Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Fear of Gas....

Stations, that is.

I have always had this completely irrational fear of gas stations.

I used to drive around for a long time in order to find a full-serve station, as opposed to a self-serve station. Why? Because I always feel like a complete idiot filling my car up with gas.

But when full-serve stations went the way of the VCR, I knew I would have to learn how to fill my car up with gas myself. I got the DVD player and I learned how to pump my own gas.

So I know how to fill up gas now. But, still I feel like the biggest moron at gas stations.

Ok, swipe my credit card. Ok, grab the pump. Ok, open the place (what the heck is it called?) where I put the pump into my car. Ok, hold it down. Ok, don't forget to close up the part where I just stuck the pump. Ok, put the lever down. Ok, did that all work? Ok, am I going to blow up now?

By the time I get my recipet, I'm completey sweating with nerves, thinking, "I'm so glad that's over with!"

I dread filling my gas tank up almost as much as going to the dentist. About two months ago, the fiance actually had to come rescue me, because my car died, because it was out of gas.

He was not happy. "How long has the gas light been on?" he asked.

"Um, about two days. But usually I can get three days out of it," I told him.

"Idiot," he said. (Ok, he didn't say that. But I know that's what he was thinking.)

Anyway, I learned my lesson. As soon as the gas light goes on, I'm supposed to fill up. Because sometimes you can get three days out of it, and sometimes, apparently, you can not.

Here's the thing. Even at full-serve gas stations, I get completely nervous. Yesterday, with my gas light on, I spotted a full serve gas station and pulled up, my heart pounding

Now, literally, I can interview anyone in the world, and not feel as nervous as I do talking to the guy (or gal) who fills up my gas tank.

"What can I do for you today?" the gas man asked me.

"Um, can you, um, please, um, fill it up, um, please, um, with premium," I managed to stutter out. I do not know gas lingo. I feel like an idiot saying, "Filler up please." I am always shocked when the bill comes to $78.

Gas man came back and asked me if I'd like an oil change. To which I responded, blushing, "No thanks."

I'm not sure why the people at gas stations intimidate me so much. But they do. Gas and I do not go well together.

I'm not saying that filling up gas is something the man should do in a relationship. I'm just saying filling up gas is not good for my stress level...

Please share your irrational fears...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha - that's great! I have a similar bizarre fear of talking to contractors and car salesmen. Both of them totally intimidate me. I think it's because they know so much about a world that just barely exists on my level of consciousness.

11:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hate gas too...the other kind of gas that is! just kidding. i don't like filling up either and often i forget until the light goes on.

11:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

very strange. I am the exact same way with gas stations, I was all about full serve -- and I finally had to get a lesson in how to pump my own gas... I though I was the only crazy one! ;-)

1:05 PM

Blogger Elle_V said...

This is great, well not so much great, because my world is the exact opposite. I work in road construction. I'm the only girl/lady/woman in my place of work. I can dish out lingo like any of the guys. Put me in a room where I have to make a speach about the area (I run a local business association) and I freeze up and want to cry a little, if my husband wasn't in the audience at my last meeting I think I would have passed out!

1:33 PM

Blogger Kiki said...

You guys should live in Richmond BC, they have ZERO self serve stations, they don't even have stations with one side self and one full. It's a bylaw or something.
I personally am a cheap ass so I hunt down self serve stations.
I do have other irrational fears but I will share those another day.

1:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ME TOO. I thought I was the only one.

2:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love living in NJ because I CAN'T pump my own gas...

My irrational fear is ordering take out. I get terrified on the phone. Will I get the order right? Will I say the address clearly enough? What if the order is wrong when it arrives?

6:16 PM

Blogger myredwagon said...

hmm irrational fears..yep I can relate. I used to have a serious phone phobia. So bad that I couldn't order a pizza with other people in the room. I could speak in front of a room full of people, but a phone call...crazy I know. So I get the gas station thing.

7:00 PM

Blogger Lisa said...

