Saturday, October 25, 2008

Holey Moley, My Tank Runneth Over...

Wow... the Costco gas station was all smiles today. Usually people are very on edge at that place, what with gas creeping up to $4/gallon and Costco being the cheapest place in town, the long line of cars can become tense quickly when people don't pull up to the tank right or if they take too long to pump... but NOT today...

What the $2.49 for a gallon of 87 octane?

Yes, being able to fill up the same tank for under $35 sure beats the heck out of it costing $50, but it is still sad to be this excited about gas for $2.49 (when I can remember it being as low as $0.85 in Pasco ten years ago). I can still remember when my brother Evan and I could get to and from the community college by rifling through the seat cushions for loose change. I even remember once spending 37 cents on about 1/3 of a gallon of gas just so we could get home. Since Evan was the older brother with the driver license, and I was the younger brother with absolutely no shame, naturally I was the one who had to pump and pay. I never did mind that kind of thing. I guess there is just something about mustering up the nerve to throw down a quarter, a dime and two pennies on the Skoal Chewing Tobacco counter protector and saying "37 on #5 please" to the station attendant (without feeling humiliated) that ended up giving me a sense of self that you can't come by otherwise. Having to take the blank stare followed by the "you're kidding right?" definitely solidified my conviction that I HAD to not care what some people think of me. :)

There was also the time when Evan discovered a pop machine that gave out a Crystal Pepsi for 5 cents a can (to this day we aren't sure if it was faulty or not, maybe just a promotion for the new "special" cola flavor). With the 50 cents we had on hand, we decided to enter into a little business venture together. True to our usual form, Evan acted as the Venture Capitalist (the 50 cents was all his) and I the Salesman (since I had nothing to my name but oblivious confidence, nerve, ambition, a t-shirt and MC Hammer pants). The business plan? Simple: buy for 5 cents, sell for 10 cents. I remember walking up and down the aisles of the Columbia Center Mall saying to people "do you wanna buy a pop for 10 cents?" If my memory serves me correctly, we went home with 17 cans of soda and around 4 bucks. It really was the one of the happiest days of my childhood.

Anyway, I'm glad that writing about cheap (if only relatively so) gas prices gave me the chance to relive some of the memories that shaped who I am today. Hope you enjoyed as well.