Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Breaking the Benzine Barrier

Long, long, ago in a land far, far away, I regularly took my car to the gas station. I didn't really think much about it, just drove up, stuck the card in the machine and followed the on-screen instructions. Voila, gas flowed, car filled, receipt spewed out and I was on my way.

Then I moved. Far. To a foreign land. A land where they call it 'Benzine'. A land where the pumps don't look the same as the pumps I was accustomed to. These weren't tall sleek pumps with a credit card machine on each pump. No, no. They were short, and squat and, at many of the stations, there was just one machine in the center. A machine I feared.

I generally avoid doing things that would make me appear to be a complete fool; unless I admit up front that I will be a complete fool trying it, and then it's okay. But this was different. This was one of those things that everyone already knows - unless you're 13 - and even then, you've probably figured it out.

But the machine... with all it's funny foreignness, was daunting. What if I pushed the wrong button? Why was there only one machine with multiple pumps? Why was the lowest octane rating the 92 - that was always the highest, not the lowest! What if I somehow pushed the button for the wrong pump, would I then be paying for someone's benzine - someone that wasn't me?

But, I had a solution. I had a husband in this foreign land, one that understood the daunting machine with all it's funny little characters and words. And, he used the car much more than I ever did. And miraculously, the gar always had plenty of 'benzine' for me to consume wherever I needed to go.

So what began as just a fear grew into a bit of a challenge. How long can one live in a foreign land before one pumps their own gas?

Answer: 2 years and 11 months.

I have broken the benzine barrier and lived to tell about it. I pushed all the right buttons; I pumped the liquid gold...

Today's price after conversion = $6.68/gallon, but we prefer not to think in conversions. Instead we celebrate the fact that Benzine in Herning is only 8.95 Kr/Liter whereas the Benzine in Karup is 9.65 Kr/Liter - SCORE!

I did make a tiny fool of myself while returning the nozzle to it's holder but it would be impossible to explain. I figured it out and then scurried back to the car.

I no longer fear the machine. (okay, maybe just a little)


  1. Thats what our Danish husbands do dont they- they shield us so much! Im inspired to write a post now.

  2. Well done you! We've had a car for 8 of my 13 years here, and I still haven't filled it up!!

  3. LOL, fortunately the Norwegian machines are fairly close to American ones, so it only takes a bit of head scratching and puzzlement.

  4. Congratulations!!

    I have one of the merciless husbands. When we lived in Switzerland, he refused to help me if he thought I could do something myself. Oh did I resent that. I fretted and worried, and franctically page through my dictionary, until the whole thing was over and to my surprise I could do it myself, after which I felt very victorious and independent. :)

  5. Yaay@ popping your benzine bud. I think you wrote a post for most of us. i.e. Adults who suddenly cant operate stuff children can and are too embarassed to ask.I luuurve my man shield.

  6. I make Ralf fill the tank, too. It's hard!

  7. I was all fine and good until the day I had to buy gas from this one station that was cash only. By which I mean that you fed the bill into the machine and then you pumped. Attendant? What attendant? Change returned? Never heard of it. So I'm standing there with 200 kr in my sweaty hand thinking.... "Can I get 200 kr of gas into this car? It's not quite empty and has a small tank. What do I do if I CAN'T??!!" Because when you are paying upwards of $6 a gallon, you want EVERY PENNY to count! I stuffed 199.95 kr into the tank before it spilled all over the place. YES!

    And then I never went back there again, even though it was the cheapest gas for miles.

    I can't handle that kind of stress.

  8. Tillykke! Thanks for sharing your accomplishment. I liked your specific answer of 2 yrs and 11 mos.

  9. I am SO glad I have never had to pump gas in Denmark, it looks complicated! I just let Peter do it. :-)

  10. Tooooo funny! I always sit in the car as hubby tries to figure out the middle squatty box in the middle. Our last adventure was, hmmmm, should I put in 200dkk or 500dkk? If I put in 500dkk and it's less will i get change back? I don't see a slot for the return change. Hmm, just do 200dkk and see what we get. So glad we're not the only ones!


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