It’s the Boy Scout motto, but it pays for Girl Scouts to be prepared too.
These days I’m driving around with a flag flapping from my passenger side window with a picture of a giant cookie. It says, “Cookies Are Here!!!!”
When I was pregnant with Eva I read in a book that once you have a baby you need to always fill up your gas tank when it gets to half full/empty. Bah! That’s for wimps. Here in Temecula there’s glorious weather 360 days of the year and there’s a gas station on every corner. No biggie, right?
The other morning as I drove the girls to school I noticed that my tank was low. In the interest of full disclosure I will say that the “Please refuel” sign came on the moment I turned the car on.
I got Eva to school no problem. Got Jane most of the way to school when I glanced at the dash and saw that according to the magic genie who lives under my car’s dashboard, I had about 2 miles left to go.
I managed to get her through the drop-off line. My Girl Scout troop co-leader waved me over to talk cookie business. I started talking then realized I’d better not waste any more gas! Gotta go!
I headed through an industrial part of town. Day laborers stood on the corners ready to work. I should mention also in the interest of full disclosure that I was in pajamas (with my crafty disguise of sweatshirt worn over the top.) Also I was wearing slippers. Also, it was one of the 360 days a year when the weather is not glorious in Temecula and in fact it was lightly sprinkling.
I had a feeling of deja vu because this JUST happened to me five days ago. As I rolled (powered mostly by fumes) into a gas station last week I saw a guy trudging dispiritedly in with a gas can. And I don’t even own a gas can! I’m sure if you just show up in your pajamas and slippers looking for a gas can they gouge up the price basically because they’ve got you. What are you going to do? Not buy the gas can?
But anyway, I learned nothing from that experience and once again was optimistically rolling on fumes toward the gas station. I figured maybe if I ran out of gas along this industrial stretch one of the day laborers would either (A) push me into the station or (B) walk to the station in the rain for me. But I made it so that was good.
As I was driving in, I remembered why I love buying 99% of my gas at Costco. For some weird reason I find two driving situations very stressful: picking people up or dropping them off at the airport, and filling up with gas. The most stressful part of gassing up is figuring out which way to drive in to the station. Most stations have two or even three entrances. At Costco, there are huge arrows on the pavement telling you exactly which way to go. Everywhere else? Chaos.
So this particular station was the usual 50-50 split of some people pointing one way, some people pointing the other. As I spotted and began cruising into an open space, a woman in a Lexus sped in super fast. She waved at me with some type of angry gesture that wasn’t flipping me off but wasn’t a friendly “My bad” or “Oops” either.
Then, she literally shook her fist at me. Yes, shook her fist, like a cartoon character. I rallied and backed into a different space, but she continued to shoot me dirty looks as she uncapped her gas tank.
As I realized I was going to have to pump gas in my pajamas and slippers in the rain in front of this fist-shaking woman in a Lexus (who was dressed very professionally with full makeup and styled hair) I noticed that at the next pump was my friend’s husband.
I actually considered whether I could back out or maneuver forward to go to a different gas station but the under-the-hood Honda genie was telling me my driving range was 0 miles.
I sucked it up and just got out and began pumping gas while simultaneously avoiding eye contact with the fist-shaking Lexus woman and chatting with my friend’s husband.
“Don’t you love your Prius?” “How are the kids?” “How’s your new business?”
Finally I said, “I’ll just say it. I’m obviously in my pajamas and slippers.”
He was good with it though and then another customer even saw my Girl Scout “Cookies Are Here!” flag flapping and bought a box of Thin Mints. I didn’t have change (of course not; do I sound like I’d have change under these circumstances?) and he donated his extra $1 to icare. So that was good.
When it was time to leave, the fist shaking woman would not close her driver side door so I couldn’t get by. I was literally trapped and when I said (nicely, kindly, and extremely humble-ly since it’s hard not to be when you’re out in public in pajamas and wet slippers), “Pardon me, could you please shut your door so I can drive through?” she IGNORED me (!!!!????) the guy who bought the cookies walked over, leaned down, said something (?) to her and she quickly shut the door!