People in small towns, especially those farming communities in Norway who live eat and breathe tractors, hydraulics, and pick up trucks, whose leather gloves and flannel shirts are frayed by hard work; those people never, ever, make the mistake I made yesterday. Never.
I called my neighbor this morning and told him what happened. He snickered and called Erling, the local garage mechanic for me. The mechanic said it happened just last week. Some guys wife did it and they had to fix her car too.
Realizing what I did when my engine started acting funny, I drove back to the gas station where I had just filled the tank and parked my car. I was on my way to pick up my daughter from her boyfriends house at the time so I called and told her what happened, that I couldn’t pick her up because I accidentally did it. She sent a text back that read, “Anders and Veggar are laughing at you, but I’m sorry that happened dad.” Ultimate humiliation.
Standing beside my parked car, I had to ask my former stepmother-in-law to come and pick me up because it was past eight pm and the garage was closed. Of course she came, complete with a wry smile when I opened the passenger door. She’s 67 years old, and she had never made such a dumb mistake in her entire adult life.
When I got home I hoped for some sympathy from my wife, a little bit of poor-you -for-losing-your-manhood kind of talk. Before I departed for this misadventure I was already being a grouch and Oddny was not impressed with me. I was in the doghouse you could say. When I walked in the door without my daughter (the reason I left was to pick her up), without our car, and the loss of some hundred dollars in fuel and repairs, sympathy wasn’t happening. In fact, she just told me to keep my tail between my legs like our dog does when he knows he’s been bad.
Confession: I filled my completely empty diesel fuel tank with 95 unleaded gasoline.
When I rode my bicycle down to the garage this morning, the mechanics all dropped their tools to look at me. My neighbor already had them in on the story and each of them had this polite but obvious sideways expression that screamed, “The silly American guy filled his tank with the wrong petrol!”
Americans complain about the high price of gas in the United States right now. It’s four dollars per gallon in California. Fuel is nine dollars per gallon in Norway.
Somebody get me a large rock to hide under.
That’s not all. Five years ago I was in France driving a borrowed car. I did the same thing to that guys vehicle and blamed the strange signage posted by the pumps at French gas stations. He got me another car to borrow while that one went to the garage.
That same week, I filled his other car with normal unleaded gas too – and it was also a diesel! That was the end of our short friendship.
I’m not trying to make a cool metaphor for life out of this. I don’t mean to draw deep philosophical insights or even add clever anecdotal content to my otherwise overly serious blog. I’m just wondering out loud if there hope for such a pathetically unobservant twit as me?