Today was nothing if not eventful. I started the day off with a road trip to U of I to return my baby for one last semester of college. Once the car was unloaded, and the last of the bags were in the dorm room, I said my ‘goodbyes’ and began my 3 hour trek home.
Not far from the campus, I began looking for a BP gas station so I could fill up. But there were none to be found. And by the time I realized that I would never make it all the way back without at least a few gallons more, I began looking for whatever station I could find. So much of this journey takes me through some very remote areas, and the gas stations are few and far between.
At one point I decided to exit off, but 2 obnoxious cars seemed to be competing with each other in an effort to keep me boxed in where I was. Their efforts were successful and I missed my exit. So I continued on. They too continued on with their little game of ‘cat and mouse’ — of which I was rapidly tiring.
I took note of their license plates — One had a Missouri plate, the other Wisconsin. I really just wanted to get away from them as they were truly trying my patience.
I loaded up BP stations on my navigator and noticed one a few miles ahead. So I backed down my cruise control and tapered back my speed in an effort to wiggle my way out from amongst their clutches. I was then able to exit the highway.
I was never so relieved to plant my feet on the ground as I stepped onto the parking lot, heading toward the gas pump. But when I swiped my card at the pump, my anxiety level began to rise once more. I stood there for what seemed like 10 minutes, waiting for the card to authorize. No such luck… And it wouldn’t allow me to cancel the transaction either. So I waited a bit longer before calling the attendant. When she failed to answer, I walked into the station to find out what was happening. I didn’t want to just pull away from the pump in case my card would authorize after I left.
When I walked in the door, I was greeted by a rather harried gas station attendant. She stated that everything had frozen up and she was waiting for their system to reboot to see if it would work. With a nearly empty gas tank, and an overwhelming urge to sit on the couch and put my feet up, canines by my side, I tried to disguise my impatience — realizing that she was doing the best she could with the situation. But I wasn’t happy!
After several minutes, the attendant advised that she thought it might be fixed. So I walked back out to my car. Low and behold, it took my card. As I stood at the pump, she approached my car and I thought she was going to offer me yet more bad news. But she thanked me for my patience. Honestly, I didn’t think I had deserved her kind words for the thoughts I had been keeping to myself. I replied in kind and completed my transaction. Once again, I was off to join the masses on the somewhat busy highway.
Then it happened! The traffic came to a complete halt and I found myself feeling anxious once again. Moments later, the traffic had moved enough that I could now see the flashing lights of several emergency vehicles tending to 2 vehicles in the center median. As I passed the scene, I glanced to see one dark gray car with Wisconsin plates and a little silver car with Missouri plates and immediately recognized them as the cause of most of my anxiety.
Suddenly my ordeal at the gas station seemed rather trivial. Maybe it had been my fate to spend a few extra minutes waiting for a problem to be resolved, rather than a different fate lying ahead on that very same stretch of highway.
Hopefully next time I will just try to appreciate the moment with which I am in, instead of feeling upset because things aren’t going exactly the way I thought they should.
While the trip did last a bit longer than I had anticipated, my car is safely parked in my garage and I am now sitting on the couch — feet up with the canines by my side!