Later, after ruining my diet with a handful of deep fried treats, I led a Honduran cigar, a New Zealand pinot noir, and some jazz music out to the deck to bask in a most unusually warm, sunny December afternoon to admire waves on the beach where snow and ice would normally smile a cold welcome.
I tried mightily to enjoy one of the worst cigars I've ever torched, before flinging the stinky stub, after an hour, over the rail. During that hour, though, my mind drifted to a discovery I made 10 or 12 years ago in Chicago while gassing up my truck after a sports show. I was able to swipe my credit card right at the pump, and not only pay for my fuel without going inside, but also order and pay for drive through take out from the next door McDonalds while the tank was filling. Once the tank was topped I simply picked up my bag of supper on the way out of the parking lot.
"If only they had a urinal beside the gas pump, this would be perfect," I thought.
On a recent trip to the U.S. I found that every station where I stopped had a card swipe at the pump (but I didn't find a single next door restaurant, so guess that didn't catch on in a big way - ditto the urinal). But I did learn a tip to pass on to my fellow Canadians.
As part of the authorization process for using a credit card at the pump, one has to punch in the zip code associated with the card holder's billing address. I tried various combinations ( the U.S. zip code is a five digit number - our postal code is a six place combination of letters and numerals ) to no avail. Eventually, a kind, and knowledgeable, attendant told me the secret. "Use the three digits included, in order, in the postal code, then add two zeros to the end. My postal code is P8T 1B9, so I tried inputting 81900. VOILA!! It worked slick, every time.
So, after slinging Stinky Pete over the rail, I came inside to eat a hushpuppy, refill my wine glass, switch out the jazz for Christmas music, pass on this little tidbit to help fellow travelers get from pump to pump, and am now ready to rush out and enjoy the waves massaging the sand as the sun sets in Sioux Lookout.