Getting gas in Iraq is nothing like pulling up to your local Shell station in Anytown, USA. As with most things with the Army, filling up your car is anything but a normal experience.
It’s bizarre, actually. First, everything is surrounded by T-Walls. This is the only thing that makes sense to me.
Getting a fuel tank hit by shrapnel from a rocket attack would make for a very bad day.
It’s the procedure that is strange. First, nobody pumps their own gas. Since it’s the Army, everything is contracted… even the dude that pumps your gas.
Second, you have to maintain a ridiculous distance from the car ahead of you. See the car? It’s at least a hundred feet away.
When you pull up, the guy hands you a clipboard for you to sign. It’s with that clipboard that he marks down how much gas is pumped. He attaches a grounding wire to the car (to prevent static shock) and begins pumping the gas.
Once he’s done, he removes the wire, grabs the clipboard, and you drive off. By the way, the only english this guy speaks is “sign here” and “okay, good.” Even in the most diverse convenience stores in America, the clerks can say more than four words.
In truth, it’s a good convenience to have. When I head home, I’m going to need a refresher on how gas pumps work.