There are things I know that will boggle the human mind.  It doesn’t matter if it’s bits of trivia sucked up from life’s convoluted byways, then trotted out on those note-worthy moments.  But it does make  memorable conversation stoppers when these little “gems” are dropped casually into boring conversations.

Then there are things I can’t do that baffled my Grandma and had her muttering in Cantonese, “How can she not do this?”  This, being how to pleat and fold the small mountain of Chinese shrimp and pork dumplings before they were steamed. At that point, I had given up making my dumplings attractive. Instead, I had a platter of plump little “money bags” that actually were very symbolic for Chinese New Year. And no matter what the darn dumplings looked like, every one of them was delicious.

Of course this all leads to my  deep admiration for all those women who pump their own gas and fill their own tires.

I don’t pump my own gas because years ago, I was thoroughly traumatized at the gas pumps. I tell everyone that real women don’t pump gas–well, okay, maybe I just whispered this in my mind since we’re supposed to live in a liberated era now.

I’ve been lucky thus far for the few “full-service” gas stations around. It doesn’t matter if these stations are miles  away from me—I would drive there in a shot, just because there’s someone who can “pump and fill” the gas tank for me.

A few years ago, the service station 2 blocks from me became both a full-serve and a self-serve. It worked well for me since all I needed was someone to fill my tank.

It all went downhill when I discovered that “full-service” did not include filling the tires. My Hubby checks my tires at home on a regular basis—regular being once a month. When it needs a tiny bit of air, he uses a portable tire compressor that pumps in the bit that is needed.  Easy-peasy.

This worked if it was only a psi or two. One tire caused us a problem because for some reason, the compressor attachment did not connect to the tire thingy. AND of course, the longer one tries to connect the air source to the tire, more air is leaking out of the tire. Hubby was getting frustrated so I said confidently, “I can do it. You just have to connect that nozzle thingy with the tire thingy, right?”  Reluctantly, Hubby passed the job over.

And that’s why I had to head down to the service station to fill the tire up. After my attempt, the tire pressure gauge didn’t even register whatever air was left in the tire. AND that’s when I found out “full service” did not include filling the tires for you.

Approaching the two high school seniors, the conversation went like this:

“Could someone please fill my tires for me?”  (Lots of upraised eyebrows and rolling of eyes)

“We don’t do that. We just fill the gas tanks.” (High-fiving each other with big grins)

“Well, could someone show me how to do it?” (More rolling of eyes, then a very reluctant nod)

I put the money into the coin-operated compressor and the one service person connected the air hose to the tire in 2 seconds, allowed the air to flow ’til it reached the proper level and then stopped the flow of air. The entire process took 5 seconds.

“Okay, did you see what I did?”

“No–could you do it again, please?”  Heaving a huge sigh, the service guy demonstrated which part goes where, but he was smart enough not to actually tackle another tire. At least I had him fill my almost flat tire first as that was my biggest worry.

What happened next? Well, I managed to stop a burley guy taking his laundry to the laundromat. He was helpful and very patient. I put in more change for the air machine and he did the entire set of tires in under two minutes. Yes, he also re-checked the tire that was just filled and made sure all the tires had the same amount of air. When I offered to buy him a coffee and a snack, he laughed and said to pass the good deed along. I have and I will gladly do something helpful again—anything except putting air in tires and pumping gas.


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