Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Words that Almost Got my Face Slapped....

When I was about 15 years old, self-serve gas stations had just begun cropping up everywhere. If you are so young that you didn't know that most gas stations used to have an attendant who actually pumped the gas into your car FOR you, please shut up.

Gas was cheaper if you pumped it yourself, and because my mother had been a single mom most of her adult life and always had to scrimp and save every penny, she was all about saving however many cents off every gallon of gas.

She always had ME pump the gas, though, and I desperately H.A.T.E.D. that chore. I guess I felt like it wasn't fair to have to pump gas when I wasn't old enough to drive.

One of the last stations around town that still pumped gas for you and had reasonable prices was the Hess station. I always hoped and prayed she would go there so I wouldn't have to pump the gas. I don't really know what I hated about it; I just did. I got over it at some point in my life, because I don't mind so much anymore. Except for this past summer, when it cost $84 to fill up my SUV.

One day we were headed home from I don't know where and Mom said she was going to stop at the convenience store and "let" me pump gas for her.


If you put gas into her car, not only did you have to pump it (and go inside and pay for it), but you also had to write in her little book the date, the odometer reading, how many miles were on that tank of gas (which you had to subtract because it was before many cars had trip odometers on them), and figure the miles per gallon. She still keeps one of those little books in her car to this day. I refuse to write the information in it.

Anyway, back to the story at hand.

On that day, just like any other day, I didn't WANT to pump the damn gas. I didn't see the need to subject me to that misery just to save a few cents when there was a perfectly good full-service station RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET.

When she said she was going to the convenience store, I said (no, I whined), "Mama, just go to Hess!"

You'd have to know Mom to realize the enormity of that statement. She had a mean backhand, and I almost felt the wrath of it before the final hiss of the s's got out of my mouth. There was a moment's stunned silence as she thought about what she THOUGHT I had been about to say, and then we both became hysterical, as only the women in our family can.

"Go to Hess" became one of our catch phrases. It can still make her laugh to this day.

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