I had to fill up my car with gas the other day. I confidently pulled up alongside the pump and got out. I was ready to master this once-simple task.
Dammit! Wrong side.
Leaving New York comes with need for retraining. Getting gas for my car has been among the most difficult tasks to master. I was good at this before I left Seattle. I knew just what my blue Honda Civic liked. Now the gas tank is on the passenger side.
The first time I filled up the red Focus, I put the nozzle in the tank, lifted the handle and locked it in place. Nothing happened. I tried lifting and locking again. Still nothing. I turned to see the octane options flashing at me. Oh, right, gotta make a choice.
The next time, in North Dakota, I made my choice, the low-grade stuff please! About $10 later, I realized I had selected 10 percent E85. Oh, no! I stopped it got in my car to try starting it. It still worked, so I drove the one block back to my hotel to call my brother, the car expert. While I was on the phone with him, I thumbed through the owner’s manual. 10 percent E85 is OK. Whew!
And then there’s the constantly pulling up on the wrong side.
But I have been pleasantly surprised that I could find my way around Seattle by memory. It’s almost like the last three years never happened.
But there are other New York habits I can’t seem to break.
- Grabbing a basket at the grocery store. I’m OK with going to megastores, but can’t get over the don’t-buy-more-than-you-can-carry mentality.
- Stepping off the curb at intersections. Seattleites look at you like you’re a horrible person if you step into the street. Horrible person!
- Sitting in spacious places. I paused when I went to happy hour with two friends on Friday. The table the hostess showed us looked big enough for 8. Surely she didn’t want us taking up this ginormous spot. But it only had four chairs around it. And she did want us to sit there.
- Paying a fortune for everything. Food, cat supplies, clothes and apartments are all so much cheaper! I want to stock up.