Originally written on April 16, 2007
I wish I had something interesting to talk about here, but I don’t. The week of travel started out with some incredibly bad weather in the North East, and of course, for the first time in a long time my first trip was within the North East.
Getting to Boston on Sunday night was an adventure. Fly out of Boston through DC tonight was even more fun. If you never flown on a plane going into 45-60mph winds, I do suggest you try it someday. It’s worth the price of a ticket.
Not that I want to make it sound like I’m full of complaints this week – not the case at all. I’ve spent some time reconnecting with people lately and having fun with friends. Business has been as crazy as ever, busy and new opportunities cropping up, so that’s always good.
Last week I ran into two relatively humorous situations at gas stations of all places. For some reason, car rental companies want you to return it with a full tank; like gas is expensive or something. Go figure. Anyway, at a gas station just outside the Raleigh Airport I pulled into a pump right behind another vehicle. When I exited my car, I noticed the vehicle in front of me, a new Pirrus Hybrid, was unoccupied, the gas port was open, the cap was dangling and there was gas pouring out of it.
I lit a cigarette and tossed the match…
No! Just kidding. But shortly, a woman came out of the station with an employee following. I couldn’t hear their conversation, but the woman was gesticulating wildly and the man was nodding at her, and then turned and walked away.
The woman, obviously frustrated started grabbing paper towels from the pump and mopping up the gas running down the side of her car. Well, needless to say, curiosity got the better of me so I had to investigate.
I approached the woman and asked what happened.
She said, “The pump clicked off when it hit full, but when I pulled the nozzle out, gas just started pouring out of the car.”
Interesting. Obviously it was over-filled. The pump... screwed her. It happens. Nothing is perfect.
Anyway, the woman was obviously distressed. She explained, “This is my husband’s car. I just don’t know what to do. The gas won’t stop coming out!”
I looked at gas streaming down the side of the car. Quite a sizable puddle had collected on the ground in front of the pump and the gas was flowing on the ground away from the car.
I explained my observation to her, “Well, it over-filled, and judging by where the puddle is collecting the ground isn’t level and the car is tilted, so it’s going to run out until it levels off.”
“But what can I do???” she begged.
I looked her right in the face and said, “Have you considered… putting the cap on? After all, that’s its job. To cap the gas port.”
“But what if it creates too much pressure in there and the car explodes???”
The look on my face at that concern must have told her I now truly believed her to be an idiot.
“The cap is vented. If it wasn’t, you’d vapor lock the gas flow and stall out all the time.”
She looked at me curiously.
“But I’m afraid it will explode,” she said, “and my husband is going to be so angry.”
That was enough for me.
“Put the cap on and drive home. Trust me, it will be fine.”
“But…” she started
“Oh, drive home on electric power then.” (yes, I was being sarcastic.)
I walked away. I had to get to a flight, and really, I think she might still be at the pump debating this.
My next big adventure, (don’t call me Pee-Wee Herman) was at a very, very rural station outside Charlotte. This is a quicker story, but perhaps even funnier.
I pulled into the station, and at the pump in front of me was an unoccupied mini-van. An Olds Silhouette or Pontiac Transport, something along those lines. I had to drive to Charlotte from Atlanta so my car was on fumes when I got there, and despite being in the Home of NASCAR, you can’t dump 20 gallons of fuel in the car in 5 seconds, so I had a good wait in front of me before the tank was topped off.
As I filled up, I saw an older and quite obese woman come walking… sort of… out to the van. I’m not the thinnest person in the world, but when you see someone this large, like passing a train-wreck, you’re almost compelled to watch…
She walked up to her van and started poking at the gas-port door, trying to solve the mystery of “how do you open this thing.” It obviously wasn’t her vehicle. After not being able to figure it out from the outside, she smartly went inside to look for a release latch. She found it and the door popped open. She “walked” back to the gas port and worked on taking off the cap.
She seemed to be struggling a bit with it, as if it were somehow too tight. Then she turned the cap and…
Ok, she’s turning it in the wrong direction.
I can see her physically pressing harder on the cap, putting effort into it… grimacing and grunting.
Common’ lady, how long have you been on this planet?
She muttered something under her breath.
Seriously? Ok, mechanical aptitudes aside… what the hell?
I hung up the nozzle and waited for my receipt.
She looked up at me as I was already walking toward her.
“Can you help me with this? The cap won’t come off.” She called to me.
I stepped along side her van, EASILY spun the cap to the left and hung it on the port door.
“OH GOOD JESUS!!! I was turning it the wrong way????” she exclaimed.
“It’s been lefty-loosy my whole life….” I said as I walked away.
You know the old saying, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people”?
Yeah... people kill me. They really do.