I could tell the woman was mad by the way she approached the kiosk. She was short—probably not even 5 feet tall—but she swaggered like a football player taking the field.
Her hair was totally white and cut short. She wore glasses and a black t-shirt with chile peppers screen printed on it. (When she turned around, I saw the back of the shirt read “Some like it hot.”)
She never smiled when I asked how I could help her this morning.
Only the light for the flex fuel comes on! she complained.
I found out what pump she was on and said I’d come out and try to help. Was the flex fuel going to give us problems now? Two diesel pumps were out of order already. I didn’t really need another problem so early in the morning.
I left the kiosk and found the woman waiting for me. I followed her to the pump where her car was parked. As soon as she got there, she grabbed the yellow handle of the flex fuel nozzle from under the yellow sign that read “flex fuel this nozzle only.” When she lifted the nozzle, the light on the flex fuel selector button lit up.
Only the light for flex fuel comes on! she said as if she hated me, my ancestors, and my descendants.
I was trying really hard to understand what was going on. It seemed to me that if one lifted the flex fuel handle, one should expect the light for flex fuel to come on.
Do you want flex fuel? I asked.
Noooooooo! she wailed as if I were the dumbest dummy she’d ever encountered. She was exceptionally frustrated.
Oh. Well, go ahead and hang up the flex fuel nozzle, I told her.
She hung it up, and I grabbed the handle to the gasoline nozzle. As soon as I lifted the gasoline handle, the lights on the selectors for regular, midgrade, and premium lit up.
Oh, the woman said flatly. I’m sorry.
She didn’t sound sorry. She sounded still pissed, but also embarrassed.
Don’t worry about, I told her. It happens all the time, I said, even though it hadn’t happened even once before in the month I’d worked at the fuel center.