Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oh the Irony

Trading money for gasoline is getting to the point where the trade doesn't seem fair. The gas station fears the same so we're back to "Pay before you Pump" which I hadn't seen since the gas crunch in the 70's when I was a kid.

This morning I dutifully handed over my money, trying not to sigh aloud and make the clerk feel bad. It's not her fault. She probably gets her ears burned off most of her shift, so why should I add another insult to her injury? She did smile. Wanly. Hey, it was better than, "Stick 'em up."

As I began to pump, a dilapidated old yellow car came belching up to the pump. I don't know what kind because the auto maker's emblem had fallen off the trunk. I recognized the body style from my childhood, meaning it was verging on antique. The body was a faded baby yellow in color, the black vinyl roof now tattered with signs of rust showing through. Kicking and grunting, it stuttered itself to the pump, where it shuddered to a halt in a belch of blue smoke. I don't know what it was venting more of: oil or gas fumes. I'm sure it killed any mosquitoes within a mile of the gas station.

As I waited for my pump to conclude, I watched two young guys get out of the car. The driver instructed the passenger to prepare to pump as he went inside to pre-pay. When the passenger asked what to put in, the young driver replied,"The most expensive one. I don't put that cheap stuff in my car."

I politely bit my lip and cast my eyes on the ground.

I'm guessing he put all of $10 of expensive fuel into his on-its-last-legs vehicle. His designated pumper seemed surprised at how fast the pump quit. As I got in my car, he tried to coax his to life. It stuttered and burped. The starter grumbled at being asked to work again. The car hiccuped, belched blue smoke and groaned to life. Unfortunately he pulled out ahead of me. I feared asphyxiation before we left the parking lot.

But hey, at least he shuddered down the road believing he was helping the environment... because he hadn't put the cheap stuff in his car.

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