Time at the Petrol Bowser

The humble Kalanchoe

The humble Kalanchoe

We all have to do this. Fill up the car’s fuel tank at the petrol station. With the price of oil dropping by about twenty percent we would expect a similar drop in petrol. Not so, it has dropped, but not by as much as the Brent Crude oil price. It figures. The companies have to make up for the lower price by holding onto the higher price paid at the bowser for their dear life or dear profit. ‘Our Dear Brent Crude give us our daily Bollinger Oh la la French Champers;

The oil devout execs must be praying, eyes slanted piously upwards.

I can’t think of anything less inspiring than poking the fuel hose through the inlet opening of the fuel tank. In my car it has a spring loaded cover under which is a black cap with below it a dire warning ‘Diesel.’ It is about as far as my reading goes. Just one word, ‘Diesel’. However on the bowser itself are several items that one can read. ‘Please pay before moving car’ is one sentence, but there is more. Several options and grades of fuels with their different prices to study, but,… there is more, much more still. ‘Spend another five dollars you get another 4c off’ it states frankly but insistently.

Those words include vivid images of an ice cream called ‘Gay-Time’ and a slanting open soft drink bottle. (usually a 600 ml Coke bottle). The slant and the gushing out of the brown liquid is to invoke a kind of latent or hidden thirst in the petrol purchaser, almost imagining the fluid going down the throat and giving the two second joy as a decoy for true happiness. That’s what those images promise, true satisfaction of fake thirst sated and a more happy, happy feeling.

The problem is that once the hose is in the aperture one just has to watch the bowser tick over. This is when an overwhelming ennui takes over. I am desperate for a diversion, any diversion away from the maddening ticking over of the bowser. But I get drawn in each time. It is an addiction. I don’t want to miss out on the exact Fifty dollar amount that I always use as a limit and aim by the cent to achieve this. Don’t ask where this originates from. Perhaps the bombing of Rotterdam or maybe the Kipfler potato.

It is a small ambition, I know, but heaven help me out of this dreadful concentration of such a stupefying event. As I get nearer the fifty dollar mark my concentration reaches fever pitch. I slowly, cent by cent increments crawl towards the forty nine dollars eighty eight cents and then take a breather, surveying the situation calmly, collect my thoughts and try not to look down the floral blouse of the lady next to me, also bending and busy with bowser. I ignore the distraction and bravely continue on till the Fifty dollar is reached, right on the dot. Such triumph!

I walk to the garage and hand over my previously extracted fifty dollar note that I have kept in my closed fist just for that purpose. ‘Receipt?’ ‘No thanks.’ I walk out, relieved it is over.

And that’s that. More me, me.


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19 Responses to “Time at the Petrol Bowser”

  1. Red Hen Says:

    Ah, but your me me posts are very good. And always describe something your reader can identify with so that they too, can have their me me moments.

    I am even intrigued enough to want to figure why on earth I too suffer so at the petrol pump. It can’t be some latent war memory, since I am way too young to remember it. So, by a process of elimination, it just has to be potatoes that trigger this.

    Maybe it would be worth swearing off the spuds to test this theory?


  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    Glad you too have ‘me,me’ moments. We deserve some ‘me’ otherwise we end up lost in the whirlpool of nothingness. The potato is much revered in this family, boiled, baked, fried and all other combinations. How’s the running going? I envy your vigour and youthfulness.


  3. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    How true Gerard. More of those moments than we care to divulge. Otherwise we might seem to hae too much time on our hands.


  4. M-R Says:

    You’re getting good at this ‘ordinary life’ stuff, eh, Gerard ? 😀


  5. Andrew Says:

    We are denied such simple pleasures. No self service here. But no price reductions either. I simply say unleaded, fill it up – but only on discount days. A dollar eighty per litre discount is a hundred bucks on a tank full. Now that’s worth concentrating on, Gerard.


  6. Master of Something Yet Says:

    As prices go up, it’s getting harder to hit that exact rounded dollar amount. On more than one occasion lately, I have just nudged over to the $0.01 on top of the perfect $50.00 (or whatever – I don’t want to tell you about the day I went into three figures pre-decimal-point….). And yet I have a fuel card that doesn’t care if I round or… square, I suppose. But the compulsion for a rounded total is hard to shake.
    Loved this piece, Gerard. A well told story of the lowly petrol pump. Can we have the air pressure station next?


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the pressure station is next. It is the very nemesis of existence. The unscrewing of those little caps, then screwing them back on without double threading and ruining them, the very nephridium of the tyre. Having to look at the pressure gauge. It is all so trying and demeaning. Are we dominated by those sort of jobs?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I worry about your Gerard, skipping a lovely peek for a penny. 🙂 –Curt


  8. stuartbramhall Says:

    It’s the same here in New Zealand. Petrol prices have declined very little.


  9. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    I remember a memorable holiday driving through France in which my father decided to test the exact capacity of the Ford Zodiac tank. We ran out of petrol three times in the wilds of southern France in this enterprise, because we had to empty the tank completely before putting in the first drop of petrol. Some people are really weird about petrol!


  10. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Oh well Gerard. We drive and therefore must pay the piper or the penalty.Too bad we can’t go back to the horse and buggy days but then we’s not get very far in a day’s time and the price of keeping a horse would probably cost more than the fuel that we pay for now.

    We have off shore oil wells in the Gulf and so I’m told that is one reason our gas prices tend to be cheaper in Texas than some states. I’m not sure if that is correct or not. Currently the price per gallon for 89% octane is around $3.39-3.59 or so. The prices go up and down for what ever excuse there might be.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Petrol here has dropped a bit but Diesel much less so. The horse and buggy would be better than a car. However, I think that within ten years or so we will be driving electric cars with the advances being made in batteries and solar. I think the markets are already saying that, hence the dumping of oil forcing down prices but more to the point, closing refineries. A win win for environment.


  11. Patti Kuche Says:

    Gerard, be grateful you’re not doing the £50.00 fill up for diesel on a simple Fiat hatchback in the dear old UK!


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