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What a Long Strange Trip its been...


Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2004
My metro area has about 1.2 million people. I guess you would say a small city.

I live in a suburban town that was incorporated about 70 years ago when it was "out in the country". Over that time the urban sprawl kept going and there is now no undeveloped land for miles around. Those living in the new upscale suburbs (like the one where the Champions Tour is playing this week) say that people like me, "live practically downtown".

Our suburbs are kind of like New England. A series of "towns" each with its own police, fire, schools all connected by two lane roads that were built decades ago. What was previously a free standing town center with a post office, bank and a school is now a "suburban village" with Subway, Rite Aid, Starbucks etc. As time progressed, the buildings in these towns were flattened and new ones were put up. After all, Rite Aid wants em all to look alike everywhere - right?

For years I have bought my gas at the British Petroleum (BP) station. I pull in there wand the Amex through the pump, and sprint out. I never check oil or air as I take the vehicle to Jiffy Lube every 3000 miles for oil change and rotation. I've got to think twice to find the hood latch to get it open...

About a month ago, I am at BP gassing up. I look across the street at a Texaco and they have a sign that says, "Full Service gas at Self Service Prices". I then start looking closer at the place. I had never really looked at it.

This is a gas station - NOT a convenience store. There are service bays with grease monkeys fixing cars in there. And the building is built of brick - not those shiny red panels that we see in Texaco's all over the country. Yes ladies and gentlemen, this place was probably 60-70 years old...

So today I need gas again and I am headed through force of habit straight for the BP. For some reason I looked left and saw the Texaco and thought..."what the hell...".

I pull in and immediately feel strange. After all, I am not hopping right out of the car.

I hit the down window button and promptly I see a figure in the rear view mirror moving up the driver side of the car.

It is a bona fide redneck who says...."MayIhepye?" This individual is a walking anachronism with a plaid shirt, (too tight), pants that are too short and greasy hands...

Once again I feel strange but say, "Fill er up with regular please".

Before you know it, the gas is flowing in the car and Bubba is moving toward the front of the car. He starts washing the windshield with the squeegee. I of course have an excellent view.

He meticulously cleans the windshield. I have not watched this from inside a car in 25 years.

Suddenly - as I admire his handiwork - he leans over and says...


I nod and pull the hood release. Bubba returns to his work.

At this point, I look over at the gas pump. It is ancient.

No digital displays of dollars and cents; gallons and tenths of gallons.

Rotating wheels spinning like a Vegas slot machine and of course no credit card reader. Just a gas pump.

And at the end it goes...."DING!"

By now - Bubba has dropped the hood back into place and he comes around to the driver side window with a report.

"Errrl - guuud, ATF - guuuud, Brake fluid - guuud, washer fluid - guuud."

He has checked everything save the battery and hoses.

Before ya know it, I am handing my Amex to him and he returns to the Office to run my card. Then he is back with an old fashioned clip board - to which my charge receipt is attached.

I sign it and notice I have been charged $2.09/gallon for all of this.

Something tells me Ima goin' back to Bubba's next time I need gas, and send the missus there too.

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