When you have a car in the UK you’ll realise what I’m talking about. I found out two years ago when I bought a car that there is no such thing as a gas pump attendant. You have to put in the gas in your car, yourself! Imagine my shock and dismay at first…like what the…!
When I lived in central London for a couple of years there was no need to have a car because public transport was so convenient, practical and effecient (most of the time). Then I had to buy a car as I now live so far out of central London. You guessed it! I hit the ground with a thud, gas pump-wise!
In PNG when you go to a service station there is always a gas pump attendant there to fill your petrol/diesel tank. You also paid the pump attendant so one never has to get out of one’s car unless one needs to buy soft drink, ice or bread at the service station kiosk. Here in the UK, out here away from central London, I woke up to hard reality when I bought the car and had to be my own pump attendant and fill up my own gas tank. To pay you can either do that at the machine at the pumps or go into the kiosk to pay for it. You’re given a choice. Not bad.
But as they say, ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do!’. Well, that is true here. I really have no choice at all. I have to do the thing myself. When I started going to the gas station I used to be very self-conscious and fret a little thinking everyone around me is looking at me and saying to themselves what a silly woman I was fiddling around with the pump.
Well, well, well, I’ve come a long way from there. Now I’m just part of an everyday scene at the gas station. I’m one of them and no…everyone is too busy filling up their gas tanks and doing their own thing to worry about me doing exactly what they are doing. I’m not bothered! Hell no! Not anymore. I’m a pro.
A lesson in this is that when one is confronted with something that is strange and a challenge one needs to recalibrate one’s views and actions and get on with it. It is necessary that I learnt how to put gas in my car, and pronto! I needed to learn how to swim. Learning means swallowing the self-consciousness, the shock of doing something you don’t really want to do or something you really don’t know how to. The trick is take a look around and go with the flow there is always a good Samaritan around to help you if you need advice on something so commonplace like self-service at a gas station. I reckon if I had to bag my own groceries at the supermarket, I might as well fill up my own gas tank.
But I may well ask: since in PNG we have pump attendants, does that put us way ahead in this world as far as service is concerned? Or is it just another face of the dependency syndrome? In the final analysis, I’d say perhaps its more a lifestyle sort of thing. In this case, just part of the individual way of life in a big city, this side of the globe.
Learn fast and you’ll appreciate the self in self-service. It really is liberating.