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If you haven't already, please go read Sandy's entry for July 26. After I read it (and could quit laughing at the word picture she painted), I sent her a note, suggesting that she might want to do something similar to what I did some years ago---invent-a-spouse!

Back during the 1970's gasoline crisis, I found myself needing to get from college back to my hometown one weekend. This was during the time when gasoline was in short supply, and was being rationed to drivers based on several criteria, the complete list of which isn't important now.

Suffice it to say, I was going to need to stop for gasoline on my way between the two places, something necessitated by the rationing. Headed south on the interstate, I saw a station on the outskirts of Greensboro, and could see that the line wasn't too long, A sign proclaimed that they had plenty of gas. So I took the exit and pulled in.

The station wasn't allowing self-service, to prevent theft. So when it was my turn and I pulled up to the pump, an attendant came to my window. He looked to be college-aged himself, and was a chatty sort.

He did all the station-attendant things, coming back to the car window after each whatever to chat a bit more. Well, I'm a little thick-headed about such things, but finally I picked up on the hint that he had a surcharge in mind for the gasoline, one that involved giving him something other than money. And I had no intention of obliging.

For once my brain kicked into gear quickly. Without stumbling with my words, I invented a husband. I said my husband, who remained unnamed for the occasion, was waiting for me in High Point (the next city after Greensboro on the interstate). I casually mentioned that if I wasn't there on time, he might get worried enough to hit the road looking for me, as he would be afraid I had run out of gas or something.

Since the attendant apparently hadn't noticed what ring I was wearing on my left hand, and since it was one with a wider band, I nudged it around so the smooth side showed. Just in case, you understand.

The story seemed to work. He finished up, got a little less chatty, took the money, and wished me a safe rest of my trip. I got out of there as fast as I could, ring still turned wrong-way-out. And I never went back to that particular station.

But I kept my husband in High Point handy, just in case.

Text © copyright 2000 Becky