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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
30 Rock


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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Who's Gonna Drive You Home Tonight?

Yesterday when I got into my car I saw the gas tank was at about the halfway mark. Ever since I can remember I've had it beaten into my head that is better to have a gas tank closer to full than empty, not unlike your stomach. Knowing this, I made a mental note to get gas on the way home as I didn't want to stop right then.

While driving on the highway I noticed the price of the gas stations along the way. The first one I saw, an Exxon, had regular gas for $2.59. A month ago that would have been highway robbery. A few weeks ago it would be, to borrow a phrase from American Idol judge Randy Jackson, aight.This week, however, it's some kind of wonderful.

I'll admit it. Since I haven't been working, I don't always leave my house every single day and even when I do leave, I don't always drive along a road where I pass many gas stations. Unfortunately for me, not only do I not get out, I also, apparently must live under a rock considering I had no idea Katrina and her waves were responsible for all of this. So imagine my surprise when less than a mile away there was another gas station, for about 20 cents more than the first one.

And it only got worse from there. As I drove along the prices, if not comparable, were going higher and higher. I think I blinked and saw them change before my eyes. No whammies. No whammies. No whammies. STOP! I felt like someone had misplaced the regular gas stations with auctions, serving gas only to the highest bidder. $2.71? Do I hear $2.88? 2.88? Do I hear $2.90...$2.90...SOLD to the idiot with the Hummer!

Considering $2.59 was clearly the best deal in town, I journeyed the somewhat long way home to get gas on the way back. As I pulled into the station though, I realized everyone else had the same idea.

Now I know all you naysayers have a grand ol' time making fun of Jersey, but I will tell you one great thing about the garden state: in Jersey we still don't have to pump our own gas, so there. But as I journeyed around for a free pump, I eventually realized I was going to have to (gasp) get in line and wait to get gas.

I've grown quite accustomed to waiting on line for tons of things. I go to Target, I wait on line. When I had to register for college classes, I waited on line. Even when doing something unpleasant like renewing your license, you wait and you wait and and you wait some more. But this waiting to buy...gas? This was the sort of thing I had only heard about when the elders would tell there "back in my day" stories. Suddenly I was one of them. I even shudder to think about it.

As I was waiting I popped the tank and shut off the motor. That was when the gas attendant came up to me and said "I see that you're waiting and just so you know we don't have any regular or plus...only super."

And visions of buying gas for $2.59 suddenly danced...right out of my head.

At this point I was down, but not out. I decided to go to another gas station a few miles away. When I get there the price was $2.71. At this point I feel defeated and deflated because inflation, not unlike Britney Spears, was saying, oops I did it again. I tried to cheer myself up. $2.71 ain't so bad. I've seen far worse in my travels. And then the man soon to be billed as gas attendant #2 in the story of my life breaks the bad news, in bad English I might add. "No regular."

Now I was pissed. Not only am I pissed, I'm a bit paranoid. I knew I shouldn't have watched The Day After Tomorrow the other day. I mean the title alone speaks volumes. Those apocalyptic type films about armageddon and the end of the world really mess with a girl's head. Suddenly I had the ominous movie trailer words In a world...pop into my head, along with images of Dennis Quaid and Morgan Freeman personally delivering gas to my town.

At this point I just wanted gas on principle. So I went to the last two gas stations within a five mile radius. Here came the tricky part. If I went with door #2, the gas station further on down the road that I usually went to, I risked the price being higher and having to make a uturn. But if I had gone with door #1, and then saw door #2 was indeed lower, I'd be kicking myself for not knowing.

I couldn't take the torture any longer. I pulled into the first gas station rationalizing that they very well might be out of gas anyway and the decision would be made for me. That's when I saw the price, $2.99. As soon as I saw this I knew the awful, awful truth. They were going to have gas my friends, and lots of it.

When gas attendant #3 approached my window, I got smart. Instead of just asking for gas, I asked if they HAD gas. The man looked at me like I was crazy. I think he was thinking this IS a gas station lady, but if he was, he held it all inside, sort've. So begrudingly, I told him to fill er' up.

As I finally made the long drive of shame home I passed that last gas station. I held my breath as I came closer and closer to the sign. When I got there I finally saw the numbers...$3.09. Ha! Ha! Suckers!

But of course what post is complete without a dash of irony? I got my gas alright, and for a relatively cheap price. However I had to drive around, using precious gas to get...gas.

Now I just feel empty... inside.



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