On Getting Used to Pumping My Own Gas

I went nearly a whole year without pumping my own gas. Oregon is one of the remaining states that requires a gas station employ do the dirty work, so for nearly a year, it was as simple as pulling up to the pump and giving someone my debit card.

Moving back, I’ve had to reacclimate myself to gas stations and pumping my own gas.

We all have that one gas station we go to the most. I’m still trying to find mine here, but I’ve been hitting a Super America on the way to work, mostly because it makes me feel patriotic. Also, I like how their name is spelled correctly. I’ve never understood why KwikTrip can’t be QuickTrip or Kum ‘n’ Go can’t be Come ‘n’ Go. I feel these misspelled names only perpetuate negative stereotypes regarding gas station employees.

The Super America has televisions set up atop each of the pumps to either a) catch people up on last night’s MLB highlights or b) to distract people from realizing they’re filling their tank when they only intended to buy $10 worth. The TVs work just fine, but the intercom does not. Just yesterday, I tried swiping my debit card several times as a voice crackled from the intercom: “:LKJSDFL:KJADKF PUMP 3 L:JKSDF:LKJ PUMP 3! PUMP 3!” Of course, the pump I was at — with no type of signage indicating the designation — was prepay only. My bad.

I’ve always had an issue with the different fuel options at each gas station. I always go for the cheapest fuel, because I’m cheap and my car doesn’t know any better. It seems laughable there’s different tiers of gasoline, considering each fulfills the same purpose. What’s the deal on the top-tier fuel? No high-fructose corn syrup? Gluten free?

When I started driving in 2000, gas was $.89 a gallon. More importantly, soda was a penny per ounce. (P.P.O., we called it.) You could buy a silo of Cherry Coke for $3. Now, gas stations try to get you with the buy-two specials. Buy one 32 oz. Gatorade, it’s $1.99. Buy two 32 oz. Gatorades, it’s $2.49. The problem is you’ve then got 64 oz. of Gatorade and you’re not an Olympic sprinter. It’s hard walking around with that much Gatorade without looking like an asshole.

You know what else makes you look like an asshole? Being a 25-year-old male who doesn’t know how to pump his own fuel.

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