Wednesday, September 24, 2008

If Anyone Can, Jerrican

Who’s Got A Stormy Petrol Story?

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Next time you’re in the vicinity of Whitehorse, go and say "G’day" to Charlie McLaren, who runs Shadow Lake Expeditions. He’s an architect, he’s passionate about the Yukon, he’s a mine of information about the region’s history, flora and fauna, and I reckon he has a significant percentage of adrenalin running through his veins.

I took this shot on his property. It was about nine o’clock in the morning and the autumn weather was cool enough for me to don a sweater. I took a few shots of the canoes, life jackets, ropes, oars and other equipment before I noticed this cluster of jerricans.

They caught my eye because there was a slight golden tinge to their surface as the soft light, dappled during its passage through the trees, played on them. I just thought it was a really interesting image, especially because the jerricans were at a variety of angles, rather than arranged in military fashion. The black caps also created a unique stop-start pattern across the bright colour, so I composed as tight a frame as I could.

The only time I’ve been completely flummoxed at a service station was three years ago, when I was travelling in Muskoka, from Gravenhurst to neighbouring Port Carling. I was due to drive back to Toronto later that night and I wanted to make sure I had enough fuel in the rental car, so I pulled in to the first service station that I saw.

I did very well here - for a while. I remembered that the fuel tank was on the right, unlike my own car. I remembered that I was sitting on the left of the car, unlike Australia. And then things fell apart. I could not lift the fuel nozzle off the bowser. I tried sliding it off. I tried lifting it off. I tried it with my left hand. I tried it with my right hand. I tried everything, short of singing to the nozzle.

That’s when the attendant used the PA system (reserved, no doubt, for absent-minded professors and aberrant Australians) to tell me that I had to first press a lever and then lift the nozzle. Oh, the embarrassment.

If it wasn’t late September, I would have thought it was April Fuels Day.


For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

24 comments:

lime said...

salright, mate. once i couldn't open my own gas tank on a car we'd recently purchased. i gave up and went home. my husband laughed.

Lori Lynn said...

Hi David - thanks for stopping by my blog and your kind comment. It is funny that I found out about Palos Verdes Photo, which is where I live, from you in Australia via Merisi in Vienna. Ain't that fantastic? Gotta love blogs!

Katney said...

Ah, one of the dear romantic things my hubby does is keep my car fueled up and oil checked and all that. I do remember how when I have to ,though--usually.

RuneE said...

Knowing several Australian professors, I'll mention this post to them ;-)

imbeingheldhostage said...

Thank goodness for those really loud PA's -- otherwise you may have been able to get by with only a little bit of humiliation rather than having it announced to the entire community. April Fuels...funny stuff!

Old Wom Tigley said...

Excellent J post... I have a collection of these ... I never go off road in the land rover without one or two..... it is not just in case of running low on fuel but the extry weight over the back wheels comes in handy... ha! it counter balances the heavy weight that is driving..

CrazyCath said...

Over a PA? That's cruel!
I would have died on the spot.

Great J post. Would never have thought of jerricans.

GoneBackSouth said...

I once couldn't open the gas tank on a car. Gave everyone in the queue behind me a good chance to guffaw at my doziness. Got home and my husband explained that the door had broken and you had to open it by slipping in a credit card to force it open. SIGH.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I paid about $13.00 dollars for 3 gallons of gasoline in my five gallon can. Something is wrong about that. Your bright red can sparked that memory.

I have nothing so special but I did post a scene I photographed on Canon Pixels right after color slide film came out in 1954.

Abraham Lincoln
Canon Pixels

Mojo said...

I just had to groan at the title...
I guess the most embarrassing stories I have from the pump are the times I've forgotten where the filler neck was. Happened to me with my '74 Austin Marina (which I had only bought less than an hour previous) and again with a borrowed pickup truck. What was embarrassing about the second story was that once I realized the cap was on the far side, I got back in, drove around the island and still parked with it on the wrong side.

leslie said...

Goodness David! A perfect story to go along with your perfect photos! I see why you took the shot - there really is a yellowish tinge on the red jerricans. Nicely done.

Seamus said...

I still can't lift the gas nozzle - mostly because of fear of the tally after pumping!

Sandi McBride said...

April fuels day! And I'll bet you typed that with a straight face! Fun post...jerricans...haven't heard them called that in years...ah, the memories lol
Sandi

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Interesting post (and neat photo), David; I didn't groan until the last sentence! April Fuels Day??? :::shaking head:::

CK-II said...

'April Fuels Day' is a day without fuel. Haha! Happy WW! :)

Suzanne said...

Good story and I'm all too familiar with the voice coming over the PA...unfortunately.

Bear Naked said...

I have a confession to make.
I have never attempted to put gas in my car by myself.
In my town there is a wonderful gas station that still has gas attendants to fuel up your car AND they clean the windshield.

Bear((( )))

Maggie May said...

That was embarrassing using a PA system to tell you how to lift it off.
I couldn't open the bonnet once!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

l couldnt think of much with a J...so am amazed at everyone's creativity

raf said...

Know that feeling, David, when you're suddenly hearing a mysterious voice from someone somewhere who is watching your every move and announcing to the general public that you lack any saavy about how simple things work - at their place anyway. Grrrr.
Great post for ABC!

babooshka said...

You just attract trouble! All good material fo us though.Love the pun this week

Louise said...

The only time something similar has happened to me is when the nozzle wouldn't fit in the tank. I did everything you did. Left hand, right hand. Twisiting it this way. Thankfully I noticed the color on the collar-thingy before I forced it in (and also thankfully no one came on the loudspeaker to tell me I was a "fuel"). It was the diesel nozzle.

kouji said...

fascinating. we don't have any self-service gas stations over here where i live.

Kim from Hiraeth said...

That makes an interesting composition!