Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Hermit, High on a Mountain

I think I should just become a hermit high on a mountaintop someplace.

Whenever I try to leave the house for mundane chores, I have what I will politely call: an adventure.

With the new year and a new attitude to try to be more Christian, to do unto others, to be more accepting and less sensitive to perceived wrongs against me...

I went to fill my gas tank this evening on the way to the post office and grocery store.

I had exactly 3/4 of a gallon left in the tank, so drove straight to the neighborhood gas station, which happens to be small and difficult to maneuver in. (Wonderful traits for a gas station, eh?)

This is the same gas station where I once got the Special Ops Dual-lie Ford, w/ trailer, *stuck* between the gas pump and a potted plant.

This time, I'm just driving my humble Blazer, and it's probably a good thing.

I pull in, and there are no spots, thanks to a forklift thing on a trailer taking up two pump spaces. The other two pumps are occupied by a minivan and a luxury car, and the rest are full service, at 50 cents more per gallon. Since it already costs more than $50 to fill up the tank, full service is not an option.

I circle a few times, because anywhere I park in this lot will block other people.
When no pumps have opened, I try to find a spot to idle where I am not in the way of the customers who will need to pull out. Unfortunately, the only possible spot to park is behind a taxi cab that is waiting for its fare, who is inside the mini-mart. Of course, a gas pump opens up, and I should be able to pull right in, except the taxi is blocking me. I can't back up and pull around, because it will put me on the wrong side of the pump. (I need to draw a diagram, I hope you're following this.)

So I honk lightly--politely even--to the taxi driver. He gestures inside to indicate he's waiting for his fare. I wait, car idling, gas gauge creeping even more below the "E." I honk again. Nothing.

I ask one of the man working with the forklift if he would please ask the taxi driver to move because I am almost out of gas.

"Normally, I'm a very patient person," I lie. "But I'm almost out of gas and NEED to get to that pump before I can't drive to it!"

The taxi cab driver yells at me to be patient. I'd been sitting patiently for what felt like a very long time. Finally, the driver pulls up slightly, leaving me NOT enough room to squeeze between his cab and the tow truck.

He waves me on. I pull up slightly, judge the space.

"What are you waiting for?" he yells at me. "Go!"

I pull up a bit more and say, "I can't fit through there."

"Yes, you can," he says. I'm sure he's *waiting* for me to hit his taxi.

The gentleman from the tow truck looks at the space, shakes his head. "She can't fit through there," he says.

I tell the driver, "You're a professional driver, maybe YOU can squeeze through that space. I can't. And I refuse to try."

I'm really trying to be sweet and patient. I point to my gas gauge, which is still hovering just below E. "Look," I say to the tow truck man. "I'm not making a big deal out of nothing. I REALLY need to get this car to the pump before I run out of gas. How annoying would that be, to run out of gas IN the gas station parking lot? "

I commence asking the taxi driver, sweetly, again, to PLEASE pull up. I can't help it if my voice is trembling with anger. I haven't once yelled, and I'm using my sweet girl tone.

Now the tow truck man tells ME to calm down.

He should have seen me last week, before I started practicing patience and understanding. I might used four-wheel low to push the taxi driver AND his car out of my way.

I probably would have felt a lot better about it. I don't feel like the better person, or fulfilled, or even self-righteous right now. I'm over it, because it was a minor incident, but I don't feel great about the way I handled it. I feel like I let myself get stepped on.

Also, if I was busy getting pissed off and plotting revenge, instead of trying to remain calm, I probably would have thought of the obvious solution.

When I got home, I told T.J. the story. Knowing the way I think, and my vindicative streak, he asked, "Did you get the name of the cab company and the taxi number?"




Anonymous said...

I've been there before too! Just for a future reference, it actually takes less gas to start your engine than it does to idle for 10 seconds. ;)

As for the cab company, it's excusable that you hadn't thought to collect the information. You were angry, stressed and frightened to run out of gas.

Tomorrow is a new day!

Jenn Hollowell said...

My boyfriend experienced something similar at our equally small and very stupid-ly set up gas station. In this instance, though, he wasn't at all patient and went off on the people who were blocking the pumps (there are only TWO!). Why did he go off? They were just standing there talking - knowing there was a line of people waiting to use the pumps! There's a line, people! Pull away from the pump, then pay, then talk . . . simple solutions, right? It took a lot of swear words, but they eventually moved. LOL :)

plaidearthworm said...

The only way I get through those infuriating situations is to think that I'm just a cog in some karmic situation the Big Guy has set up. Perhaps the whole situation was to give the cab driver a chance to be a better person, but he just didn't take it. His loss, but at least you were able to keep your cool. :)

Dawn said...

True, Plaid. Although my point of view on it is more self-centered... it happened to test me/teach me a lesson. And I passed, but next time I will do even better.
I have been trying to learn the balance between being a doormat and flying off the handle at every little situation where I feel like I'm being taken advantage of (and taking it personally).
So I kept my cool, but better would have been to get the cab company name and license number.
Next time. :)