Things That Made You Go, “Hmmm,” In 1985 Now Make You Go, “WTF?”

So I pull into a regular gas station of mine, swipe my new American Express Card, start filling the SUV full of boys with 87 ‘tane, and start washing salt off of the windows. Why the windows are salty here in Springfield, where most places didn’t treat nor plow the 6 inches of snow we got around Christmas, I don’t grok. But that’s not the head scratcher.

After I finish with the back window and then the front window, less of a priority because it has better internal salt removal systems, I figure that the half tank’s worth of pumping should be done. The pump is not actively forcing fuel into my vehicle, and its internal mechanisms have shut it off at five cents’ worth of gas. .021 gallons, if you’re wondering.

I figure the seal between the pump nozzle and the tank has triggered. My pickup truck has a faulty seal here so that I have to pump gas by hand at slower than the lowest automatic notch or it will trigger the nozzle shut off. So I’m familiar with the vagaries of these systems. But when I depress the nozzle trigger, it does not pump at all.

So I wonder, is the gas station’s tank empty? Or has it stopped because that’s all my credit card authorized me? I push the help button that should intercom to the cashier inside to ask him what was going on.

No response. I’d have gone in, but that would have required unloading a pair of boisterons (the physics term for energetic male children) to ask a 30 second question or to leave them for 30 seconds unattended in a car, which is felony child endangerment in 21st century America.

So I instead replace the nozzle, take my receipt for five cents, and swipe my credit card again. This time, the pump says that it cannot accommodate credit card swipes at this time. The gas station attendant hasn’t replied yet, so I take my nickel of gasoline and leave.

Wondering, of course, what happened. Credit card problem? Computer problem? Or some problem with my newish credit card, perhaps a fraud alert. Maybe there’s an APB out for me in Battlefield, Missouri, even as we speak as they search for the three desperadoes in a vehicle that’s safely hidden in a garage.

Whatever else it is, it give me something to think about and to ruminate upon all afternoon.

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