Here is but a slight commentary on the trials of pumping gas in frigid conditions.
How many times have you been traveling along the byways, only to realize that your gauge is harrowingly close to that dreaded red line. On an evening when the wind chill hovers around -12, no one wants to sputter along the road, coming to a silent stop upon the curb, suddenly knowing that you have indeed run out of gas. Perhaps at this juncture a few choice words come to mind, such as ‘Drat!’, or, ‘Darn!’, or ‘Egad!’ (and I am quite certain that a few other choice words may be emitted under such duress.)
But this is about finding yourself close to no petrol, and easing into an open bay. The wind has picked up, its dark and bitterly cold outside. You fumble with your credit card, valiantly attempting to decipher this particular gas station’s pumps. (Why on earth are they not universal in nature?)
You figure it out, you put in the amount, and then you pump and stand there.
And continue to stand. And stand some more, peering at the dial as it slowly wends it way toward your total in an excruciatingly sluggish manner. The 10ths tick off, the wind has picked up even more, and by now you are absolutely chilled to the bone.
Finally, the pump stops but, before taking out the nozzle (and maybe this is just a guy thing…) do you give it an extra shake or two, getting every last drip out of it before replacing it?
The duty done, you replace the cap, return to the relative warmth of your car, and continue along your journey, trembling at the lingering effects of winter’s grip upon your bones, and cursing the fact those last few cents of gas seemingly took forever to finish. (Painting above: “Gas”, by Edward Hopper, 1940.)
Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.