After a pleasant New Year’s Eve, I was ready for a great 2012. Everyone was wishing me one, so I began to expect one. But then again, there was talk of that Armageddon.

On Sunday, January 1, I was eating pasta al dente. Al breaking dente. This was the tooth with the deep filling I thought was taken care of in 7th grade, but during Thanksgiving I lost part of the filling. On Sunday, I got this weird feeling eating the penne, and felt my tooth. Part of it wiggled—a feeling you’re only supposed to have when you’re a kid. It came right out. I didn’t think it was possible for it not to have created an exposed nerve. But even though I could actually feel part of the socket, it didn’t hurt at all. I still don’t know why, but I’m not complaining. I also don’t know why the dentist was open on Monday, the legal holiday, but I’m not complaining about that, either.

On Monday, my day off, I began to wonder if everyone is scheduled to have their own private Armageddon—billions of Little Armageddons in 2012. I thought it was going to be more of a social event. But there I was dealing with my own crap–an upsetting family situation had occurred that I was trying to handle before a trip to the dentist, possibly to have my first non-wisdom tooth pulled. And my first with only local anesthesia. On the way, I got my cheap gas. This is how it happened:

I put in my debit card, but the LED was unreadable. I think the sun directly hitting it was only part of the problem. I had to proceed from memory.  Zip code. Enter. This one doesn’t ask if you want a car wash. Receipt? Yes. Press “Regular” button.

I subconsciously noted some unusual beeping and a delay, but when it all went to zeroes I pumped away until 40 something dollars. The receipt didn’t print, but f**k it. I had more important things to deal with.

I took my daughter to pick up her car. I went to the dentist and it was a pleasant, pain-free, keep-the-tooth visit with follow-ups planned.

Yesterday, something was nagging me, so I pulled up my online banking. There was no pending transaction for the fill-up.

F**k! Am I the one that less-than-feminine-looking cop posted on all the pumps is threatening? Is she going to show up any minute in that khaki uniform buttoned up to her chin and read me my rights? What about my right to read the LED screen?

I called the gas station. I was told to call this morning when the manager came in. He said, yes, we had a “drive away” on Monday. “A woman in her 50’s…”

I turned myself in this afternoon on the way to a doctor’s appointment, and a person, easily seen, debited my card. I asked if anyone else was having problems reading the LED on that pump, and she said yeah, they had two yesterday. Maybe fix it?

Also, she said, after a certain amount of seconds, it will cancel your card info, so it would default to pay inside status. That happened yesterday to someone who lost track of that little time frame because she was concentrating on her cell phone call, I was told.

It sounds like there must be a dozen or so of us on the lam every week. Women in their 50’s. People on cell phones. All running from the cop on the pump and not even realizing it. All I know is, even if I’m running late, if the receipt doesn’t print, I’m going inside and getting it.

And in a couple of months I’ll be letting the professionals pump the gas– just another perk of moving to Jersey!

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