The other day I was out running errands and I had to stop and put gas in my car. Filling the tank with gas is not my favorite task, but I’m an independent modern girl and I put gas in my own car. But honestly? I’d rather not and am happy to get out of doing it whenever I can. I don’t know why. It just seems to me that the men folk should have to pump the gas, take out the trash, remove the dead geckos from the shower and other duties as assigned. When it comes down to it, I’m old-fashioned.
I see that all the pumping stations are occupied, so I pull up behind my favorite pump and wait for it to become available. Gas pumps are like bathroom stalls — you have your favorite one, you know you do and why it is your favorite defies explanation, but it is the one you go to when need arises.
I’m sitting in my car waiting for my pump to become available and I’m taking note of all the stories going on at the gas station this morning. In particular, I notice this elderly couple get out of their car and make their way around to the pump. As is sometimes said, if they were moving any slower they woulda been going backwards.
The little Mrs. was apparently the driver. She is the first to get out of the car. She is dressed very crisply in her lavender stretch pants, matching blouse and never-committed-even-a-venial-sin bright white Keds. She weighs all of 98-pounds. I am guessing by the scarf she is wearing tied under her chin that she has recently been to what she would probably term the “beauty parlor” where the “beauty operator” washed and set her hair. Just so. I also suppose that her beauty operator is named Velma and has been doing hair since 1949.
At any rate, the elderly lady gets out of her car, makes her way around to the other side of the car where she opens the door and helps an elderly gentleman out of the car. I assume he is her husband. She manages to maneuver him into his walker, the kind with the tennis balls on the front, and together they work their way around the car to the pump. Together with great time and effort, he puts gas in her car. Because by cracky, as long as that man has breath in his lungs, she will not pump the gas. Whether is it she who will not pump the gas or he who will have not have his wife pumping gas I can’t quite tell, but I can tell that’s how it is for them.
It was almost painful to watch and part of me wanted to jump out of my car and pump their gas, but I didn’t. I could have done that small thing for them – easily – but it seemed an intrusion of sorts and in this day of age, they would have probably found it more frightening than helpful. So I sat and watched.
Later, I stopped in at one of my favorite boutiques and purchased a small clock for a gift. The sales clerk, who appeared to be the same age as my mother, was very kind and helpful. I asked her if the clock had a battery in it. She said that the clock came with a battery but that it was not in the clock. She added that I would have to have my husband put it in when I got home.
I laughed to myself and decided that I would have him do that as soon as he gets back from putting gas in my car.