Thursday, March 16, 2006


I was lazy to do it this time but I relented. Mom parked by the pump and I pulled out my wallet as I stepped out of the car. I hated the fumes. They gave me a headache.

Slipping three crisp RM10 notes through the plexiglass opening, onto the aluminium tray and into the hands of the cashier lady, I get transported back to the Grade 1 classroom of Noranda Primary School, when I am given a piece of purple-ink photocopied paper with identifiable-enough sketches of things that emit a scent. Put a tick next to the things that smell nice, the instructions read. I saw the picture of a gas pump. I left it blank. I saw a picture of a garbage dump. I left it blank too. Then I saw the picture of an insecticide aerosol can. Hey, now we're talking...

As I walked back to the car, the memory reinforced my history of aversion to the nauseating toxin (as in gasoline, not insecticide. Insecticide still kicks @$$). Even Harry Potter uses it in wizardry warfare.

"EXPECT SOME PETROLEEAAAAHHHM!" I hear him cry out in the trailer for the Prisoner of Azkaban. (It sounded something more like 'Expecto Patronum', but when in a life-or-death scenario, pronounciation isn't too high on the priority list.)

Unscrewing the cap where the liquid of all evils was contained and hauling the injection pump out of its storage latch, I inhaled one last breath to hopefully last me through the fill-up.

A timid forefinger pressed on the trigger, and the pump jerked as a surge of fuel shot through in a fit of mechanical rage.

I watched my mom in the driver's seat, bopping her head contentedly to a pinch of overplayed radio candy. Ignorant fool, I thought. To leave me alone, risking life and limb in a sensory numbing environment, should a careless smoker toss a stub in my direction while I stand around oblivious to a gas leak sneaking up on my toes. Or should a careless executive take a call on his cellular phone from a managing director whose capitalistic life wouldn't be too affected by the fatal explosion at a gas station miles away from the safe confines of his mansion downtown.

It was at this thought when I realised that my lungs were beginning to give in to the pressure of air fighting to escape. I looked at the meter - only halfway through. There was no way my breath would hold for the rest of it. I let it out in spurts, thinking of the paracetamol overdose I would probably be indulging in after this monstrous olfactory encounter.

I ran out of breath. I released my ribcage.

I found out that at the exact moment I did so, an overbearing waft of fumes had already crept out of the fuel tank and had been fervently waiting to rape my defenseless nostrils.

It entered, filling my head with the suffocating wrath of flammable hydrocarbons.

It was full of horror. Of despair. Of a thousand lifetimes of human suffering. Of the Numa Numa song and For Love Or Money reruns.

...Then indifference.

Then adaptation.

Then playgrounds. And dandelions. And Kristin Kreuk in a vat of melted chocolate.

A smile crept up on my lips and from them, the universal expression of peace and eternal love oozed out.


I finished pumping, slowly opened the car door and collapsed into the passenger seat. I didn't want to talk. Or move. All I wanted to do was smile and make love to the birds and the bees. Life was da shiznit.

My mother shifted nervously in her seat.
"You know, I forgot to turn off the engine..."


My hippie persona was bludgeoned to death on the spot and life shifted itself back to its state of greasy food, lack of exercise and decay of responsibility.

At least I was alive, and the tank was full.


Blogger Joy / Quilana said...

Mmm.. I love the smell of petrol. And glue. And marker pens. I can't stand insecticide though. Unless I'm using it excessively to stun ugly Gecko lizards.

7:37 PM  
Blogger CasAzrael said...

Mmm.. I love Kristin Kreuk ^^
especially in a vat of melted chocolate... oOOh topped with powdered sugar.

10:22 PM  
Blogger commonjack said...

how do you do that? make a simple act of filling petrol in your car sound like a mini-epic? and at the same time put in images of kristin kreuk in a vat of chocolate plus a little bit of numa-numa song for effect!

your talent is boundless. boundless i tell you!


