Saturday, May 10, 2008

It’ s just a little bit odd

Pin It I pulled up to the gas pump.

The fuel gauge on my car read, “Empty.” So I wouldn’t be able to put it off any longer…not that I wanted to; I just hate those long lines that inevitably form at the Sam’s Club Gas Station.

When my turn arrived I hopped out of my car, membership and credit cards both ready and waiting. You see, I have a pattern, as I don’t like it when people pull up to the pump and then spend the next five minutes just trying to find what they need, forcing me to watch them in their ineptitude.

I’d rather eat shards of broken glass.

But as I said, I have a pattern: I pop the “fuel release” button as I jump out of the car, slide my membership card in at the pump, remove the fuel cap, insert my debit card, grab the nozzle, insert it into the car, select my fuel grade, and then begin to refuel my vehicle…this whole process takes less than thirty seconds.

As I was in the middle of my well-rehearsed routine, I noticed it…no, it wasn’t the $3.50+ cost for gas, but the fact that here I was, surrounded by other people getting fuel, and not one of us was speaking to each other. The woman on the other side of the pump was busy trying to get her card to work; the man in front of me had climbed back in his car…even though there were notices everywhere advising motorists to stay outside of their automobiles when refueling. Behind me was a line of three other vehicles, all waiting their turn at the pumps, each of them currently watching the “Zimmerman Show.” I did my best at leaning up against my car and trying to act cool…after all, if they wanted to watch somebody, I’d give them something to look at.

It’s all about eye candy.

As the pump continued to produce fossil fuels—as well as drain away my bank account—I spoke to no one. Nobody spoke to me. When my $50 purchase was completed, I quickly removed the hose, put the fuel cap back on, and re-hung the nozzle, leaping in my car and pulling away…

…still having spoken to nobody.

Now, just why do we do this? My only guess is that getting fuel is so personal of a thing that we just cannot share this experience with anyone else. OR perhaps it is instead that our collective breaths are taken away by what getting fuel really means...


Either way, it’ s just a little bit odd.

10 comments:

cari said...

I was pumping gas one time and the guy next to me asked me why the flag was at half-mass. I wasn't 100% sure but it was around the time Lady Bird Johnson died and so I said maybe it was for her. The guy said that he didn't think they did that for first ladies and proceeded to remind me that they didn't do it for Nancy Reagan (last time I checked Nancy Reagan was still alive but whatever.) Then he proceeded to go off on Ronald Reagan and was using all kinds of vulgar language. I just said, "Okay then. Have a good day." and I got in my car and left. Because of situations like this, I don't talk to people pumping gas.

P.S.
I love the "Arm. Leg. Both." picture! How true! I told my kids that when I started driving gas was 87 cents a gallon and Max said, "You're so old." Yeah. Thanks for the reminder Max.

Farscaper said...

I typically don't talk to people at the gas station either... BUT, when I wear a particular jacket that I have EVERYONE talks to me. Men, women, young and old. I LOVE it when the old biker guys with the ZZ Top thing going on talk to me.

I recently had a long converstion at the Sams Club pump with a woman. After that "event" we knew we were the same religion, that I had a son with a genetic disorder, and I knew what she did for a living (she works with handicapped kids on her horse ranch). She gave me her business card. We even included a few other motorists who were gassing up around us. By the time we were done fueling up I felt I had made a new group of friends.

But it doesn't happen like that very often. Not often enough. I need to wear that jacket more often.

P.S. Doesn't it just bug you that you don't know who I am yet? LOL

Julie said...

So true, odd, and yet so funny. I have often wondered who watches the cameras that watch us filling up our cars...I think that it would be very comical!

summer said...

I don't have enough money to fill up my car the entire way...so that leaves even less time to start a conversation with people! It is interesting all the places that we are that we don't talk to people....the gas pumps, in line at a store, sitting at tables next to each other in a restaurant sharing a cozy moment of a meal, at church and other functions...we are surrounded by people that we don't talk to! I love the latin culture...all my friends from South America are so warm and friendly - the first time you meet you are kissed on the cheek and get a big hug...we think that is too personal perhaps, but I find it comforting and nice, and yet still I shy away from doing that because it's not the social norm here and there are some nuts at the gas stations that I just would not do that with! Still, it is odd how closed we are with one another.

Danielle said...

I've thought this before also. Strange. It's like going to the bathroom. You just do your thing and leave, having had no conversation. Not that fueling my car is THAT personal. I just think that people don't put as much forth into investing in relationships.

Teachinfourth said...

Cari - I guess there is a reason why we should avoid speaking to people in public places...

Farscaper - Lurk away, girl. I will "discover" your secret identity one day...all in sweet time.

Jewels - Kind of like "The Truman Show" huh?

LoS - I guess that's the reason why we can be in a crowded place and yet still feel all alone.

I don't know how I would feel about people kissing me...well, there are a few people I wouldn't mind; Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Megan Follows...

Dani - A guy walked into the bathroom at ComedySportz this past Saturday and started to talk to me...at the sink wouldn't have been too bad, but at the urinal?

Can you say, "awkward?"

Gerb said...

I don't know what you're talking about. I talk to people at the gas pump all the time. And in line at the grocery store. And especially in elevators. That's my favorite. Instead of facing the door, face the people.

Teachinfourth said...

Gerb - So you're one of THOSE people...

annette said...

You start to sound a little OCD with that "routine" of yours.

I like the "eye candy" line. I never know what to do when I feel like I'm being watched. I guess I can just pose.

Teachinfourth said...

Nettle - Eye candy...that's what it's all about.

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