Pump My Own Gas? Please - I'm From Jersey!
I mean, I have pumped gas before, just not often. Or well. The only time I have to do it is when I rent a car and I hate it because every rental car is different. As a matter of fact, I'll be renting a car this weekend to drive down to the D.C. area to do some work related to my book, so I'm sure I'll have lots of fun fumbling around and getting laughed at as I face the inevitable at the gas station. The last time I drove down, there was a woman behind me (who was probably in a hurry) that gladly helped me pump my gas. It helped that she actually worked at a car rental place, so she was sympathetic to my confusion. I'm sure she's seen all types!
The reality of self-service first came crashing down on me when I lived, ever so briefly (5 months), in California. I didn't think it would be a big deal, so I couldn't believe that it was such a big production for me! And, I had no idea homeless guys hung out at gas stations to pump gas for extra money (Ha!) I was thisclose to letting this homeless guy pump my gas before the station attendant ran over and said "Oh no miss! It's okay, I'll do it!" I didn't care who did it, I just wanted to get out of there! It's a good thing that I spent the bulk of my time on the bus before I raced back to New York less than six months later. Then again, no it wasn't because the bus in LA sucks. In New York, you see every color and income level on the subway and the bus. In LA, the people on the bus are primarily black, brown and poor. Most of the white people that I saw on the bus were European tourists. In New York, and I'm sure in other cities across the country, it's no big deal to see a person sitting at a bus stop. In Los Angeles, people look at you like you're an alien. And it takes FOREVER to get anywhere. If I had stayed, I would have gotten a car, but I knew I was going so I didn't bother. However, I must say that I was struck by the demographics on the bus - and I know that bus strike a few years ago must have really hurt the poor in Los Angeles.
Getting back to gas, I have a new phobia about it: THE PRICE!
Granted, I use NYC and NJ public transportation, so I've mostly had my head in the sand about gas prices. But I will be renting quite a bit this summer and I will buy a car by the end of the year, so now it's on my mind.
For you drivers out there: How much does it take to fill your tank? And how often do you fill it? Also, driving a compact car from NY to DC and back - about how much do you think I'll spend in gas?