Friday, October 11, 2013

Look for lights, Evans. Look. For. Lights.

The year was 1994.

I had recently moved from Arizona to the beautiful (and oh, so snowy) Provo, Utah.

And when I say snowy, I mean SNOWY. ... I knew that it snowed in Utah before I moved there, but I was shocked and horrified by how EARLY it started and how MUCH it snowed. In OCTOBER.

(Don't worry about the all caps. My winter-weather-induced rant will be over in a minute.)

Anyhoo, it was October. In Utah. In 1994. ... In the wee hours of the morning, after a big, fat, snowstorm the night before.

I'd agreed to pick up my friend Kat in the AM and drop her off at work, because her car was in the shop and we worked within two blocks of each other. She lived a good 5 miles away from me, which really isn't all that far, but the drive was going to add another 20 minutes or so to my morning commute, so I was forced to wake up a little earlier than I usually would have. (And we all know that I wake up stupid in the best of circumstances - after a full 8 hours. You can imagine where this is going.)

As I'd recently made a move from the land of Not-So-Much-Snow, I did not (sadly) have an actual snow scraper to my name. Nor, amazingly enough, did I own a pair of gloves.

At approximately 6:00 AM, I walked out of my apartment and into the darkness that is a Utah winter morning and, I am sure, said some choice words when I saw that it had snowed a good six inches overnight. (I'm getting all tense and irritated, even know, just remembering those frigid winters. Ugh. ... I'll take 117 degree summers, any day!) I made my way to my car and commenced wiping the snow off the car with my arms, then used my driver's license as a snow scraper.

You heard me. I used MY DRIVER'S LICENSE as a snow scraper. Without gloves.

After I'd cleared the snow, I fumbled through my purse with my frozen/numb fingers and pulled out my keys so I could unlock the car and get in and turn the freaking heater on.

Oh, except that the key wouldn't go into the lock. Weird. So, I tried again. And again. And again. ... Until I realized that the 4-door gray sedan I was trying to get into had a gray interior. ... And my 4-door gray sedan had black interior. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the car I was trying to get into was a Honda. ... And my car was a Mazda.


Rolling my eyes, and shaking my arms at the sky, I shuffled away from the gray Honda and trolled the apartment complex parking lot, looking for my own snow-covered gray Mazda. (I'm sorry to say that it's been almost 20 years, and I am still unable to remember where I park. Like, ever. ... I wander in parking lots a lot. Reason #324 why I was meant to have a driver.)

Upon finding my own car, I wiped the snow off the windows/hood/roof/trunk with my arm. Again. And commenced to scraping the ice off the window with my driver's license. Again.

A few (long and semi-frozen) minutes later, I was in my car and headed to Orem to pick up Kat.

Oh, except that the needle on my gas gauge was pointing straight at E.

Did I know that I was out of gas the night before? Yes. Yes, I did. But, because I like to buy myself gas station breakfasts, I'd put off buying gas until the next morning. Had I forgotten that I needed to buy gas, when I'd gotten up that morning and then delayed my actual departure time because I had to clean, not one, but two, cars after a heavy snow fall? Yes. Yes, I had.


Being the wonder problem solver that I am, I did not panic. Instead, I mapped out a route up 9th East and over to University Parkway that I knew would take me right past a gas station, where I could fill up and then head up the hill to get my friend.

I chugged up 9th East and pulled in to the gas station on the corner across from Kent's Market. (For those of you who didn't know Provo in the mid-90's, Kent's is now a BYU Creamery and the gas station is now, I think, a jewelry store. Or maybe a Subway. Or both. ... Which I know sounds ridiculous, but I'm telling you, Mormon college kids heart sandwiches and getting engaged - and they'd love to be able to stop by the creamery on the way home for a double scoop, I am sure.)

As I pulled into the gas station, I pulled up alongside the pump, and then got out to start my gas pumping before I headed in to get breakfast.

Except the gas wasn't flowing out of the pump.


That's weird.

I put the pump back into the tank, took the pump out of the tank and flipped the lever that would signal the tank to let the gas come, and it didn't do anything. So, I tried again. And again. And again.

And still, the pump was dry.

At this point, I was starting to get frustrated. I mean, I'd already wasted a good three minutes cleaning off a stranger's car. And now, I couldn't get the darn gas pump to work so I could fill up and go get Kat so she'd be to work by 7:00.


So, I did the only thing I could think of.

I got back in my car and pulled forward to the next pump, then got back out of my car and tried that tank.

Still nothing. No fumes, even.

And that's when the first car started honking. (Have I mentioned that this is a fairly busy intersection in a college town, so there's almost always a line of cars... even at 6:30 in the AM?) Once one car honked, it became a free-for-all. There was a line of cars in front of the gas station, waiting for their red light to turn green and there were drivers honking at me, gesturing at me, pointing to something behind me. And laughing.

And that's when I turned around.

The gas station? Yeah... The lights weren't on. Because they weren't open yet. Which is why the gas wouldn't pump. 

True story. (Can I tell you how much I love the advent of debit/credit cards and the fact that, now, almost all gas pumps are manned with credit card machines that will allow you to swipe, pay for, and pump gas 24 hours a day? No. No, I cannot. Because there are not words for that kind of love.)

Epilogue: I did not die of embarrassment. In fact, at that point, I'm pretty sure I threw my head back and laughed out loud at my silly self, gave my honking friends a double thumbs up, and then got in the car and prayed my way to another gas station that WAS open, so I could gas up and get myself to Orem. I was a few minutes late to pick up Kat, but I still got her - and myself - to work. Neither of us got fired for being a smidge tardy. And I never ever tried to pump gas at a gas station that was closed again. Amen.

1 comment:

Malori and Jon Saline said...

I. Love. You. You seriously made me laugh out loud!!! :-)