We all have to do this. Fill up the car’s fuel tank at the petrol station. With the price of oil dropping by about twenty percent we would expect a similar drop in petrol. Not so, it has dropped, but not by as much as the Brent Crude oil price. It figures. The companies have to make up for the lower price by holding onto the higher price paid at the bowser for their dear life or dear profit. ‘Our Dear Brent Crude give us our daily Bollinger Oh la la French Champers;

The oil devout execs must be praying, eyes slanted piously upwards.

I can’t think of anything less inspiring than poking the fuel hose through the inlet opening of the fuel tank. In my car it has a spring loaded cover under which is a black cap with below it a dire warning ‘Diesel.’ It is about as far as my reading goes. Just one word, ‘Diesel’. However on the bowser itself are several items that one can read. ‘Please pay before moving car’ is one sentence, but there is more. Several options and grades of fuels with their different prices to study, but,… there is more, much more still. ‘Spend another five dollars you get another 4c off’ it states frankly but insistently.

Those words include vivid images of an ice cream called ‘Gay-Time’ and a slanting open soft drink bottle. (usually a 600 ml Coke bottle). The slant and the gushing out of the brown liquid is to invoke a kind of latent or hidden thirst in the petrol purchaser, almost imagining the fluid going down the throat and giving the two second joy as a decoy for true happiness. That’s what those images promise, true satisfaction of fake thirst sated and a more happy, happy feeling.

The problem is that once the hose is in the aperture one just has to watch the bowser tick over. This is when an overwhelming ennui takes over. I am desperate for a diversion, any diversion away from the maddening ticking over of the bowser. But I get drawn in each time. It is an addiction. I don’t want to miss out on the exact Fifty dollar amount that I always use as a limit and aim by the cent to achieve this. Don’t ask where this originates from. Perhaps the bombing of Rotterdam or maybe the Kipfler potato.

It is a small ambition, I know, but heaven help me out of this dreadful concentration of such a stupefying event. As I get nearer the fifty dollar mark my concentration reaches fever pitch. I slowly, cent by cent increments crawl towards the forty nine dollars eighty eight cents and then take a breather, surveying the situation calmly, collect my thoughts and try not to look down the floral blouse of the lady next to me, also bending and busy with bowser. I ignore the distraction and bravely continue on till the Fifty dollar is reached, right on the dot. Such triumph!


I walk to the garage and hand over my previously extracted fifty dollar note that I have kept in my closed fist just for that purpose. ‘Receipt?’ ‘No thanks.’ I walk out, relieved it is over.

And that’s that.

PS: The pictures are mine and totally unrelated to the article.

Tags: Bollinger, Brent oil, Coke, Diesel, Gay time