Capture Memories While You Can Still Recall Them

September 23, 2020 –

Today is a productive memory day; I have three thoughts from the past that have bubbled up from 1965. While driving from Atlanta to Tampa, Florida, I stopped to get gas. Service stations provided some service even with the regular gas price was $0.31 a gallon.

Before I got the keys out of the car’s ignition, a station employee was beside the car’s side and said, “Mind opening the hood?” He caught me off guard with his request. I stopped to get gas. And the last time I looked, the gas cap was on the back right-hand side of my car, not under the hood. I pulled the hood release.

I exited the car and came around to the front of the vehicle; the employee had this sizeable circular object in his hands and tapped the ground with it. “Mister,” he said, “this is costing you money.” I did not understand the item he had taken from beneath the hood and was now tapping it on the concrete pad. Dust flew everywhere. His next question was, “When did you last change your air filter?” So that’s the item in his hand, an air filter.

In eight years of driving, I never changed the air filter in any of my vehicles.

“Can I change this for you; you’ll start saving money?” I know nothing about air filters—or any other item under the hood of a car. But I enjoy saving money. “I said sure I’d take a new one.” As he installed the new filter, I said to him, “No one has ever mentioned an air filter to me in the eight years I’ve been driving. Why did you ask me to open the hood, reach-in, take the filter out, and tap the filter on the concrete pad so I could see the dust/dirt coming out the filter?”

His answer “because I get fifty cents for every filter I sell.” I said, “I bet you sell a lot of filters.” He answered, “I sure do. Every car that stops here is a prospective sale, and I close most of them.”

Today, I paid $2.19 for a gallon of gas, and I pumped it myself. I need to learn how to change my car’s air filter.