Posts tagged with "washington" - Faerye Net 2004-07-27T16:31:31+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Washington vs. Oregon 2004-07-27T16:31:31+00:00 2010-08-03T11:39:19+00:00 <p>So I went up, as mentioned, to visit my sister in Seattle for Scrapstravaganza 2004. I left my cooking hometown with a tank of gas near-full, and labored through the sweltering heat to reach Seattle with a quarter of a tank remaining. I lent my car to my sister a couple of times, which no doubt left her with a strange feeling of disorientation, as my car is identical to hers save for its exterior color and current state of tidiness (I can&#8217;t take full credit for the tidiness. Or the color, really.)</p> <p>So it was that when, laden with scrapped pages, extraneous kitchen tools, many candle holders and a white feather boa, I sought to coax the thread of my journey from the great knot of Seattle&#8217;s byways, I found the open road only to find also a sadly diminished gas tank. Having already passed out of Seattle&#8217;s tentacular mass and not yet entered the aroma of Tacoma, I worried for some time before finding an exit with two gas stations on the sign&#8212;an exit for &#8216;Kent&#8217;, Washington. Seeing no reason to clog further a right lane already full of vehicles, I took the left exit lane &#8212; only to discover the clogged lane, stretching from I-5 right up to the intersection, offered my only chance of turning towards the gas stations.</p><p>Faced with the option of either zigging across two lanes to try to cram into a bumper-to-bumper turn lane or sedately turning left and finding a place to turn around, I turned left. Immediately, a concrete bumper arose between me and the left. No left turns. No right turns, either. The road stretched out before me, bending coyly behind a hill, only to reveal more and more divided highway, without exit or turn.</p> <p>I turned off my P.G. Wodehouse audiotape, and concentrated on the road. I turned off the A/C to save gas, and, incidentally, to increase the dramatic tension. The divided highway swooped triumphantly up to an intersection and there, sweetly glaring in the summer sun, was a sign: &#8216;&larr; Arco, 1/2 mile.&#8217; I sang out some ridiculous Wodehousian exclamation, and turned left. An idyllic green park and a small bridge later, I pulled into an Arco, cleverly remembering on which side the Japanese had placed the gas tank.</p> <p>La dee da. I&#8217;ll be able to listen to my tape some more while I&#8217;m filling up! La dee da&#8230;where are the people? <span class="caps">AND</span> <span class="caps">WHY</span> IS <span class="caps">THAT</span> <span class="caps">GUY</span> <span class="caps">FILLING</span> UP <span class="caps">HIS</span> <span class="caps">OWN</span>&#8212;oh. Right. In Washington, you must pump your own gas.</p> <p>Trying to recall the miserable day when I drove my muscle-cramped, norovirus-ridden body from Seattle last, and stopped somewhere to gas up my car while maintaining the body-optimum 90-degree waist bend, I failed to gain insight into the pump that confronted me. The reason was simple&#8212;that day, my only other experience with pumping my own gas, I had been at a large, modern gas station. This pump seemed to be a clean and shining antique. Gone were the <span class="caps">LCD</span> screen and buttons I remembered. Yet more ominously, gone was the friendly instruction sticker, though its absence as yet struck no chord in my brain.</p> <p>I pay at the island and return to my pump. I pull the nozzle from its holder. I pull it towards my car. <strong>whhhhhhrrrrr</strong> says the little zip cord stretching to allow the nozzle to reach. I frown. If I remember correctly, you are supposed to be able to fix the nozzle into the tank opening and have it sit there securely. This rubber-band tension avails me not. So, I start up my car and back it up, closer to the nozzle. I get out and try it again. Now the nozzle fits without any extending clothesline, but there is a collapsing-accordion deal on the nozzle which ensures that I will be pushing very hard the entire time I fuel up to make sure the nozzle doesn&#8217;t fly out of the opening and fuel <em>down</em> the side of my car. I press it in, grit my teeth, and pull the trigger.</p> <p>Nothing. I try again. Nothing. I pull harder. Nothing. I eye the pump curiously as I squeeze. The pump has a nice, static&#8230;$15.00???</p> <p>Fuming at my own incompetence, I locked my car and walked timidly into the minimart. &#8216;Umm, could I get some help at pump #10,&quot; quoth I, &quot;I&#8217;m from Oregon, and I&#8217;ve only done this once before&#8230;&quot; To my relief, the forbidding man behind the counter summoned a female henchperson to help me, and this matter-of-fact woman walked right up, plunked the nozzle in the gas-port, <em>twiddled the little switch in the nozzle-rest</em>, and set the gas pumping. (In my defense, please recall there were no instructions! Anywhere! Just a tiny little metal switch, easy to forget!) Of course, the moment <em>I</em> touched the damnable thing, it stopped the flow of gas, so, whilst I stood around feeling like a backwards child, she good-naturedly filled the tank for me.</p> <p>I drove away feeling a little humiliated, a little relieved, and a little confused. Are handicapped people supposed to somehow pump their own gas? Little old people with arthritis? Don&#8217;t idiots smoke while doing this and send the whole place up in a fireball? The whole thing confuses me mightily. Though not as much as the Oregon state senators who want to make <em>our</em> state a self-pumping state in the middle of an unemployment crisis&#8230;</p>