Monday, January 14, 2013

Have a Good Day!

I drove the section of the 401 that I used to take back and forth to university over the holidays, and although I drive that section often, I think because it was Christmas time, it made me a little bit nostalgic.  I was thinking about my family, and about how quickly time passes as you get older, and a fun little memory popped into my head.

One winter - probably around 1995 - my brother and I were driving home to our parents' house.  At least I am fairly certain Marcus was there with me.  If he wasn't, he'll at least be proud and pleased to know that I think he would be the perfect passenger to have there with me - a perfect blend of "let's keep Kirsten from freaking out" and "let's mock Kirsten mercilessly until she can laugh about this".  My sister's good at that too, but where my brother excels at supporting/mocking siblings in the confines of a car, my sister's canvas of choice is the complete darkness of a hotel room at 2am on a girls' overnight trip after an evening of fancy drinks at East Side Mario's.  

Ok...where was I?  Oh yes... it was a winter's day in 1995, and my brother and I were driving to our parents' house.  It was a sunny day - a sparkle was on the snowy fields, and my brother and I were carefree and listening to music and and enjoying the ride.

As was often the case, my gas tank was almost empty, so we pulled into a gas station to fill up.  Full Serve!!!  Yes!  Do you ever notice how there are hardly any full serve gas stations around any more?  Growing up, all of the gas stations in my small home town were full serve.  There was something fun about going to fill up with gas with my parents as a kid.  In small towns, everyone knows everyone, and I loved listening to my dad chat with my friend Christa's dad at the Petro Canada.  My dad would say, "Filler up!" and Bob would put the nozzle in the tank and then clean our windows and catch up with dad about the goings on in town.  As I got older and had to buy my own gas, it was fun to see the look on Christa's dad's face and hear him laugh when I would ask for $2.00 worth of gas - budgeting was never my strength.  Or there was the time when we went to go pick up one of the McKeon girls, and my mom honked the horn when we pulled up outside of her house and the horn sound stuck - it just kept on honking and honking and honking!  One loud, long embarassing honk!  Thankfully, all it took was what felt like an excruciatingly long and scenic drive through our town (scenic in that we got to admire all the people who were stopping and staring at us as we drove by) to the gas station, where Bob rescued us, made a few jokes and then cut the line to the horn.  Now THAT is full service - knowing you'll always be greeted with a smile.

I think it was at full service stations that I also developed my widely acknowledged intolerance for streaks.  There are few things that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up more than watching someone wash the windshield with a squeegie and seeing a little line of washer fluid left behind.  I am itchy even thinking about it!  Ken used to drive me crazy by purposely leaving a line of fluid on the windshield and then just smiling mischievously at me through the glass - triumphant.  :-)  I have to get out of the car and fix it, or I just can't go on.  For the record, teachers wiping off the chalkboard and leaving a little bit of writing showing would also make me crazy.  The WORST, though, is hearing people say "Feb-yoo-ary" instead of "Feb-roo-ary".  That makes me want to scream.  It's the reason I can't listen to the Killers anymore.  

I'm off on a tangent again.

So, my brother and I pulled into the station, and the attendant came up to the window.  Feeling happy and nostalgic, I chipperly said, "Filler up with regular, please!"  Marcus and I chatted away as the attendant washed the windows and filled the tank.  I am certain he must have done a good job, because if he hadn't, I would have got out of the car and fixed it, and what happened next could have been prevented.

Once the attendant was finished, he came back to the window and gave me my total.  I gave him my credit card, he ran the card and gave it back to me.  I signed it, handed it back to him, he tore off the receipt for me, handed it to me and said, "Thank you, ma'am.  Have a good day!"  I said, "Thanks!  You too!" and we waved goodbye, and I started the car, put it in drive and pulled away.

As I was pulling away, I happened to look in the rear view mirror, and this was what I saw:

Three completely panicked gas station attendants chasing my car and waving at me frantically.

So, I of course stopped the car and rolled down my window.  The attendants were all trying to explain to me that I had driven away with the hose.  I wasn't computing what they were trying to tell me, so I got out of the car, and to my surprise, I looked and saw that I had, in fact, driven away with the hose.  The nozzle was still resting comfortably in the opening to my gas tank, and the hose was trailed out behind it for about 10 feet!  I guess the guy had forgotten to remove the nozzle from the gas tank, but to be honest, if they hadn't noticed, I don't think I would have noticed either!  I'd have to check with my brother, but I don't even recall feeling anything different in the car as we drove away.  I can only imagine how hilarious that would have been - being pulled over by the police a few kilometres down the highway and rolling down my window to say, "What seems to be the problem, officer?"

Anyway, the staff at the gas station simply retrieved their nozzle and hose, and sent us on our way.  This makes me wonder whether the little stunt I had just pulled was an all too common occurence!  Nevertheless, you can only imagine the car ride home after that!  We must have laughed until our stomachs hurt. And then we got to tell Mom and Dad!  LOL

I am - now that I have put 15+ years between me and that day - happy to report that although I miss the days of full service, since the advent of self-serve stations I have not once ripped out another gas hose and nozzle that I am aware of.  Yay me!


  1. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Thanks Bob Crawford & all the full service guys that used to look after us so well.

  2. I love your stories.

    Personally, I don't put gas in the car. I leave that to Steve. It's his job.

    If I run out of gas I'm sure there will be a Tim's nearby where I can sip coffee, wait for CAA truck to arrive and listen to Steve gripe to me on the cell phone that the TOLD me the car was almost empty and I need to go to the gas station.

    Maybe that's why he just purchased a jerry-can.

  3. Oh Monica - that is soooo funny. LOL