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I got such a tickle from the simple act of getting our fuel tank filled. Yesterday we drove down to my mother’s house in Astoria, New York to cut the trip to Virginia in half. We had a lovely visit, my mother made us a roasted filet mignon, a gratin of courgettes and baked sweet potato fries; it was delicious. This morning we left early and when we were halfway through New Jersey, I decided to stop at the Walt Whitman Rest Area to get Starbucks coffee, go to the restroom and fill up on gas.

I always forget that the rest areas on the New Jersey Turnpike are all full serve gas stations, a rarity these days. I haven’t used a full service gas station in years, I can’t think of one in Massachusetts, it is such a habit to get out of the car and pump my own gas, it isn’t even on the thought radar to not do it myself.

When I was little, that was not the case; growing up full service gas stations were the norm, not the exception. I remember my father pulling up to the pump and the gas attendant walking over, taking care of the fuel and then washing the windows and checking the oil. My father would pay the attendant and give a nice tip, exchange some pleasantries and we would be on our way.

This morning at the pump, I pulled up and the young gas attendant asked very politely “What can I get for you Ma’am” Yes, I am a Ma’am at my ripe old age of 46, in his defense he was maybe twenty so I am definitely a Ma’am to a twenty year old. He took the credit card and started pumping and then without asking, he started washing the windows, I was so impressed that when he passed by my window, I put a five dollar tip in his hand. He was so pleased that he said “thank you, you’re so generous!” I replied “you deserve it, I haven’t had my windows washed in never” and I smiled at him. When he came back with my card and the receipt, he said “have a great day Miss” I smiled and said “thank you and you have yourself a wonderful day as well” and I pulled away. I graduated to Miss! That made my day. I have to confess that hearing the word Ma’am is slightly depressing. I always thought of it for much older ladies, not someone my age, even though it is a sign of respect I know.

But I was tickled to have gone from a Ma’am to a Miss. It doesn’t take much to tickle my ribs. 😀