At the gas station, as you wait for the familiar click of the nozzle that indicates a full tank, you encounter a lot of interesting characters at the adjacent pumps. Here are some of my favorites:
- The sunglasses dude: This guy's primary motive is to show off his fancy new sunglasses as he tops off his car. So, he picks a pump that is directly in the sunlight, gets the gasoline going and then starts to pose and look around to see if any of the fellow drivers are taking notice. At this point, I am so repulsed by this spectacle (pun intended), that the gas prices themselves seem downright modest. What this "Einstein" does not realize, is that if I am using the other side of the same pump, I can see his ATM pin and zip code in those reflective sunglasses.
- The gas pump virgin: The gas station is a completely new experience for this poor sod. This character is typically one of the many minorities that call this country home. This is probably his first trip to the gas pump after landing a job and getting a car. What follows is not related to the level of education he's had or the class of society he belongs to. The first challenge this guy has to overcome is to know "how fast" to slide the card. This is because the instruction "slide card quickly" reads like a threat to a novice. So, it takes about three to four attempts, before the card is successfully read by the machine. Then as he agonizes over the choice of fuel, you pretty much know that he will not realize that the nozzle has a lock that can be used to keep it going until the tank fills up. So obviously he ends up holding the nozzle till he is done. And from behind, he appears as if he were relieving himself into his car.
- The new parent: This specimen is similar to sunglasses dude, except that the thing being flaunted here is an infant. This moron is so eager to show off his love for his infant, that a game of peek-a-boo continues throughout the refueling process, much to the chagrin of other drivers and the baby, who would rather take a nap than respond to this idiot. But since you can't choose your parents and yet you have to depend on them for your survival, early on, the poor infant plays along. Yours truly fits squarely in this category (as the parent mind you).
- The car rinser: Here's a guy determined to clean his car thoroughly with the crappy windshield cleaner, that is available by the gas pump. As he proceeds with this ill-thought-out plan, the squeaking noises made by the cleaning contraption make people nearby jump. The fact that the same facility also houses a full service car wash does not shake our man's resolve. He is determined to follow through on this plan, no matter how much of other people's time and patience he has to use up.
- The shopper: This guy is a close relative of the car rinser, when it comes to consideration for other people's time and patience. He achieves his diabolical goal by purchasing a whole week's worth of food from the convenience store at the pump. This guy is probably into stale donuts, quadruple cooked hot dogs, sub-standard dairy and chilled wine. Either that or he seems to be taking the term "convenience store" too literally. You just hope that the sunglasses dude in all his haste to impress fellow drivers speeds through the gas station, runs over this guy and gets arrested in the process. That would mean the end of two gas pump gargoyles in one incident. Now that's what I would call a coincidence!