Scary stories from a lovely place
An unexpectedly hard thing about adjusting to life in a different country is accepting that little, seemingly insignificant things are not the same as where you had previously been. Something I could never get my head around in South Africa was the bacon. It was so thin and slimy. And that I never could find lebanese bread.
Back here in Australia the whole petrol thing is driving me crazy. I don’t understand the following things:
a) why the price changes as frequently as it does
b) why it will be one price at one station and then different a few hundred metres down the road. And sometimes significantly different.
None of this was an issue in Joburg because the price was controlled and maintained by the government. It rarely changed, but if it did we were given due warning. The night before an increase the queues at the bowsers would be pretty out of control.
It was so much simpler. I wouldn’t drive past one filling station hoping to find another before my petrol light started flashing. I wouldn’t fill up and then see it for cheaper later in the day. I wouldn’t feel like I was at the whim of profiteering supermarket petrol chains sucking me in with offers of discounts if I bought their groceries at inflated prices. It’s pretty disappointing when you save 4 or 8 cents a litre and then find at the till that it’s only about $3 anyway. And then you buy chocolate which totally negates the saving.
The other afternoon my children, who have taken to rising before 5 each morning, were beyond tired and using violence and tears to communicate their every need. I decided to go for a drive to put them to sleep and get some petrol while I was out. Once I had them both down the stairs and strapped in the car I realised that the bloody petrol discount voucher was still in the house. If I ran back up the stairs to get it tears would certainly freely flow. So I decided to just go and pay the full price and miss out on my miniscule saving.
But then I had a better idea. I remembered that there is a 7-Eleven just down the road, and while they don’t offer petrol at a discounted price, they do sell Slurpees, which is just what I needed on that humid afternoon. So I gave the middle finger to the big guys and paid 4 cents more for my petrol, paid for a Slurpee, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.
The other person who enjoyed it was Silas who didn’t go to sleep, even after the scenic route home. He and I shared the Slurpee on the driveway in the fading afternoon sun, and it was just the thing to perk him up.