The Rough Guide to Florida. Part 1 – Filling the Tank
The lengths some people will go to, to attend Rebreather Forum 3 (www.rf30.org) The following is taken from a blog written by Sport Diver UK writer, Martin Sampson.
Got out of the airport on Sunday and picked up the hire care. First time in a left hand drive car on the wrong side of the road for over 25 years so with some trepidation I ventured onto the highway, well turnpike actually. No I’ll stick with highway because I still haven’t got a clue what turnpike means. The first task was to get some fuel. The first gas station was a matter of yards away so I pulled onto the forecourt and read the sign on the pump saying ‘please pre-pay’. I put my credit card into the slot but the pump couldn’t recognise my post code. Remove card, walk into shop, and say to the girl on the counter “please can I get some fuel?”
“How much would you like” she asked. Cue confused tourist expression.
“Well you can leave your card, fill up and then pay” she said helpfully, oblivious to the fact that she was helping a simple process get complicated.
I walk out to the pump, lift the nozzle and waited. Nothing. After two mins I walk back into the shop. “What am I doing wrong?” I asked.
“Are you waiting for gas?” she asked still sounding delightfully helpful.
She pressed a button on the touch screen in front of her, “Ok the pump’s on now”.
Back out to the pump and ‘Hey Presto’ I fill the tank up. Back to the shop again to pay. She hands me back my card which I dutifully slide into the card reader.
“Mileage please”, she asks.
“Eh?” Looking down at the card reader the word ‘odometer’ was displayed. Why did the credit card company need to know the mileage? Was it that, by some conspiracy, that the car rental company had informed Google, who had informed Mastercard that I was on the road?
“I’ll be back in a moment”, I shot out of the shop, ran to the car and opened the door. The steering wheel had been stolen – er no, wrong bloody side. Run round to other side. Look at the odometer which is digital. The ignition needed to be on. Where are the keys? In the shop. Bugger! Back to shop looking flustered. Grab keys, run to car, get mileage, run back. The transaction had timed out and my card was lying on the counter and another guy was now paying for fuel, coffee, muffins, and who knows what else.
“45657, 45657, 45657,” I started muttering to myself, willing myself not to forget the number. By now the bloke with the muffins thinks I’m cracked. At last! Card in slot, mileage?………….45657……..YeeeeeSS!
Driver number? What the f… is a driver number?
The girl shrugged her shoulders.
“Can you tell I’ve only just arrived in the USA?” Rough translation: “please help me out here because I haven’t got a clue what’s going on”.
“I don’t know” said the girl doing her level best to be nauseatingly helpful.
“Well I’ll just make one up shall I?”
“I’ll tell you what, I’ll just try my pin number”
I type in four numbers and……..the transaction goes through.
Back to the car, and I sit in the drivers seat…….exhausted.
“Where’s the bloody steering wheel?”
Oh no not again.
Finally, sat in the right seat I gave the gas station a cheery wave goodbye. I didn’t actually want to do that but my right hand was flapping around trying to find the seat belt. That’s on the left stupid. Meanwhile, my left leg was in spasm trying to find the clutch. Oh didn’t I say? They drive automatics out here.