I, officially, live in a small town.
I stepped up to the counter to pay for gas. The teenager behind the counter smiles at me as he tries to process my debit card (checking card for you Americans). Suddenly there is a flurry of button clicking sounds as he tries to process my order.
“Dude,” he says to his buddy behind the counter. “What did you do to get the board going again?”
‘Dude’ comes over and hits some keys...which does nothing to proceed things. Instead, he shrugs and says, “Looks like you’re screwed, man.”
“Dude,” ‘man’ says, “can you get me the old keyboard?”
“Man, it’s not gonna do anything.” But he still goes and gets it.
It would seem that Dude is prophetic because it does not do a thing.He picks up the phone to call “the Boss.”
Enter Cranky old guy.
“Pump one isn’t working. Are your pumps not working?”
“No,” Man says, “I just haven’t authorized it.”
Old Cranky Guy wearing a look that says, “Why the hell not?” asks, “ What does that mean? Does that mean the pumps aren’t working?”
“No, the keyboard’s broken. I have to hit a key to authorize it.”
“Ah, I see. The pumps are not working.”
Exit Cranky old guy.
Dude hangs up the phone and gives an update to the now growing line of sweaty patrons in the cramped gasoline booth. “I’m gonna go put out the pylons, man. Take cash for orders.”
Enter pregnant lady amused by lack of problem solving skills the staff have. “And what do you do if you only have debit and no cash.”
Man and Dude look at each other for a moment.
Dude, clearly the leader in the group, tilts his head to the side and says, “Do you happen to live close by?”
Sigh of relief from both boys.
“Great! Could you just write down your phone number and address. When the pumps are up again we’ll call you.”
“Ok” says pregnant lady. “I’m good for it.”
After leaving my number and address, I push open the door seeing huge line ups of cars, vans and trucks.
One lady keeps saying to Dude. “I think something is wrong with your pump. Are the pumps broken?”
Men, women and children all have their heads sticking out the window listening attentively as Dude addresses the crowd and says, “Yeah, pumps are closed, guys. Keyboard problems.”
I walked toward my vehicle at pump 5, and hear a family in the car say, “No gas here. Looks like the pumps are broken.”
I’m half-tempted to say, “No, it’s a keyboard problem.” But I keep my mouth shut. I just walk towards my vehicle as pandemonium among the townsfolk bursts forth repeating the small town news: “The pumps are broken.”