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6:49 PM Fri, Feb. 15th
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Around the Bluhmin' Town: Get pumped about learning something new, Oregon

I don’t like to make fun of people. Well, not usually. But I have to admit, the horror coming out of Oregon now that folks might have to pump their own gasoline is nothing short of mind-boggling.

Yes, it seems two states in our great nation never required (allowed) anyone to have the privilege of pumping their own gas. New Jersey (still freaking out that they might “be next”) and Oregon were exempt from the mundane, inconvenient (and evidently scary) task of filling up their own tanks with petro.

In Oregon, if you are in a small county (40,000 or less), your life just got more complicated. You will now have to know many details about your gas tank that you never wanted know. After pulling up carefully in front of the pump, you will have to swipe a credit card, figure out how to open the flap over the tank, unscrew the cap and then do the unthinkable: grab a hose and start pumping!

What are people saying who must suffer through this? “I do not even know where my gas tank is located, and I don’t want to know!” (Better find out). “I am not about to go to a gas station on the way to work and get gas all over myself and smell like gasoline all day!” (Maybe go on the way home from work?) “It is a safety hazard for anyone untrained to have to pump their gas! (Hmmm, kids can do it). “Why must we be forced to deal with flammable liquids, when we might start an explosion?” (Well, put out your cigarette). “This will create an unsafe situation for children sitting alone in cars while parents are fiddling around with gas pumps or going inside to pay.” (Not really).

Okay, I get it. We adults do not always want to learn something new. I remember the first time my mother learned to pump gas was after my father died. My brother used to go over to her house, drive her car and gas it up for her, until one day she protested and said, “I have to learn.” So off to the gas station they went, and my mother had many “lessons” before, at age eighty, she quipped, “this is a piece of cake.”

The entire “Oregon experience” has caused a panic in the state of New Jersey. Some are worried that they will be “forced” into the “barbaric practice” of gas pumping! One local radio host claimed that she will not “tolerate” standing out in freezing cold, wind and rain to perform a task that only a “qualified” and “trained” person should do!

Yikes! I love this lady. Come to think about it, there have been times it was pretty darn cold in Prescott to brave the elements to stand outside and gas up. And other times I thought I might pass out from the triple digit inferno in Phoenix while at the pump.

Yet, somehow, we all seem to endure!

Dear neighbors and friends in Oregon, hang in there. You can do this! Besides, “mastering” a new task is something to get pumped up about!

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at


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