12:48 AM  
Blogger Kaki Cucuk Langit said...

RM30.. full tank already?

wah, what car u using laaa??? even kancil now need at least RM45 to do full tank.

unless u talking half full tank beforehand la.... heheheheeh.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Jerral said...

I once ate a foot long hot dog while pumping petrol at Projet. I ended up throwing up violently about 15 minutes later.

Of course, I also had Nasi Kandar with tons of Kurma Ayam and Mutton curry right before that.

And Nasi Lemak with extra Sambal just before Nasi Kandar.

But hey, I still blame eating in petrol hazed environments for the violent esophagal exercises.

12:00 PM  
Blogger disco-very said...

i love the smell of glue, marker pens & fresh paint. but i do however have a soft spot geckos no matter how icky they are.

dessert doesn't get any better than that.

you flatter me too much! *playfully slaps your shoulder*

kaki cucuk langit,
half tank it was. :)

wow, talk about detail... at least the food sounds good. damn petrol hazed environments indeed.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Joy / Quilana said...

Mmmm fresh paint.

I'll let the soft spot for Geckos slide. But only because you're my hoochie momma.

8:25 PM  
Blogger cyber-red said...

my gawd u get high on petrol gas? lol..

i do sniff them but not get high mad like u LOL

i like that art glue smell too..

my gawd WE ARE JUNKIES!!!!

shesh man..

1:26 AM  
Blogger Silencers said...

LOL the cellphone-spark-triggers-explosion thing was a complete hoax fyi :p but if sniffing petrol can get me to hallucinate about my favourite actress covered with melted chocolate hmmm..... but as they say, fantasies cost lots of money.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Jay said...

Hey Davs, I guess you're the only person on the face of this earth that can take a trip to the gas station and turn it into Terry Pratchet walking down the Yellow Brick Road with Tonto and Keith Richard on acoustic guitar singing the Dark Side Of The Moon..backwards.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous damion said...

there's something called a latch...
whereby you could latch the pump trigger and leave the petrol filling to automatic while u stand away at a small distance you know...
you don't have to stand there and smell the fumes,
the fumes are toxic and hazardous in the first place... o.O

1:13 AM  
Blogger disco-very said...

does that make you my pimp daddy? i like pimp daddies.

they're renovating the office today, i've been smelling shellac all morning. everytime i close my eyes i see the face of God.

i'm aware of that, but the little mobile-usage-not-allowed signs still leave me uneasy. :P

i didn't get any of that but i trust that's a compliment. thank you, and you seriously have to give me an education.

but if the fumes *weren't* toxic & hazardous then it wouldn't be fun.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Loong said...

I can just picture ol' Harry Potter putting in some fuel into his car from the wand while shouting that phrase out. Very funny indeed.

11:38 PM  
Blogger disco-very said...

thanks, although I can't relate to anything more than that... I didn't watch any of the films. :P

7:37 PM  
Blogger mob1900 said...

don't worry, you won't die a cheap death from filling petrol with the car running. all malaysian families does THAT to their children to give them a sense of bravery and take the melancholy out of living here. Hey, if you've done that and live, you would expect ANYTHING. And oh, you will be addicted to something wether you like it or not.

4:38 AM  
Anonymous Jack said...

I'm with dilettante on this one...
How do you do it?

This ability to see drama in petrol fumes.. Ever thought of trying your hand at screenwriting?

This blog is one helluva of a read. Thank you. I think your literary sense of comedic timing is amazing, and your sense of humour leaves my sides aching.

10:34 PM  
Blogger disco-very said...

shucks, for it to be an intentional act just strips the fun out of everything.

Not sure if screenwriting is my thing, neither am i sure if writing is something I could do as a full-time job at all. The way it is now, I always look forward to writing in here, and it's easy for me to grasp a fresh feeling with every entry. thanks very much for reading and your encouraging comments. a bit too much to digest, but very sweet of you :)

12:05 PM  

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