Thursday, July 30, 2009

When Gas Jockeys Attack

Road Trip 2009, Day 7: Driving from Rapid City, SD to Moab, UT

When we planned Road Trip 09, we were pretty sure that we didn't want to do quite as much driving as we did the year before, when we went all the way to Carlsbad, New Mexico. That was just a bit FAR.

However, when we do drive, we do a good job of it. We went from Rapid City all the way to Moab, in one day.

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It was a long drive. Jake and I, worn out from our adventures in South Dakota, slept through most of it. We waved at Amber as we passed through Denver (okay not really, but I can pretend) and we marveled at the traffic that was at a literal stand still for miles from El Rancho to Frisco. Actually, we were more just grateful that it was the traffic going in the other direction so we weren't caught in it.

There were two notable instances on this drive:

First was a pee stop that we had to make somewhere in a mountain community outside of Denver, Colorado. The drinks with our Subway sandwiches had suddenly caught up with Jake and I, and we were dying. Really dying. MUST FIND A BATHROOM, STAT.

As we approached the front door of the gas station, a sign ominously announced that the bathroom is for paying customers only.

Okay I can appreciate that sentiment if it's a retail store, or a fancy restaurant, but this? This was a freaking gas station and Jake and I really HAD to pee. I mean, there would be serious leakage if we didn't find a toilet soon. So being completely shameless, I just shoved Jake through the door and told him to GO NOW. I'd appease my guilt after I relieved my bladder by buying some pack of gum or a drink or something.

At least that was the plan until I read a letter that someone had posted at directly eye level in the bathroom, so that whoever is using the toilet just can't miss it. The letter was directed at me, the person not getting gas and just stopping to use that precious toilet. It scolded me for being in the bathroom, and then listed all the reasons why the toilets were for paying customer use only, right down to the actual cost for toilet paper, electricity, water, and the attendant's time for cleaning up after such nasty, horrible people. The nerve of these people and their bladders.

My first thought was, "Good God, I'll bring my own toilet paper if you're that cheap." Then I stood up and went to wash my hands, and recoiled in horror.

More signs mocked me. Written in crude marker, duct taped to the wall, the paper towel dispenser, and the soap dispenser, it was as if some Mommy Dearest had snuck her way in and was scolding me, the guilty non-paying pee-r for using the precious bathroom.

"Do NOT allow Soap to DRIP in the SINK"
"Put your paper towel IN the GARBAGE"

I got out of there as fast as I could, and found Jake standing outside the door with wide eyes.

"Quick. Get out of here. These people are CRAZY." I grabbed his elbow and steered him out of the building, past the glare of the clerk who knew exactly what we had just done. I didn't look him in the eye because I just knew he was giving us a death glare.

"I thought you were going to get some gum or something!" Jake protested.

"MOVE!" Jake knows that tone of voice. The one that I can elicit through gritted teeth that says, You'd better listen to me or you are going to regret it.

Safely back at the car, we breathed a sigh of relief. Mission accomplished.

Tourist Tip #7: Don't make eye contact with the people manning the cash register if you must duck into this particular gas station. Their eyes have lasers. Honest.

The second notable experience was on Highway 128, just outside of Moab. We were on the last few miles of the trip, just winding our way past the Fisher Towers, when we encountered some tourists from Maryland in front of us, who were obviously very taken with the scenery.

They were so taken with the scenery that they were going really, realllllly sloooow. Then, to our shock, the driver's arm extended from his window, phone in hand, taking pictures as he drove.

Crazy tourists. The road is curvy, full of hills, why don't you watch where you are going instead of swerving and taking pictures? Or look, take that pull out and STOP, maybe?

Then suddenly, both hands, then ARMS extended from the drivers side, as the driver completely let go of the wheel of their vehicle and continued to take pictures of the scenery. That continued on and off for a few minutes while we watched, alternating between horror and amusement, wondering if these people would actually crash or something.

Finally we had opportunity to pass them, and we took it.

"Geez, that was rude," Jake suddenly piped up from the back seat.

"Ya people shouldn't drive like that,"

"No, that's not what I mean," Jake yawned. "Like, they fingered you as we went by, Dad."

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