Monday, April 11, 2011

Getting Gas is A Nightmare, or: Why I Need to Become More Assertive

A year ago, I imagine my worst nightmare involved showing up to my wedding and finding out I forgot to pick up my dress, my honeymoon wasn't planned or worse yet, my groom didn't show up. (Luckily, I was wrong on all three counts!) Now I have a different sort of worst nightmare, and it involves gas stations.

As in: WHHHHHYYY MEEEE, God? Why must there be 150 million other people at this Wawa, and nobody seems to want to make room for our trailer?! And if we manage to score a spot at one of these pumps, how in the hell are we going to make it out of here without hitting another car/person/that giant pole?

I should explain a little. On our way home from our maiden voyage to Lancaster, we had to make a pit stop at Wawa to fill up on gas. We specifically chose to go there because it has a pretty large gas station area, so hopefully there would be enough room for us to make it in and out without many problems. We were able to pull straight into a spot at one of the pumps, but while the car was perfectly lined up, the trailer was sticking out awkwardly to the right. For the life of me I can't understand why the trailer won't follow the same direction/arc that the car does, but I have a lot to learn, I guess. Science (?) was never my best subject.

Anywho, Steve hopped out to run to the restroom while I stayed by the car to watch the pump (there's a role reversal if I ever saw one), and I could've sworn the man on the opposite pump was staring daggers at me. I could just hear him thinking, Damn kids, don't even know how to drive your giant trailer properly. You don't deserve to have one if you can't park it right! Maybe it was just my extreme paranoia kicking in. By the time Steve returned and we had finished filling up, I was sure everyone in that parking lot was giving us the side-eye.

And that wasn't the worst part! Because someone had just snatched away the spot in front of us, we couldn't just pull right out. We had to back out. Cue me whining, "NOOOOOOOOO!" Steve has no time for whiners so he told me to hop out and direct traffic. I did so, but not very well. I kept telling him to "stop" as soon as I saw a car coming toward us or backing out. I didn't want to inconvenience anyone. But of course, since it's Wawa, there's always someone coming or going, and usually a million of them at the same time. And thanks to the crooked angle of the trailer, we were dangerously close to making contact with a pole.

Now you see why getting gas with this thing is such a treat?

Luckily, there was a guardian angel smiling on me, because this wonderful lady came out of nowhere and said to Steve, "Would you like me to direct traffic?" And she literally did. Maybe she's a crossing guard in real life, because she had that forceful "put hand up" move down. I felt a little sheepish when I got back in the car, and then Steve voiced what I was thinking: "You really need to be more assertive."

He's right, of course. I shouldn't be so embarrassed that we're towing a trailer, or be afraid to ask for people to help us out a little. It's just very hard for me to imagine putting myself out in the middle of a maze of angry and/or impatient drivers and telling them, "NO, you have to stop so we can get out first."

Damn...I really should've just hired that lady to take on that role for us...


  1. I've been in that situation many a time. Scenario #1: You spend a long time waiting for a couple of back-to-back spots to open up only to have someone pull in front and take the open spot at the front at the last minute. Scenario #2 (the one you described): You pump gas while planning your exit from the gas station, then someone pulls in front and parks their car in a place which now makes it impossible to make the turn. I've had to ask some bikers to "please" move so I can get out.

  2. yeah, I guess you just sort of have to hope people will be nice enough to let you out!

  3. Getting gas is a real 'chore'..we have learned and..we have a had one bad scenario where we almost hit a gas pump..darn small gas we have been not pull in unless you have an exit stratedgy!..and also only use ones where the pumps run parallel to the store part...not the ones where you drive in and the store is in front of you..good will get the hang of it!

  4. we're slowly getting better at this (or at least at picking out the less congested gas stations). i'd never heard that tip about only using the ones where the pumps run parallel to the store, but it makes a whole lot of sense. will definitely be following that from now on!