I didn't fill up my own vehicle until I was in my late 20s. I've driven around Vancouver late at night looking for full-serve, driven 20 km off Highway 2 looking for full-serve...

8:33 PM

Blogger primetimetvaddict said...

I have a completely irrational fear of calling to order for take-out (yes I know that is insane). But I always think I hear in their voice this "aw, poor lonely girl has to order take out because nobody loves her" - even when I'm ordering for a group! So I always get someone else to call. I know - ridiculous but totally stressful to me.

7:07 AM

Anonymous ali said...

i HATE getting gas. hate it. with a passion. i try to leave the cars on empty until husband gets so annoyed that he fills them up for me.

hmm...irrational fears? fear of indian food? does that count?
but i tried it last night and it was amazing!

7:18 AM

Anonymous sarah said...

I am afraid of escalators. My father once told me a horrible story about getting his shoelace caught in one and nearly having his foot torn off. Ever since then I've been terrified. I especially hate the down escalator. I've been known to walk the entire length of the mall to take an elevator or the stairs just to avoid the escalator.

10:01 AM

Blogger Laural Dawn said...

I don't mind pumping gas, but I learned the hard way that when the light goes on get more gas. Except I didn't know what was wrong and called a tow truck and he laughed at me and then towed me to a gas station.
But my irrational fear is of laundrymats. I hate them and avoid them. I'm afraid what will happen or that people will steal my stuff. And, a couple weeks ago I got locked in one (in the bathroom) and it was HORRIBLE.
Sorry. Totally get the gas thing.

1:35 PM

Blogger Rebecca said...

Too funny. I work in the media too and have no problem interviewing CEOs of very large corporations, yet I can't talk to cashiers. If they try to strike up a conversation, I freeze, mumble something or laugh nervously and quickly pay up.

4:23 PM

Blogger petite gourmand said...

I so get this.
I always freak out trying to remember what side the gas thingy is on.
I feel like such a idiot trying to figure the thing out sometimes.
But my biggest gas station neuroses is having to touch the gas nozzle with my bare hands.
god knows how many gross germs are on that thing..

6:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are choking at the gas bill beacuse you are filling up with premium!

7:18 AM

Blogger hautemama said...

The gynormous gas trucks filling up the pumps freak me out!! KABOOM. I literally will drive by and find another station.

10:08 PM

Blogger Sheena said...

Oh, ask the fiance about this because you mentioned he likes car racing... whenever I got to a car race, especially Champ Car series, my sister and I have to take a picture of the "truck of death". The big massive tanker full of the race car fuel that they have to put in a big plastic pool of water to keep it temperature stablized.

We always ooh and ahh over what would happened if the kiddie pool it was in ever dried out....

7:41 PM

Anonymous Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

I get this. No fear here, per se, but I don't like to fill up the car.

WHen I got married, filling up the car was one of the jobs delegated to husband.

Seriously, in over 5 years of marriage, I've proabbly put gas in my car about 10 tims. And most of those were at the full serve gas station (with self serve prices!!) that used to be across from the school I teach at. It's now gone.

7:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always had a fear of windsheild washer fluid (filling it up) I somehow think that it's going to blow into my eyes, I got over it though after having to carry a bottle of water around in spring to squirt the sheild with.

My fear I can't get over..... filling my tires. What if they explode?? I happen to know a guy who had a GIANT tire explode in his face. I have to look away while doing it. I also have to do it frequently as I have a leaky tire. Solution? Buy a new car (I did!)

1:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me too!

I was googling "fear of pumping gas" to see if there was an actual phobia name for it and I found your site. I'm terrified by pumping my own gas too, basically I always feel like an idiot. I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

3:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im scared of propane gas. Petrol's fine, i dont have a problem with that but i have a fear of propane gas. it's so weird!

9:18 PM

Blogger Jonjo said...

I have to fill up my wife's car with petrol because she is terrified! I told her i'd search the web to prove she's the only petrophobic in the world and I find this post! great stuff.

3:23 AM


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