Monday, February 26, 2007

monday mindgames

Pardon in advance, please, any bad or not-very-well-written sentences. Also any spelling errors, because I'm writing from work, and I have not much time.

Today is Monday. I'm here at work early because Boss B's in Kerala but the carpenter for the project will be here at nine-thirty to pick up the drawings so that work can begin on site. So I'm here to hand them over.
I'm here early, and fuming.
I took the scooter to work today. Regular (leave me my timid fantasies, dears) readers of the blog may remember the aforementioned as a rather elderly Kinetic Honda, scene to King stories. I'd remembered that there was no petrol in the scooter, so I left extra early to fill some at the petrol pump near home.

And there, at half-past eight in the morning, I was ignominiously cheated.
Well, an attempt was made. I still, at first pass, ended up paying Rs. 102 for something approaching one-third a litre of petrol. Of course it was partly my fault for not instantly screaming about the failure of the attendant to show me the zero mark. But I was in a hurry, I hadn't been paying attention, and I was wary of creating a scene. And this is how these people always end up getting away with this kind of behaviour in the first place!
So I stood there, like a silly little smark, and I decided that, despite my immediate feeling that I had been made gull of (oh, and believe me, it was immediate. the attendant had been pouring the petrol into the tank for no more than a few seconds, and the tank looked startlingly empty, and i thought "fuck, i've been cheated"), I would wait to make sure that I was before I began yelling. (i am rather wary of open-foot-insert-mouth. it makes for too much embarrassment.)
So I drove along and watched the tank indicator. It didn't move past the quarter mark. And then I knew. To confirm, and to gain some more courage, I drove home to check with the father. The father confirmed my fears, but, to my horror, seemed to think I would let the matter slide. Do you want some more money to fill petrol, he said. Go somewhere else and do it, he added. Shock!
I refused to stand for such tame acceptance, so I scorned his kindly attempts at consolation, picked up my jacket from the house (one of T's little life lessons: never pass up an opportunity to pick up things you have forgotten.) and drove back to the petrol pump.
There, I proceeded to throw a right royal tantrum (which T enjoyed very much, the crazy creature that she is.), demanding to know whether they thought I was an idiot, whether they thought they could fool me just because I was a woman, showing them the petrol level in the tank and asking them in what planet that looked like two litres, threatening to call the cops...
It was a short, but powerful, performance. I wish I could have seen it from the outside.
"Put one and a half litres of petrol in this tank right now, or I'm calling the cops!", I screamed. (incidentally, arjun, there was a repeat performance of the spittle-on-visor incident. Alas for you that you missed it again.)
After five sentences, one of the attendants filled the tank with thirty rupees worth of petrol. I drove away feeling distinctly that I had been cheated again.
I'm going back there this evening to get a litre's worth. I have the entire monologue written out in my head, so I should be fine.
The T absolutely refuses to be an easy mark.
Await developments, please. Moral support is welcome. :)

Update at half past five:
The T is disappointed at the anticlimactic end to her tale. She returned to vent the rest of her anger, and found that the morning attendants were off duty.
She then went in and complained, in an exceedingly boring and dignified manner, to the supervisor. He then put a litre of petrol in her vehicle, and gave her a bill for the morning's two litres into the bargain.
Either the T is very persuasive, or this thing happens often enough that a litre makes no earthly difference.

Meanwhile, the T is also more than slightly staggered at being apparently excessively memorable. Strangers are coming up to her at unusual places and saying, "Aren't you <insert T's real name>? Hi! I'm so-and-so from school/your Spanish class/some other vague place."
One lovely person recognised my voice. And I'd only seen her twice in my life!!!

The T knows not what to say. She is flattered.

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