Friday, October 21, 2011


This is not about writing but something that has irritated me for too many years.

I live near the grounds of the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival which, for more than a month, attracts thousands of people to chew turkey legs, watch plays, but crafty stuff, sword fight, and do all the things that represent old English customs from about 1200 - 1700, more or less. Fun stuff but costly (especially the turkey legs and I'm not talking about the damn tights that ride up your crotch and.... not that I'd ever wear anything like that, no sir, not me, never.  Besides, they itch.

There is no train station, metro liner, bus service at the Faire (note how I am getting into the spirit of things) so everyone has to come by automobile to produce acres and acres of parked cars, some so distant from the entrance that some take a lunch so they can snack along the way.  Hillsides of automobile, cascades of steel and plastic stretching as far as the eye can see.  Acres and acres of parked cars each of the weekend days it is open.  And all of those cars make it to the site down a two-lane road forming a parade miles long and manages to block access to the surrounding communities.

None of which bothers me much, except that they all seem to need gas.  The nearest station/snack shop has eight pumps, four on each side, and has two entrances at ninety degrees to each other.  Cars pour in from either of the entrance to gas up, some coming from the right and others from the left.  In a logical world this would present no problem: Cars would line up to take their turns like good little soldiers.*  But we do not live in a logical world.  In the real world car manufacturers have no appreciation of mechanics or the realities of gas stations.  Willy-nilly they put the filler pipe on the driver's side or the passenger's so that it is impossible to have an orderly line.  Instead the cars butt head to head, cutting from one side to another and, on too many occasions, finding that the side nearest the pump is the wrong side.  In older times, but hopefully later than the RenFaire period, hoses were long enough to reach the opposite side of the vehicle, but today the behemoth trucks, SUV's, and even ordinary cars, that is not possible.

What I want to know is why there can't be some standardization?  I don't care which side they want or whether it has a flip lid or not.  Just put the damned filler cap on one side.  Is that too much to ask?

So each Saturday or Sunday a low level conflict takes place as those in line for one side scream at those who, at least to them, cut into line from the opposite direction, or block them from leaving by parking too close. Lesser skirmishes blow up when someone* decides to do a little shopping or have lunch while leaving their car at the pump, but that is a subject for another day.

*except for the occasional oblivoid (e.g. asshole) who ignores social conventions

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