This morning was a comedy of errors. Like a fool, I chose to wait until the very last minute to fill up on gas. I don’t like to do this for various reasons, but (for various reasons) it happened.
To make matters worse, it was cold last night, which means it was harder than usual to force myself out of the warm bed. Little did I know that my 15 minute snooze would set the stage for the entire day.
Time is the Enemy
As I was pulling out of my driveway, I noticed the ‘dte’ (distance ’til emtpy) gauge estimated I had 39 miles before I’d be calling AAA from the side of the road, begging for a hand.
Then I remembered there’s a gas station right down the street from my house. Perfect. I can make a quick stop, and be able to get right on the highway. No harm, no foul. Sadly, I never understood what that cliché actually means… and I was about to find out the hard way.
By not accepting my credit card, that station threw me an effective ‘no dice,’ so I got on the highway and crossed my fingers I really had the 39 miles my car had promised to get to my destination… and another gas pump.
Murphy’s Law dictated that it had to be busier than normal today (and being late didn’t help at all), so when I got off the highway, I couldn’t get across the lanes fast enough, and ended up missing four gas stations!
And (of course!) those were the only stations on the whole frickin’ road, ‘cause heaven forbid they actually space them out a little! But I wasn’t going to accept any responsibility for this predicament. Now I had set my ire toward the city planners.
Rock and Hard Place
Passing my office, I eventually found a station (charging about 20 cents a gallon higher than the others, mind you), only to realize that when I tried to ‘lift handle’ as instructed, the G.D. handle wouldn’t stay up! As Lobo sang in Me & You & a Dog Named Boo, I was “back on the road again.”
So I made a U-turn and headed back toward one of the stations right off the highway. It had been 30 minutes since my first attempt. Maybe people better organized than me would be at work by now.
So Close, So Far
I could see the space as I pulled into the lot. Only one space; all other spots were occupied. But as I pulled my thirsty car up to the pump, some lady starts backing in! Son of a @#$&%!
Now nearly one hour late for work (and so low on gas the ‘dte’ had given up delivering this courtesy, instead just showing three dashes), I whipped into the first station I saw, accepting the 25 cent a gallon increase as my ‘stupidity tax.’ And then the card (different one this time) wouldn’t work! I had to ‘see cashier.’
Apparently things have gotten so bad that now even card customers are taking off without paying. The clerk said people use a pre-paid or something and then high tail it before the system can realize it just got screwed. Now they make you swipe your card at the register. So much for the convenience of using a card!
I learned two lessons from this little production. The lesser lesson (not even in the mood to laugh at that alliteration) is that when the screen says to ‘see cashier,’ see the G.D. cashier instead of storming off in a huff!
The greater lesson is, of course, about time management and pre-planning. Of course, there’s always the third choice of forgetting about the whole thing, and reliving it next week, which is probably the route I’ll take.
After all, I wouldn’t want to deny myself this little adventure again! >:-|
by Rita Gladner
Residential Life Magazine