It saddens me to report that a 25-year long protest has come to a sorrowful ending.
This is not courageous activism like raw milk crusader, Michael Schmidt’s hunger strike; a protest for freedom of choice and recognition of the importance of farmers and food production in Canada. Mine is a prideful protest.
You see, for over two decades, I have strategically planned fuel fill-ups. When necessary, I’d drive on fumes to the other end of the city or an adjacent town to avoid being a ‘create your own reality’ victim of Self-Serve gas stations. But, on October 29, 2011 at 3:00, I pumped gas into a vehicle for the first time in my life.
The protest started back in the mid-eighties. It was during a gawd-awful “Why-do-I-live-in-Canada snow storm,” where snowplows can’t keep up, the wind is howling 40 miles… and I noticed that the number of full-service pumps at gas stations were dwindling. I’d watch the grimaces of people being pelted with snow while they pumped gas and stumble through the blizzard to the pay station and wonder…. WHY?
When I told others about this little boycott, the response has usually been a dim smile and disbelief. “Really! In your whole adult life, you’ve never put gas in your own car?”
But now, has it come to this? The city of Waterloo doesn’t have one full service gas station? I called Suncor Energy, they say no full service. Husky says no. Esso says no. Shell says no. Our progressive, beautiful city, that represents visitors in the hundreds of thousands, does not serve my needs (and yes, I understand this added service will cost more), or that of seniors or the disabled community.
How does a vulnerable senior or a paraplegic in a wheelchair pump her own gas and then maneuver through snow to pay?
So for the fist time I pumped gas and have one question: “If I can spend $1.40 at a Tim Horton’s in mid-February at a drive-through in my cozy Mustang listening to sweet Jian Ghomeshi’s voice, then why the hell can I not get someone to fill up my tank for $60.00?