refuel with a frosty beverage
permanent url for this, #005: april 11th, 2002.

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you would like a tall frosty beverage.
I laced up my nice new sneakers, grabbed a Gatorade and a powerbar and waltzed out of my apartment into the usual Californian sunshine. I did not normally sleep this late. In fact I did not sleep this late today, either. I'd been up for hours and hours. My sneakers rolled onto and off of the concrete sidewalk. I climbed into my automobile which is old but also stylish. I drove my automobile across the country recently and it took lots of abuse. Sometimes I have to fiddle faddle with the gas pedal to get it going properly. Then once I do it roars and growls with all the 8 cylinder vigor it can muster, unless it stalls out and I have to fiddle faddle with the pedal again. The outside of my car is really dirty.

It started pretty easily this time. I signaled and pulled out onto Buffalo Ave, our street. I have a nice Kenwood stereo and the stereo was playing music. I drove past a small ice cream truck and I really wanted to buy a malt crunch bomb and a Lick-A-Color popsicle and possibly a root beer float. I tried to flag down the driver but he did not see me, and also I had no room on the road to stop and park. I turned left onto Magnolia. I turned left onto Woodman after the stoplight turned red and a man driving a Nissan Xterra flipped his middle finger up without looking at me. I drove under the 101. Then all at once I saw something and got really excited. Before I could think I cut somebody off and pulled into the Fashion Square Service Area. I had seen a sign saying that you get a free car wash with an oil change. I appreciate a good deal.

I drove my car into the queue for the oil service. The sun made my left arm hot. I filled out a clipboard and got out of my car to stretch and look around. A man drove my car inside the building while I watched. I sat in the waiting room and read something about angry Palestinians in the newspaper. For a little while I played one of the games on my mobile phone. I read the across clues for a crossword puzze in the funnies section of the paper but I did not know the answers. I paid for a new air filter, a new breather, a new CV valve, a system flush, and new oil. I paid with my credit card while a man drove my automobile over to the car wash queue.

All of the men working on the cars, changing oil and washing and drying were very nice and also Mexican. One man vacuumed my car, then drove it into the coveyor machine. I watched through the glass as two Mexican men sprayed and scrubbed my car. I followed along as the big spidery sponges, spinning brushes and streams of water cleaned it. Then men opened the doors and Windexed the windows carefully. They were very thorough, which I admire. Finally a small quiet one polished my automobile dry with a little blue cloth out under the sun. I would have tipped him but I did not have any cash.

I drove around Ventura and ran some errands. I return a Blockbuster video into the box at the edge of the Blockbuster parking lot. Also I ordered a large Double Quarter Pounder meal with Coke from the speaker at McDonald's and waited while the woman at the window put it together and put it in the bag with extra ketchup. She handed it to me and I paid her. I ate it while I cruised around town. There were a lot of cars. It was nearly five in the afternoon. I pulled into a 76 gas station to fill up my tank because I was almost out of gas. I drove up to the last pump on one side of the pump row, because that is what you are suppose to do.

I swiped my credit card into the card-reading machine, picked up the pump nozzle and pressed the 91 button. The display of the card-reading machine asked me if I wanted a receipt. I pressed NO and began pumping gas. I felt the handle vibrate as fuel began shooting into the tank of my automobile. Then I looked up at the display attached to the card-reading machine. "Hey, look up here!" it read. I was already looking. The gas pump was trying to tell me something important. "That's right - here. The least you could do is smile!" The words scrolled by, right to left. I smiled, and it continued, "Life is too short not to enjoy it." I thought about that, and it made a lot of sense. The tank of my shiny clean car was almost halfway filled with gas, and it felt nice.

Again, I watched my special message scroll across the readout thing: "Hey look up here. That's right - here. The least you could do is smile! Life is too short not to enjoy it." I decided that the machine was right. Then I felt the handle of the pump nozzle click in my hand, which meant that my tank was full. I pulled the nozzle out an inch and topped-off the tank. After a few seconds, the nozzle clicked. I topped-off again. It clicked again. I squeezed the trigger and pulled the nozzle out little farther. Some gasoline spilled onto the bumper of my car. I watched it drip. The smell tickled my nostrils. It was such a familiar aroma. I pulled the nozzle away from the car. Then I squeezed some gasoline out onto the concrete, and smiled.

I squeezed some more out. It splashed quietly on the hard surface, shimmering and tinkling in the evening sun. I swirled the nozzle around in the air and sprayed a spiral pattern out onto the beige concrete. Some of the liquid splashed onto my new sneakers. I watched steam float off of the smooth white leather. I squirted gas out onto my license plate, the trunk of my car, the rear window of my car. I carefully moistened and doused each of my pant legs. The wet cloth sopped heavy against my legs. I sprayed the roof of my car, drew spirals and circles around and around on the ground. I smiled. I twirled and danced with the nozzle against my left shoulder, jumping over the hose, letting the cool liquid course down my back, through my tee shirt and into my boxers.

I shook left to right, running and dancing in place, laughing with my arms outstreched. I shot an arching stream of gasoline up into the air and caught it with the top of my head. I felt it all cascade over my hair and forehead, dribbling down to my neck and chest. I shook my head, tossing wet hair away from my scalp. I looked skyward and let the glorious fluid pour over every inch of my face, gently stinging my lips, dripping down between my teeth onto my hot tongue. The sun began to set. My automobile had a full tank. And I danced and danced, spinning and spraying and spashing the soft gasoline everywhere with my bright smile, laughing and drinking of its wonderful refreshment.
beware of falling prices.