Poet on a Hill

Sunday, 19 February 2012

NO TIME TO SPARE

I’m going on a long trip up the motorway so I’ve come to Tesco’s filling station to get some fuel. My tank’s nearly empty, but all the pumps are queued-up except these two here. There are no warning signs on them, so these are the fellows for me.

I’ve done all the usual nonsense with my card and opted to, “Pay at the Pump.” I’ve no time to spare. And that Pay Kiosk over there is like a mini supermarket. It’s full of shopaholics, fiddling with credit cards. A man could watch himself growing old in that place.

Job done. All looks well with the world. The pump has clicked off so my tank must be full. I’ve “Paid at the Pump” with my card, so into the car and away I go. “Hey! Just a minute!” The gauge tells me that the tank is only half-full. So that’s why it was so cheap. What happened there then? I need fuel, lots of it. I get out of the car again and repeat all the motions with my card. I’ve opted to “Pay at the Pump” again because I’ve no time to spare. Now I’m trying to fill up my tank, but the pump keeps clicking off and won’t deliver.

“Damn!” Maybe this pump is faulty. These things happen. I pull forward and try the pump in front; put my card in the slot; answer all the questions; opt to “Pay at the Pump,” because I’ve no time to spare. In with my pin. Press enter; lift the nozzle; begin fuelling; nothing! “Bugger!” This pump refuses to cough up anything at all. Maybe that’s why I got to use these two pumps without queuing. Everyone else has either got a sixth sense, or divining sticks that work with petrol. I must get one.

I look round and plan my next move. I’ve got to box clever. I’ve no time to spare. There’s a queue of cars at every other pump, except that one there. One car has just pulled away and that woman has just moved forward and claimed the pump. If I swing over and get behind her, I’m the next in turn. And that pump obviously does the job. So I’m back in business“Yippee!” She’s finished fuelling. “Bugger!” She’s going to pay in the kiosk…

God! She been in that kiosk for ages. I’m seeing other cars swing on to the forecourt, wait in a queue, get their turn, drivers fill up with petrol, go in the kiosk to pay, then come back, get in their car and drive away. That woman in front of me must be one of those shopaholics. She’s ambling round the mini market gazing at sweets and magazines while I’m sitting here stressed out – and I’ve no time to spare.

Thank God. She back at last. Now she’s in her car. But she’s left her door wide open. She can’t drive away like that. God, she’s just sitting there, doing nothing in particular. Why? What’s going on? She’s got her hand pressed to her head, like a migraine martyr. So what’s the problem? God, maybe she’s having a stroke or something. Should I go and see if she needs help? No. Better not. I’ve no time to spare.

Now she’s out of the car. I don’t believe it. That’s a mobile pressed to her face. The bitch is on the phone and she knows I’m waiting. Now she’s pacing up and down in front of her car with her tongue licking the mouthpiece and her mouth going like a landed cod.

Where do people like that go when they are not winding me up? Who is she talking to on the phone? It must be her keeper or probation officer or something. Who else would speak to her? Anyway… let me out of here. I’ve no time to spare.

I jam the gear into reverse, pull back, then screech across to join a queue of normal people. One by one they fill up with fuel, pay in the kiosk, then zoom away. Eventually it’s my turn. I go through the motions with my card again. I opt to “Pay at the Pump” because I’ve not time to spare. “Out of Order,” the pump tells me. “Pay at the Kiosk.”

AW