Bill Pettaway is still pumping gas. And strangers are still asking him why.

The songwriter's No. 1 hit, "Girl, You Know It's True," has sold at least 17 million copies worldwide.

He has been to a party with Magic Johnson, ridden in a parade with Sugar Ray Leonard and attended the Grammy awards.

But drive up to the Forest Drive Amoco in Annapolis almost any morning and Bill Pettaway will run up and wipe your windshield.

"I'm trying to build up my song production now. I'm trying to grow into bigger and better things. At the same time, I'm trying not to go above myself," said Pettaway, 30, who still lives at home with his mother and father and a ferret named Peewee.

"I get a lot of people who say, 'Why are you still working here? I wouldn't.' Well, you're not me. I have people say, 'If you hit the lottery, would you work here?' I probably would," he said. "You make your choices. You make your destination by doing what you want to do your way."

Pettaway, who has made thousands of dollars from the international hit, finally met the singers who recorded the song, the duo Milli Vanilli. They were performing in the area and invited him to go dancing at their favorite Washington club. "I didn't go," he said. "I don't like to go to clubs."

What he does like to do, he said, is write songs. And these days, he said, he's "really been in a very innovative mode."

"I'm writing more about what's actually going on in the world," he said. "I wrote a song called 'Peace.' It says that we've got to all get it together. That's the true power."

In the meantime, he has another song coming out on the next Milli Vanilli album. It is called "True Love."