Given all this background, it probably doesn't surprise you to learn that I've never pumped gas in my life. What? Seriously, I've never taken my car more than a full tank's distance from the nearest full service gas station.
It didn't matter at all in the old days, when you never had to get out of your car to get every bit of service a station had to offer. It didn't matter much as long as there were full service stations available almost everywhere. Now that I have to drive all the way to the other side of town to get someone to pump my gas for me, and pay an extra fifty cents a gallon for the privilege, it matters.
A couple of weeks ago I confessed this character defect to Suzanne, and she offered to show me how it's done. Yes, my little sister has not only pumped her own gas for many years, she can also drive a stick shift. And those aren't even the only areas where her skills far surpass mine. There's a lot I could learn from her. As Yogi said, you can observe a lot just by watching.
She promised to keep a low profile and make it look as if she just wanted to get out of the car and stretch her legs. I don't mind telling you, I was nervous. I never tried this on my own because (a) I didn't want to look bad, and (2) I didn't want to look really bad by pouring gasoline all over the asphalt, or dribbling on my shoes, or losing my credit card in the slot.
Anyway, today was the day and when she got off work I picked her up at her house and we went for my lesson. I found the most remote pump the station offered, and step by step I put gas in my own car for the first time in my life. Obviously, as every other person on the planet already knows, it was easy. It's not something I would have tried on my own except in a dire emergency, so I'm grateful for the hands-on tutorial with an experienced and sympathetic teacher.
Now that it's over, it's like getting my wings. I'll never again be afraid to drive too far from home. In fact, now I want to take off and drive until I need gas, just so I can do it again. Maybe I'll wait until the prices come down a bit, though, before I take off across the country in search of big adventures.