Fuel Pump

I was leaning against the side of my rental: a white, Fiat 500—quite possibly the cutest car I’ve driven since my dad sold our ’69 VW convertible 20 years ago. I’d chosen the slowest fuel pump in the Western Hemisphere. The one with the faulty auto-stop. The one that soaked me in fuel. Soaked me. 

I have no idea what came out of my mouth in the moment I realized what was happening, but I’m certain it was quite loud and not at all ladylike. Once I got the nozzle turned off and shoved back into the pump, my first (pointless) instinct was to grab the windshield washer squeegee thing and take a swipe at the side of the car. My second instinct was to march into the station, positively fuming—both figuratively and literally.

“Pump 7 has a faulty auto-stop, and it just drenched me in fuel,” I stammered at the attendant.

“I didn’t know the pump was faulty.”

“Clearly. I thought you might like to sop up the lake of gasoline and maybe take the thing out of service.”

“Sorry for the inconvenience.”

Inconvenience? Inconvenience? There’s a good possibility that when I start the car it’ll go up in a ball of flame; and even if I survive the blast, I don’t think State Farm will be a good neighbor on this deal; and even if there’s no fire at all, TSA’s going to arrest me for trying to board a plane as a human bomb; and if manage not to get arrested, every passenger on my flight is going to hate my guts because oh my Lord I smell like I’ve been bathing in gasoline. 

Yep. That entire scenario went through my mind as I blinked at the Shell attendant.

“Yeah. Okay,” I muttered, and went out to see how my spontaneous Choose Your Own Adventure would end.

Obviously, I’m neither a pile of ash nor in a holding cell in the bowels of DFW. I am however, wearing Dallas Cowboys pajamas.

After successfully returning the rental car and hopping the shuttle to the terminal, I had almost convinced myself that maybe I wasn’t all that stinky. The ticket agent brought me back to reality.

“Do you smell gasoline?”

“Oh, that’s me,” I said, trying not to burst into tears. “I got soaked at the gas station.”

“Oh. Oh wow. Okay. Well, ummmm, you’ll be all right.”

At which point, I began to sweat. Mmhmm. There’s nothing like a nervous, sweaty, middle-aged blond with a dab of gasoline behind each ear. I just shot up from a 5.4 to a 9.

I continued to sweat through the you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me security line, wishing the teenagers behind me would give me some freaking personal space already, ignoring the “Do you smell gas?” comments, sniffing the air with the same confused-concerned expression everyone else was wearing.

After about 10 minutes of that nonsense, I decided Jesus would be cool with me replacing my clothing for the sake of my fellow travelers, and by the time I made it through security, I’d already researched my retail options. Option, that is—singular: Dallas Cowboys for Her. Dallas Cowboys for Her by Pink. Oh goodie.

I explained my predicament to the kind woman behind the cash register, who proceeded to help me put together an absurdly expensive ensemble from a brand I positively loathe. I stripped in a bathroom stall (gross), swapped clothing, and—eyes welling up with tears—threw away my favorite jeans, a tank top, a super-cute shirt I bought just weeks ago, and my belt.

Here’s my get-up: Blue pajama pants with COWBOYS down the left leg (but nothing on the rear end, thank you Jesus) and a blue sweatshirt with DALLAS COWBOYS across the front and PINK along the back neckline. The blues don’t match. Everything’s too big. The lettering on the pants and shirt are different colors. Oh, and I’m still wearing my Converse, which were spared in the melee. I look ridiculous. As I walked to my gate, I overheard a middle-age businessman comment to his buddy, “Now, that woman’s a Cowboys’ fan.”

And that’s how I narrowly avoided death, skirted TSA, wasted $200, and became a Cowboys fan in 90ish minutes.

Did you have any adventures today?

UPDATE: People wanted a selfie. I joked about the need for a GoFundMe. My daughter took me seriously and set one up with the goal of $200. All donations will go toward something on the most-needed list at The Bridge. If we hit the goal, I’ll post the selfie. For crying out loud, people.

UPDATE 2: Well, it happened. The photos’s below. Hope y’all are happy.

UPDATE 3: Because of the generous donations from folks who played along with Bekah’s GoFundMe silliness, I’m delivering 80 pounds of chicken breast to The Bridge. Thank you, thank you, thank you.