A Warm and Sunny Day
By Queen D. Michele
During the time I was researching and trying to decide if I wanted to drive my car into Mexico, an incident occurred which made the thought of not having a car, paying for insurance, and driving become very appealing to me. It was a warm sunny day, and I had an appointment cross town. As I entered the garage, I noticed my front right tire was low again. I made a mental note that there was definitely a slow leak in that tire, and I was going to have to stop band-aiding it by filling it with air every few days.
Pulling out my driveway, I looked down at the gas gage and noticed I was just at a fourth of a tank. I needed to fill up. No problem, I’d stop at the gas station right before hitting the freeway. I pulled up to pump 1 and proceeded into the gas station where I asked for 20 dollars on # one and asked the cashier for change for a dollar, explaining I needed to put air in my tire. She obliged and I walked out, got into my car and drove over to the air pump. After putting an adequate amount of air, I knew because I used a gauge, in my tire I got back in my car and drove off.
While driving down the freeway to my appointment I looked down at my gas gauge and noticed it was still on a fourth of a tank. Damn! Replaying the whole scene in my mind I realized that I never pumped my gas! I must have been so focused on putting air in my tire I completely blanked out on pumping my gas. Oh well, I was too far down the freeway and closer to my appointment to come up and go back down. I reasoned that I had enough gas to get to the appointment and return to the gas station afterwards to rectify the situation. I forged ahead. Thankfully, the appointment was an in and out deal and I was back on the freeway heading back to the gas station within an hour. It was still a warm and sunny day as I pulled back in to the gas station, and coincidentally pump # one was open. I pulled up to it, got out and remember thinking as I put the pump inside the tank that I should have done it this way in the first place, that way I wouldn’t have forgotten to pump. I walked back into the station where the same cashier was tending to another customer. When my turn came, I stepped up and explained how silly I felt but when I paid for my gas, I drove off and never pumped it. She looked at me indifferently and said that there was nothing she could do about that. Surely, she hadn’t quite understood what I said, so I again explained that it had only been less than two hours since I was there. I was the one who asked for change to put air in my tire. I had given her a twenty-dollar bill and a dollar in exchange for four quarters. She then said, “that’s not my problem, people can say anything, and you don’t have any proof that you didn’t pump the gas.”
Now, I’m blown away and my voice is raised as I say to her the proof is in my %$#% empty tank. I try and reason with her that why would I come back and try to get twenty more dollars’ worth of gas that my tank couldn’t hold in the first place. I wanted the gas that I paid for! And you know I paid for it, I say.
As we are going back and forth a gentleman behind raises his voice and says, “Man, you know this lady paid for her gas quit trippin and give me ten on # seven” as he reaches over me to drop a ten-dollar bill through the slot. She takes his money and looks at me like, “and, this conversation is over.” At this point I am totally livid and thoroughly outdone. I started looking around the gas station with the thought, oh you’re gonna give me twenty dollars’ worth of something. There were stacks of t-shirts for sale under the large counter sitting in bins. Without thinking any further I picked up as many of the t-shirts as I could hold, smirked at the cashier and briskly walked five steps out the door. The cashier pushed a button as she stood behind the thick plexiglass protection barrier, and locked me in. I turned to her and demanded she open the door. She picked up the phone and said she was calling the police.
I walked over, dropped the t-shirts back in the bin, and said, “and tell them what?” “I was gonna steal?” Defeated, I walked back to the door, rattled it and again demanded that she open the door. She ignored me, while holding the phone to her ear. In a split second I heard the door click as if to open, I spotted a huge incense display sitting on a counter right at the edge of the door (I happen to love incense and burn it daily).
In a snap second decision I snatched up the display with both hands and bolted out the door. The guy who was in line behind me was pumping his gas, and immediately summarized what had just happen, he looked at me and said, “Oh! You better hurry up.” The adrenaline coursing through my veins in that moment was something I had never experienced, I had never done anything like that in my life.
I opened my car door, tossed the display in the passenger seat, started the car and shot out of the gas station like a bat out of hell. In that instant I thought I heard a thump of some sort but with the adrenaline on full blast I discarded the thought as soon as it appeared as my tires burned rubber onto the street. I was one exit up from my home, so I dashed onto the freeway breathing heavy as if I had run a hundred-yard dash.
A car pulled up alongside of me on the freeway and when I looked over he was motioning towards the back of my car, I thought and mouthed to him oh, the gas cap (thinking it was open) he shook his head vigorously. I looked through my side mirror back at the tank and discovered I was dragging the entire gas pump down the freeway!
That thump I heard was the pump being snatched out its station. I flashed back to putting the pump in my tank before I had walked back into the station to claim my twenty dollars’ worth of gas, assuming that there would be no problem.
Boy, was I wrong as I watched in horror the sparks popping off the pump being dragged by my car! I came up on my exit, pulled over and quickly pulled the pump out from my tank and threw it over in the grass on the off ramp. I shook my head, got back in my car and drove home. I backed into my garage, let the door down, took a few deep breathes and the incense display invaded my nostrils. I looked down at the gas gauge which was just about on empty now, cut the car off, picked up my display of incense and went in the house.
Throughout the rest of that warm and sunny day, I retold the story to family and friends who thought that was one of the funniest stories they’d heard. There was teasing, laughing, the asking for boxes of incense, and little concern for police involvement. I definitely never returned to that gas station during the rest of my stay, before I moved to Mexico. I’m currently two months away from my one-year anniversary here, and as I write this, I’m burning the incense that was my retribution to not receiving the twenty dollars’ worth of gas on that warm and sunny day.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com