There was too much inbound traffic for me to turn left into the Racetrack as I drove outbound from downtown. So I resigned myself to expensive gas from the corner gas station back home. When I got there, all they had was premium.
Now I'm a cheapskate. And gas is not exactly cheap these days. Paying for premium didn't really appeal to me. Still -- today was not a good day for the tank to be empty (with hurricane Rita bearing down on the Gulf coast). So I resigned myself to paying too much.
When I got out of the car, I thought I might tell the manager that their sign at the corner was wrong. $2.67 for unleaded (which they didn't have). $2.77 for mid-grade (which they didn't have). And $2.67 for premium (which they did have). But the advertised price was no mistake. The manager smiled and explained the company policy to drop the price of expensive gas when they run out of lower grades.
So I filled up. And having spied some water bottles in their refrigerators, I bought four. And since my bank has an ATM there, I got some cash. And so I felt a little better about the weekend -- even euphoric. I got a great deal on a tank of gas. I got enough cash to last a couple days in dire need. And I managed to find some bottles of water for us to take to the Music Festival today[*].
So happy was I with my fortune, that I got in the car and drove off without taking the gas hose out of my car. The man in front of me was waving wildly. There was a clunking sound at the back of the car. The woman on the other side of the pump (with whom I had shared my cheap-gas-glee) was looking at me with newfound suspiscion. And there was a gas pump hose lying on the pavement in my side view mirror.
You might imagine the look on my face as I got out of my car.
To my relief, the hose was intact, and there was not even a drop of gasoline on the pavement. But I had some trouble getting the pump to give me my receipt. Flustered and embarrassed, I gave up, figuring the pump had given up on me, and walked back to the car to close my gas cap. (My car was straddling two lanes now, creating a nuisance for others.)
Do you want your receipt? a voice asked.
The manager had come out of the store. I can only imagine the claxons that must have sounded as I tried to drag the gas station home with me.
You know these pumps will print out receipts for you.
Thank you, yes, I said.
And I thought to myself,
What does he take me for, an idiot!?
[*] They only let you take in factory-sealed bottles of water, and bottled water has been mighty hard to come by in Texas, lately.
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