Wednesday 31 July 2013

That Time I Pumped Gas...

On my way to an out of town meeting, I realized I needed gas. The full service gas station near my work was closed because they ran out of gas. I could drive 20 minutes out of my way to the full service gas station by my apartment and pray that no one else would be there and that construction wouldn't make me too late for my meeting. 

Or I could keep driving and stop at one of the self serve stations on my way to my meeting. 
I've never pumped gas before. People have told me it was easy and showed me how to do it-I was half paying attention-but have never done it myself.

At the (self serve) gas station...I got out of my car and told myself "You can do this", attempting to pump my own gas for the first time, without help and unsupervised. This was going to be an adventure.

I opened the door for the gas tank without incident. Good start. Next step, taking the gas cap off. I turned the cap...and turned it again...and again...and again. That thing just kept turning but didn't come off. I started to pull on the cap...and pull and pull. Nothing. I tried turning and pulling at the same time...that didn't work either.

It was at this time I thought about getting into my car and driving far, far a full service station across town. I was already half an hour behind schedule, had an hour and half until my meeting and an almost two hour drive ahead of me. I didn't have time to drive across town. Plus there were a bunch of people around and I thought it would be awkward if I just got in my car and drove away.

So, I brought my attention back to getting that gas cap off. I turned and still nothing. Then I had the brilliant idea of trying to turn the cap in the opposite direction- it worked!

Next step, getting the gas pump to work. This I could do, it's just pushing a button. I pushed the button on the pump, nothing happened. I pushed again, still nothing. I pressed harder, nothing. I thought about asking for help. I looked around and all the people who had previously been there had left. I was alone. I started pushing the button over and over and over, in different spots, in hopes of hitting the right spot and getting the gas pump to turn on. Nothing.

I noticed the 'Help' button and seriously thought about pushing it. I looked at the 'help' button long and hard...but I decided against it.  I COULD do this. I pushed the gas button some more hoping that the pump would magically turn on. No such luck.  I took a deep breath and I lifted the nozzle... Lights went on- Literally! The button I was trying to press before lit up. I could now push buttons and things would happen.

After selecting the gas I wanted, I put the nozzle in my tank and pressed on the handle. I recalled the advice a fellow Brock Alumni had told me "just keep holding the handle down, it'll automatically stop when your tank is full." I followed her advice. Finally, something was working on the first try for me!

When my tank was full and the pump stopped, I left go of the handle and started to take the nozzle out of my tank. I again recalled Brock Alumni advice- remove the nozzle in an upward motion, being careful not to spill any gas.  Sadly, I remembered this advice too late, as I spilled a little bit of gas just below the hole for the gas nozzle, gas pooling in this spot, and dripping some down the side of my car. I prayed that no one would light a flame near my car.

Without further incident, I replaced the nozzle on the pump, replaced my gas cap and closed the door. All I had to do was go in and pay. This should be a breeze. But it's me, so it wasn't.

The guy working asked me what pump I was at. Ummm...I don't know? I looked out the window to where my car was, frantically searching for a number by my car. Of course, I couldn't see one. Then he asked me if I had put $31.22 into my tank. Again, ummm...I don't know? I didn't bother looking at the pump for a total price, I was in such a rush to leave this challenge of pumping gas behind me!

What's a girl to do? Lamely turn to the window, point and say "my car's the black one over there." I paid and went on my slightly traumatized way- proud of myself for pumping gas by myself, frazzled that it was such an ordeal and silently cursing all of those people who told me pumping gas was easy.

For the record, I was at pump 7, I did put $31.22 in my tank and I have not gone back to a self-serve gas station since.


  1. Hahaha well congrats, you did it! I've never even been to a full service station, they just don't have them here. I've pumped my own gas since I was 16! I had no clue there were places that still even had full service stations :)

  2. Pumping gas is tricky business! I now make my husband do it because I am such a disaster. I once spilled gas all over myself (literally from my shoulders to my feet) and then had to go inside and pay stinking of gasoline. Another time I accidentally stole gas (my gift card didnt work at the pump, but it let me get gas anyways) and the police were out looking for me! So yeah, I get this :)

  3. Am kind of amazed/impressed that you had never pumped gas before...are you really Oprah?! ;) I was just complaining to my hubby the other day about how much I miss full-service gas stations. Stopping by from the SITS Sharefest on Twitter! :)-Ashley

  4. I share your pain! I know how to pump my own gas, but I always feel like such a dork when I do takes me ten times longer than any normal human being should take to do such an easy task. I just let my hubby do it for me ;)