It is approximately 7:00 a.m. on a Friday morning. I am about to embark on a 672* km road trip for a two-day work conference. My car has been carefully packed the day before, the trunk resembling a jigsaw puzzle, with all the gear needed for the conference. The car has been in the garage at least four times in the last few months, getting little bits and pieces repaired/serviced in preparation as I could afford them. Snacks have been packed for the trip to minimize cost and down time. CDs have been chosen (note to self: next time choose less quiet music - too lulling). Travel mug is clean. The only fly in the ointment is that my cell phone has not been charged as I stupidly unplugged the wrong adaptor the night before. No problem, thought I. I can just plug it in in the car.
Proud of myself for actually doing the prep the day before (Queen of Procrastination, thou art me) so that all I have to do is shower and dress, and also proud for getting up and ready in time (Thane of Tardy, you is I) I fair dance down the front stairs to the car.
I hop into the car, arrange the necessary travelling accoutrements on seat next to me, get the cell phone from my purse, pick up the end of the charger cord and plug it in... it doesn't fit. Hmmmm...
Go back into the house, inquire gently of my visiting daughter (the only other person who drives my car) as to the possible wherabouts of my charger. She tells me hers is plugged in and mine is in the glove box. Excellent!
Once again, I dance down the stairs and leap into my waiting vehicle. Open the glove box. Take out the charger, and plug it into my phone and... it doesn't fit.
Return slightly less enthusiastically (see: v. stomp) to the house. Manage to find three chargers. Three. NONE.OF.WHICH.FIT.MY.PHONE. It is approximately 7:20 a.m. I am about to drive over 600 kms in an eight-year old car. I will feel much more comfortable if I can summon help should it break down. My cell phone badly needs charging. But there's nothing for it, I can't delay any longer and it's too early in the morning to buy another charger.
So I return to the car, no longer dancing. Doing more of a miffed, determined stomp (see above). I am already almost 30 minutes behind schedule.
Head for the gas station. Try to save time by using my debit card so I don't have to go into the station to pay. The usual company I buy gas from has a very efficient debit/credit payment set-up on their gas pumps. You swipe the card, indicate the maximum amount that can be taken from your account, select the account, tap in the PIN number, select the grade of gas and Bob's your uncle! you're putting gas in the car.
However, the most efficient route to the highway features a station of a different company. One whose main goal is not to sell me some gas for my car, but to sell me 15 other things first. Before I could activate the pump, I had to assure it that I did not want a car wash, I did not want oil, I did not want a soft drink, nor a snack, nor did I want to take out a second mortgage. I JUST WANT SOME GAS, PLEASE.
Having battled my way through some marketing slug's idea of a plan, I start to pump gas... thump! The pump stops. I release the trigger and squeeze again and... thump! The pump stops again. Of course I would pick a malfunctioning pump when I'm already behind schedule.
I look around and realize that all the other pumps are engaged (what are all these people doing up and about this early? Are they freaks?). I stomp into the gas station, having purchased a grand total of $16.72 worth of gas rather than the $50 or so I expected. I inquire of the fine young neanderthal working the cash whether there might not be something amiss with the gas pump.
"It was working yesterday." Yes. That's immensely helpful to me today. Thank you, Grog.
I stomp back to the pump. The other pumps are still occupied. I try again. This time I manage to squeeze another $1.75 worth into the tank before the pump stops.
I stomp back into the station, having by now perfected the techinique. I pay for the gas and tell Grog there is definitely something wrong with that pump. And I depart in high umbrage.
By now I am close to an hour behind schedule, which is what always happens when I am properly prepared and start on time. Mr. Murphy rears his ugly head and foils my well-laid plans. I may as well procrastinate and linger in bed, because I am never going to get started on time, no matter what.
I decide not to go across the street for coffee as I had planned. An hour ago, this would have been a plan, but now traffic is heavy enough that it would take three times as long to get back on he road, so I head for the highway exit up the road, planning on filling up at the last station a little way out of town. I wanted to get an early start because even though I had been assured there was no construction on the highway anywhere between home and the resort, a lot of things can happen over the course of a day and I have the materials for the registration this evening in my trunk.
I am about to drive at 100 kms per hour. Without coffee.
I look at the gas gauge, fearing that I will see that it is almost empty and there it is with the needle firmly pointing to... F.
And then I realized. My daughter had the car the night before and returned with it after I had gone to bed. She filled the tank the night before to replace the gas she had used and so I wouldn't have to stop for gas in the morning but forgot to mention it to me. I am not yet used to my children acting like adults. Oh, how I laughed. I can never go back to that gas station again.
This trip was going to go well. I could tell.
*verified pre-trip by Google maps and after the fact by my car's tripometer
Next up: Woe, woe and thrice woe - Part the Second - What's that noise?