Observation at a Gas Station

One of my personal intentions this (and last!) year was to be more observant of my surroundings. Something concrete occurred recently that made me realize i’m making some minor progress on this.

I stopped in to get gas on my way home from a work / fun meeting with myself at my not so local HPH. I ripped into the gas station quickly, stopped abruptly, and did my usual hope-its-nimble jump out while extracting my card holder from my front left pocket. I tried the paypass, but i didn’t seem to get the sequencing right, and upon its denial stuck my chip card into the reader, all the while silently lamenting the delay PINs cause to this transaction, my life.

While i wait for the prompts i multi-task; i open the little door on my car to the gas, unscrew the cap, let it dangle there. Grab the nozzle and toss it in (even though it hasn’t yet asked me to do so!). Finally finishing off the prompts, I pick my grade, squeeze the trigger, and the gas a-flows.

Up to this point, all is as very routine. I make every effort to save any second i can, constantly working to optimize my time, and harshly judging processes i feel are inefficient and/or out of my control.

But then i did something different. Instead of watching the digital displays immediate feedback scroll by, i turned around, and faced away from the pump.

Immediately i started observing. The gas station’s outsides were relatively empty at this time, save for a dude hanging out at the door. He looked like a relatively permanent fixture there, and i believe was bumming change off of people that were coming in and out of the shop. He looked over at me a few times during my visit, but i didn’t maintain eye contact for very long.

A few seconds into my fillup, a dilapidated old toyota echo pulled up directly across from me. I thought i flew in fast, this guy’s stop was super abrupt and clean! Fast and tight and out of the car within 3 seconds.

The car was mosaic in that it had a replaced and silver colored back door handle which contrasted harshly against the rest of the cars dark maroon exterior. As well, the car’s exhaust was dangling dangerously close to the ground. It was a beater, and a well used one at that.

As i stared across i decided to not look away and watched somewhat passively at this interesting vehicle. The driver pumped away for a very small fraction of the time i was pumping, carefully adjusting final pumps, and then rushed into the innards of the gas station.

So while not incredibly interesting in and of itself, I have one major takeaway from this, and i owe my increased sense of observation to this; I am INCREDIBLY fortunate. Why? The last time i even considered not filling up my gas tank was when i was in a hurry and was pre-lamenting the slow pumps at a particular gas station that i felt was my only option at the time. Being able to turn around and observe a fellow pumper that was squeaking a few bucks into his beater reminded me of times long since passed when me and my buds would scrounge change for my friend’s Acadian to get to the pool hall or visit another friend or something similar.

Anyways, sometimes change and meeting your goals just requires you to turn around.

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