in to pay for my gas. While the smoker and her friend had drifted slightly, they still were extremely close to the entrance of the gas station, and the adorable blond had just taken an impressive drag and exhaled into the night air, allowing me to walk through a hovering cloud of her smoke as I entered the building.
I wasn’t as daring in taking in sightings then as I am now, so I paid for my gas, exited (walking through another fresh load of air pollution by blondie), got in my car and left rather than finding a way to linger for the rest of the show. It was unfortunate I didn’t see everything as this girl’s beauty put her up there with some of the best smokers I’ve ever run into in the hometown, but I undoubtedly experienced the high point with the sighting even without staying for the rest of the show simply by having incredible timing entering and exiting this gas station that was effectively being barricaded by a wall of smoke courtesy of the one cutest teen smokers I’ve ever come across.