It’s a hard knock life.

Filling a car with 'Coalene' petrol, 1935.

Since scholarship money only extends so far, and I’ve become accustomed to a certain lifestyle (eating), I’ve taken a weekend job at *undisclosed petrol station* #humblepie. I joined for the uniform, primarily. It’s the way it sits on you. It’s the cut of the fabric, the way it takes every one of your best features and says nothing to see here. Which is a shame because if there’s any time you wouldn’t mind looking a little sexy, it’s while you’re on the forecourt. Dragging a bin behind you. In a fluoro vest that stops people from running you over. #tasteslikemamas

I have learned some hard truths on the beat: gas is transparent, 90% of the population are tools (don’t be one of them), and old ladies do drive offs.

Old Ladies

I didn’t see that one coming either, but as age increases, so too does the likelihood that your perp will be a woman. Don’t be fooled by their faltering gait, these are psychotic thrill-seekers in Homypeds and control briefs. These are rheumy-eyed dames that’ll pinch $100 premium from under your nose and smile at you on their way out.

The rules of who will and won’t do drive offs, I’ve realised, are often counterintuitive, and vary from station to station, but the following works as a general guideline.

People that don’t do drive-offs:

Bald head

Receding hairline head

Combover head

Sensible pants

Asians

Old men

Young women

Beachcombers

Nerds

Hipsters

Learners

Missing fingers

People that do:

Commodores

I hate people that drive commodores. Don’t you mean you hate commodores? NO. I hate people that drive Commodores. I drove one for a while, out of necessity, and even I hated me. Sometimes I would just stay at home, attach electrodes to myself and look at images of Commodores while slowly increasing the voltage. Eventually it worked and I sold it to some hoodlum who threatened to come bash me up with his friends when it died on him. Then I got my brother to call him. Then he messaged me five minutes later begging me to forgive him. (Sometimes it’s best not to know.)

Other drive off red flags:

Very old cars

Very new cars

Missing teeth

Caps

Oakley glasses

Greasy hair

Rear spoilers

Statement tees

Let it also be known that if that place blows, I have zero idea what’s going on, so don’t come to me for help. I’ll be the person on the ground screaming “it’s the apocalypse, we’re all doomed” while people run past me saying doesn’t she work here? And even if nothing’s on fire I’ll be stopping dropping and rolling, because that’s all I seem to remember from any of the safety instructions I’ve ever been given. Tsunami – SDR, attempted mugging – SDR, bad hair day – SDR. You can roll your way out of anything, really, providing you do it with chutzpah.

On a less flammable note, I also have a bone to pick with pharmaceutical companies. Or rather, one of my customers does. You would think that on a bottle of lubricant (not the stuff for cars) they would make the barcode extra large and extra flat so that transactions could take place quickly and discretely. Not the case. If anything they’ve made the barcodes deliberately small and wrapped them around almost the entire bottle.

Which is what I discovered one fateful night when a softly-spoken taxi driver dropped by to purchase a pack of condoms. He’d just paid for his fuel, and after looking over both shoulders shuffled what I can only imagine he thought were illegal goods across the counter, whispering that he wanted a bag, which was weird because it made me whisper too even though we were the only people in the store. But whatevs. Condoms went through fine, but the lubricant (still not for cars) wasn’t so compliant. I tried numerous angles, I did the side swipe, the up and down swipe, the whirlpool swipe, the close-up-then-far-away swipe, and the magic swipe where I don’t even swipe it at all. In the end, I had to enter it manually, and I couldn’t remember where the button for doing that was so I had to fuss around for a while poking things like ‘staff member discount’ and ‘price override’ until I found it, during which time a small queue had started to form behind him. I really wanted to say “slippery little sucker” but he looked like he was about to cry, so I just winked at him and said, have fun with that you pervert.

I have many more tales from *undisclosed petrol station* to tell, including the one where I locked myself out of the building at night and then accidentally shut the pumps down with the back of my head while I was waiting to be rescued, as well as the one where I locked my lunch in the staff room and had to wave an IOU sticker at the camera so they didn’t think I was stealing their chips.

I have no idea why I’m still single.

I actually don’t. I’m bloody brilliant.

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5 thoughts on “It’s a hard knock life.

  1. oh megs, i have missed your blog. i was laughing out loud on the bus with people giving me strange looks. you are brilliant! “slippery little sucker” haha

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