Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Embarrassed to Be Me
So today I needed to fill the tank in the little white van for the first time.
(By the way, the little white van is a very nice Toyota and we are eternally thankful to John and Deanne who win extra points in heaven by loaning their vehicle to missionaries who loiter around LA looking helpless!)
Anyway, I had to fill it up today because the little light that looks like a petrol pump was glowing at me.
First of all, the petrol station that I used to go to is no longer there. So I meandered here and there, tired after-school-kids in tow, until I found pumps. I pulled in part of the way and, after craning to see which side of the car the tank is on and then getting out to look, finally noticed that there is a clever note right on the dash that says Fuel Tank with a left pointing arrow next to it. So handy! The Toyota people were thinking of me when they included that. Only they must have been thinking of someone more clever than I am because I didn't actually see their nice note until after I had climbed out of the car and located the tank myself.
Anyway, I was then fully stopped in my tracks by the mysterious missing lever that opens before-mentioned tank door. That's not the right name. What do you call that little door that covers the opening to the tank? We call the lid a gas cap. But what is the door called? And what is the name of the thing the gas cap is covering? It's not really the tank. The tank is under the car...
Oh never mind.
Anyway, I spent a full 4 minutes searching all over the dash and in the immediate area for the lever. I got Colin to come help me look. He's the one who spotted it. It was in a very different location that the one in my old Mitsubishi and my older still Peugeot didn't have one at all. So he spotted something with a petrol pump on it and we were saved.
Or so I thought. Now I stood staring at the actual pump. I knew I was supposed to do something with my credit card. I finally worked out to swipe it through, enter my postal code, and begin. But I was still moving slowly. The note inside the un-named door to place where you fill the tank said "Unleaded only." That's fine except none of the options on the pump stated whether they were leaded or unleaded. The last of the four options said Diesel and I wished I was in Portugal where I know diesel is what I want.
There was a slightly odd looking woman standing not far away and I wasn't altogether sure she was in possession of all her faculties, but I asked her if she happened to know which pump was unleaded. She walked over and read the labels to me and announced what I already knew, that there was Regular, Plus and Premium. But no, she didn't know anything about unleaded. I had a sneaking suspicion by now that they are all unleaded, but I was afraid of making a mistake. I have been with Byron when we got the wrong fuel in Kenya, or maybe it was fuel that was mixed with water, and I remember it was a terrible pain in the rump draining the tank and getting things cleared out.
Sigh. I swallowed my badly diminished pride and walked over to a nice looking man who was pretty cute and pretty close to my age, and just let myself look like a complete idiot. "Which one is unleaded?" I asked, resisting the urge to explain that I'm not always this stupid but I have just come in from Europe and I haven't been at a fuel station in the U.S. for a long time. He told me they were all unleaded but as I walked away he said "Don't use the diesel!" Oh pain in my heart! He really must have thought I was unbelievably incompetent.
So finally, victory! We got the tank filled and even remembered to push the little button on the pump that said "Yes" so that I could get a receipt. Heaven help me if I show up to Byron without my receipts!
I made it home, deeply shamed by my inability to look cool at the pump and longing for a cup of tea to soothe my pride. Sue was just leaving as I pulled up. She was dropping off an email that she had not been able to work out how to forward on to me.
Well! At least I know how to do THAT!