According to this fine newspaper, there's a new company in town that will bring gas to your house and fill up your car. While I still like to engage in an archaic pastime we call "leaving the house and doing things," this is a great idea.
No one likes to get gas. Let's remind ourselves how dismal the experience can be:
You have to put the card in, then take it out and put it back in again because it goes the other way. (The confusion is not your fault; the little diagram that shows you how the card should go was designed by M.C. Escher, the Dutch artist famous for his explorations of infinity.) Then you have to enter your ZIP code because the pump has the "presume customer is a criminal" setting enabled. "OK, you're good this time, but we're watching you. Begin fueling."
Really? Never would have occurred to me. I'd forgotten entirely why I was standing here with a filthy hose in my hand.
So you choose your grade. There's the cheapest stuff that says "EcoBoost" because it's probably all corn, a middle option that might as well be labeled No One Ever Chooses This and the top-of-the-line Made-of-Money Premium UltraBoost with Essence of Liquefied Platinum.
You begin fueling, and then what do you do with yourself? This is going to take, like, four minutes.
1. Listen to the music on the speakers, which is usually Journey and contains lyrical passages like "don't stop believPUMP TWO GO AHEAD to the feeling" because the clerk broke in with an important message for everyone.
2. Observe the ads. Huh: Enormo-gulp AND a foot-long Butterfinger for $1.99, or a box of powdered doughnuts that have the consistency of beach-chair cushion stuffing with an expiration date so far in the future they could be served at President Oprah's second inaugural.
3. If you are at a gas station that has decided to punctuate your life with hellish intervals of mandatory television, there's a video screen on the pump yelling at you. Soon Netflix will tap into this market and commission 47 TV series with three-minute episodes that you can finish when you get home, and then your TV will have a recommendations section that says "Because you stood outside shivering watching this thing on the pump, since being alone with your thoughts is too terrifying."
It's surprising no one's invented a gas pump that doubles as a slot machine, but that's probably because someone would sit there for an hour convinced this thing is just about to pay off.
4. You can wash your windows. Free fluid! You can even do your whole vehicle, aka a Redneck Carwash. Except the place where I usually fill up never has anything more than a cup of filthy fluid, so the windshield looks like the eyeglasses of someone who wiped them with his fingers after eating buttered popcorn.
5. You can check your phone, except you remember how that used to be forbidden. It might cause an explosion, we were told. Phones have improved since then, but you might get a message with a fire emoji. So you have to ignore your phone for four whole minutes. Why don't you just peel my skin off while you're at it?
Sometimes you have to go into the store. "Oh, man, I have to go inside? I have to walk all the way to the door, and open it? With my hand?"
Here's the $364 million question: Will the guy who comes to your house to fill up your tank sell lottery tickets? Because it would be nice if he sold you a Powerball knowing how inconvenienced you felt having to go inside to get one.
"I say, you're a sporting jasper, aren't you? Jolly good, sir, one dream-ticket coming up! Tho' the odds may be scant, it provides an agreeable diversion for a day, does it not? Do you have any special numbers that provide some irrational certainty, the cumulative evidence of the years to the contrary, or may I randomly generate a series of digits on your behalf? Very good. Here you are. Best of luck!"
It's really a very old idea. It harks back to the days when a uniformed attendant would amble out, ask what you want, pump the gas and check the oil while you sat in your car like royalty. I'm not saying it should be the norm, but it would be nice if it were an option.
I mean, c'mon. Nowadays if you don't want a printed receipt you have to press a button. The modern world is just exhausting.