Life in a Teardrop

Trust, fuel and random strangers

I slammed the door to the Jeep and just screamed, fighting back tears.
Craig was trying to be as supportive and positive as possible but I could tell he was sick of me. Heck, I was sick of me…and him and life and this trip.
The words “what were we thinkinh had left my lips more times than I could count that week, craig had hurt his back, we were in the middle of nowhere and now my phone was toast.
I had just left the Verizon store after being treated with completely patronizing behavior from the punk kid behind the counter (yes, because I am now an old woman) whose hair made him look like he should be a backup singer for the band Sugar Ray and he wasn’t even the one helping me, no, that was a sweet young girl who was being completely patronized by this little ass the entire time.
It was windy and frustrating and I just wanted to go home where there were at least three Apple Stores within driving distance, I could walk to my car without feeling like the wind was blowing ice cold razor blades across my face and the landscape was something different from the grey/brown blanket that was unrelentingly poured out in front of me.
Remembering that I had no home to go back to, I put the car in drive and began driving north toward our next destination. We drove in silence until the loud light that alerted us that there was only two gallons of gas left in the tank came on accompanied by a ding that at the time could have been the loudest alarm in the world. Frustration flood back into my body as I remember specifically saying OUT LOUD to Craig that we needed to remember to get gas before we left. We had been really good about not letting the gas tank fall below half and now we were in the middle of nowhere with only two gallons of gas left.
Thank goodness the Jeep keeps track of how many miles to that gallon we get and at the time, we were getting around 16. I looked around and panic set in as I realized we were, quite literally (the actual definition of literally, not the knew one where literally means figuratively) in the middle of nowhere. There was NOTHING in site…NOTHING. We drove. I worked to keep my foot steady on the gas pedal in order to conserve every last fume. I was stressed. We had maybe seen three cars in the past half an hour and the climate was not friendly. We would have been ok since we are traveling with our house, but this was just the last straw for me. I was spent. This trip was not fun. Period. And, now, because of my frustration, we were in this predicament. My being distracted by what was happening with my phone and my general disdain for everything going on had led us to the middle of nowhere literally running out of gas.
A self-loathing spiral began when suddenly, out of nowhere there was this building off to the left. Hoping it was a gas station, I began to slow down. It wasn’t a gas station but rather this completely random restaurant…well, a restaurant meant people and so I began to pull off into the driveway having about two miles left before we ran out of gas this man, like a mirage was standing to the side of the driveway dressed in what appeared to be a park ranger uniform. He was giving directions to someone in a black truck so I pulled up behind the truck and waiting working diligently to adjust my attitude because this was the only human I had seen since my interaction with the Verizon guy and my view of the human race was low to say the least.
This man, this Duddly Do Right of a man stepped back from our rig as we pulled up and with the biggest smile said “this has to be the coolest rig I’ve ever seen.” His smile warmed my heart and I began to soften. A nice person. I was so relieved. I told him what had happened and he told me I had two options; I could drive 23 miles to the nearest actual gas station OR I could go into this tiny town where there was a gas pump. Huh? Well, I seriously only had MAYBE two miles worth of gas so the gas pump is what we would have to do.
My mistrust began to set in again as I pulled away from this man toward the abyss that was the landscape we had been driving in. We followed his directions to the letter and suddenly about a mile up the road, a tiny house appeared and then another and then another and we were smack dab in the middle of this random tiny town and then just like the man had described, there was a gas pump on the side of the road. Just a pump. In the middle of this cluster of houses.
Honestly, it was the strangest thing I’ve seen in a while.
Praying the credit card machine worked because there was no attendant and we didn’t have enough gas to get back to our friend, we pulled up. It worked. It was a miracle. We were so stunned and happy that we totally forgot to take a picture which is one of my biggest regrets because I just can’t do justice to how random this little gas pump in the middle of nowhere was.
With a new found sense of hope, we drove off. We got back to the road where our friend was and because we were going in the opposite direction, I honked the horn to let him know we were fine and with the biggest smile…a smile you could see from a quarter mile away…he waved in the grandest fashion to let us know he saw us and wish us well.
As we left our random friend in the distance, the word TRUST kept popping in my head and I knew that I needed to work on trusting again. Trusting people. Trusting that I am always OK. Trusting that I can handle whatever life throws at me.