Thursday, March 03, 2005

Gas at $1.18/gallon

I had a strange dream last night.

I was driving around east Portland looking for a gas station when I came across some railroad tracks I had never seen before. There was a small sign hidden out of the way which said "Route 111", and I believed that although it was a train track, this was a secret highway. So I turned and drove down this (rail)road.

A few seconds later, I saw a small gas station on the right hand side. It might have been a Shell or a Chevron station--I don't remember the details-- but I distinctly recall the advertised price of Unleaded on the sign: $1.18 per gallon. This was not a station that had been closed down when a buck eighteen was the normal price. The lights were on, and a pump jockey was just standing there waiting for a customer.

I pulled in and angled my car toward the single pump, and suddenly my roommate Adam, who was not there a second before, pulled his car in and around me. Somehow, he was able to fill up and leave before I even got to the pump. I guess time has a way of warping in a dream. After Adam left, the attendant (who looked as though he lived at the station) asked me if I wanted a fillup. I said yes, hesitating to ask why the price was so low.

He didn't grab the nozzle of the pump right next to me. Instead, he walked to the edge of the lot and took hold of a nozzle that was attached to a simple vertical pipe sticking out of the asphalt. With my fill door open, he started spraying gasoline from 30 feet away, only sometimes getting fuel into the actual tank. He plastered the entire side of the car with gas, as though he was washing it, and, because I was standing on the opposite side, I got a decent amount of it splashed onto me. I wasn't really surprised, which was the odd thing; I was slightly concerned about my soaked clothes smelling like gas, but one sniff told me that gas is odorless in dreams.

The attendant finished his job, then told me that the bill was $27.30. Now this was a shock, because at $1.18 per gallon, that means I was paying for all of that sloppy spillage. I paid the guy, and drove away unhappy.

Seconds later (this was dream time, remember), at home, my dad pulled his car into my driveway. It had undergone the same hosedown that mine had, and I could see the fumes twisting off of its surfaces. Dad stepped out of the car, soaked, with a moist, half-eaten, convenience-store burrito drooping out of his hand.

With matted hair and gritted teeth, he calmly seethed, "I think we'd better call the Better Business Bureau on that guy."

Then I woke up.