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Monday, February 09, 2015

Wherein I reveal that I am sometimes not very nice

Monday, February 09, 2015 By

AUGUSTA, GA. - Sigh. You know how we all have those days where we are definitely NOT the person that Mr. Rogers knows we can be?

LOL, no. Not that Mr. Rogers.

Yes, this one. Umm... wait a minute - what are you doing, Mr. Rogers?

Anyway. One recent Sunday was, for about an hour, that day for me.

We'd spent 10 hours the day before walking around Atlanta. We had done ALL THE THINGS. Then, the next morning, I went to meet my fabulous friend, Penny, for brunch. I get to see her like twice a year, and that sucks. So it was a good weekend. I was in an awesome mood.

But while parking at the Decatur square, I realized I was low on gas. No problem, I thought. I'll hit a station on the way back.

Except... there wasn't one that was open. Not on Church Street, not on North Decatur, and then suddenly I was on Hwy 78, where there definitely wasn't going to be one. The red light was glaring at me as I hit I-285, the needle below empty. Blarg! Where was there a gas station?

I got off at Memorial Drive and took a right, drove for forever before I found a Shell station and pulled in with maybe 0.125 gallons of gas left in the tank... IF that.

The first pump was out of order.

The second pump was out of gas.

Out of the eight pumps, six did not work for one reason or another. Two were occupied.

I pulled in behind a man with a red and white pickup truck. He was moving at the speed of lead, but how long can it really take to get gas?

Apparently, it can take donkey's years, because this guy might as well have enjoyed a candlelit dinner with a solo violinist for the amount of time it took him.

He looked at me, directly in the eyes, and I nodded and gave him a friendly smile, because that is how I do. He looked at me a second longer, then turned back to the pump. Then got back in his truck. Then got back out of his truck. Then looked at the pump again.

I giggled, turned off my car and pulled out my phone. Might as well return a couple of texts...

I looked up a little while later. He was just sliding the hose into his gas tank. Wait, what? I glanced at the clock. I'd been sitting there for 10 minutes. Umm... okay, buddy... I shook my head and chuckled. Whatever.

I turned back to my phone. A few minutes later, I heard the pump *kachunk* off. The man was looking at the hose in consternation. Then he looked back at the pump. Then he looked back at the hose.

What was this guy doing?

I looked at the clock. I was an hour late getting back. I'd now been waiting at this pump for 20 minutes. Ugh.

Back at the pump, this guy and the pump were apparently having a battle of wits. I am pretty sure he lost. He kept looking back and forth between the hose and the pump.

Eventually, he got into his truck. Then he got back out again. Then he removed the hose. Then he hooked it back onto the pump. Then he got back in his truck. Sweet! My turn! I flicked on my engine...

... and he got back out of his truck and examined the pump again.

What? I sighed and put my head down on my steering wheel. I turned off my engine. I had a bad feeling.

When I looked up, he was sauntering into the gas station at roughly the same rate as a sea slug. I watched him enter. Then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally, he came back out. He got into his truck. Then he started doing... something. I couldn't tell. But I knew what he wasn't doing: LEAVING.

I flipped on the engine, which started with a sputter. Yikes. And I waited.

And waited.

Seriously, what was this dude doing? I might have gone to another gas station, but I didn't see another one nearby and I couldn't risk running out of gas. There were now two cars behind me, and three behind the car at the only other working pump. I literally had no other option but to sit there and wait. And this guy was totally unconcerned.

He got back out of his truck, holding a lottery ticket. He looked me in the eye. I gave him a look that I think said, "Aaaaaand just where are you going?" And he sauntered back into the gas station, glancing around at the now three cars behind me.

Man... seriously?

A woman pulled out of line behind me and sped off, flipping him off as she drove by. He didn't even notice. It had been 30 minutes since I pulled in behind him.

I waited some more. Finally, he came out, still moving like a turtle.

Honestly, the only thing comforting about these slow-walking people is that they will be the ones between me and the zombies when the apocalypse happens. And this guy was so slow he was almost walking backwards. Sorry, sir. You're definitely zombie food.

Finally - finally! - he climbed back in his truck.

I flipped on my engine again.

And then he got back out of his freaking truck.

Oh. My. God. What the ever-loving French toast is he doing?

Two cars behind me, a driver honked one long, frustrated blast and threw up his hands in frustration. I hear ya, buddy.

I looked at this guy and frowned in consternation. He looked at me. Then he started walking over to my car. Warily, I cracked my window.

"Hey... were you waiting for this pump?" he asked.

I blinked at him, and reflexively glanced behind me at the vehicles lined up.

"Uh, yes, sir."


He stood there.

"Well, I didn't know."

He kept standing there.

"Well... I think we're all waiting for the pump, sir."

He looked behind me, and then glared at me. "Well, how was I supposed to know that?"

And that's where I kind of lost it.

"Are you kidding me?" I snapped. "Why else would we be here?"

"I didn't know!" he exclaimed.

"Just... could you please just move your truck? I am literally about to run out of gas this second."

"How am I supposed to know why you're parked behind me? You could have had a bunch of reasons!"

"Like what, man? We're all just trying to get gas and be on our way. Can you move your car, please?"

The owner of the gas station came out of the station and observed the situation. I looked at him and gestured towards the driver trying to indicate that he should maybe help move him along. Angry honking man sped off from behind me, around the pump, past the owner. He honked again as he left, a long blast of wordless noise that improves nothing on this planet. Ever.

The truck driver was still standing at my front bumper, grumbling to himself. I stared at him, incredulous. He looked up at me, set his jaw, and called me a bitch.

Oh. Hell. No.

"Move your car!" I shouted.

He glared at me again.


The truck driver stomped to his car and drove off. The woman behind me was laughing hysterically. But she'd only been here for maybe 10 minutes, just enough to observe the last part of this nonsense.

I pulled up to the pump, and the owner materialized beside me like a ninja.

"Why didn't you tell me?" he asked.

"Sorry, tell you what, sir?" I asked, startled.

"Tell me that you wanted to get gas. I could have helped you." He looked at me like I was an idiot. He could have helped me? I mean, few people really need help with this task, right? Besides the guy who had just left, of course. It was so ridiculous that for a moment I thought, "Wait, am I in the wrong, here? Did I make a mistake?"

NO. I did not make a mistake. I followed every cultural and social protocol that Americans use at a gas station. It is not complicated. Pull up to pump. Get gas. Vacate pump. Wait in line if the pump is occupied. Promptly yield pump to those behind you once you have finished filling your tank. Why didn't I tell him that I wanted to get gas? Because I am at your gas station! It should have been obvious!

But I did not tell him that. I almost choked to death on the amount of effort it took to not respond to him with irritation. He didn't observe the entire situation, so he couldn't have known the extent of the stupid.

"I am not sure what you could have done, sir," I said.

"Well, I could have turned on another pump for you," he said.

"Wait, what? So... they're not... broken?" I stared at him.

"No, I just turn them off. I don't like too many pumps going at once."

I sighed, and shoved the hose into my gas tank.

I think am just going to buy a camel.

Bonus if it comes with '90s Brendan Fraser.


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