Saturday, January 31, 2009

Road Trip Travails

Some years ago I was traveling back to Arizona from Colorado when I noticed my gas gauge was fast approaching “the red zone” and so was my bladder. Unfortunately, I was in a part of the country where gas stations are few and far between. And, pulling to the side of the road was not an option as you’re winding through mountain passes.

It had come to the point where I was doing everything I could to distract myself from my immediate situation. Just how many verses does “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain” have? As I hit the flatland, I spied a gas station just up the road and, bonus, the sign said, “Clean Restrooms”.

Thank goodness there was little traffic and I crossed to the other side of the highway to stake my claim at the pump. I quickly swiped my credit card at the pump, placed the nozzle in the tank and skipped my way to the restroom. Damn! The door was locked. Skipping my way back to the island-cashier, I asked for the key. She opened the door to her bulletproofed dominion and handed me a bright pink hula hoop with the key attached. What the.....? This was definitely a first.

Feeling somewhat embarrassed, again I’m skipping to make my way to relieve myself of an uncomfortable situation. I placed the key in the door, opened it and flipped on the light. Horror or all horrors – no toilet paper! Okay, back to the booth to ask for toilet paper. For some reason or another, the lady in the booth seemed to be put out with me as I made my request. Through the money slot, she slipped me four; four mind you, sections of toilet paper. No time to argue, I’m back to the rest room with hula hoop and toilet paper in hand.

I entered the restroom and, as I was assessing the toilet seat, I discovered a small packet of Kleenex in my purse. Yea, I can cover the seat and will have plenty to spare. Ahhhhh. I washed my hands, grabbed the hula hoop and strolled back to my truck. I threw out some soda cans, the remainder of the three-day old bag of Cheetos and a banana peel. I then returned the nozzle to the pump.

I approached the booth to ask for my receipt and to return the restroom key. She opened the door for me to slip the hula hoop through and, back at her window, she slipped me the receipt through the cash slot. I’m telling you, she was not the friendliest person I’ve ever encountered. I walked a few steps towards my truck, reached into my pocket and tore off two of the sections the toilet paper I’d been given. I then pivoted to return to the booth.

I had to wait a minute for her to complete her phone conversation with, what sounded like, her husband. As she hung up the phone, she looked over her glasses at me and questioned, “Yeeessss?” I slipped the two sections back through the money slot and proudly stated, “Thanks, but I didn’t need all of this.” Back on the road again, I had to smile.


Anonymous said...

That was a good story. Years ago one station attendant told me that the reason they lock the restroom doors, was to keep people from stealing the toilet paper.

timethief said...

I slipped the two sections back through the money slot and proudly stated, “Thanks, but I didn’t need all of this.”

Good one. I love it! lol :D

Tony Single said...

Me-Me, as I was reading this, I for some reason imagined you skipping with the hula hoop - like a little girl in the playground! :p

Midwest Mom said...

Such a fun story. There's nothing like recognizing stinginess for what it is!

(But thank goodness that gas station came along!)

- Julia

Ram Venkatararam said...

Great post and thanks but...

you know that given my own issues I have to side with the store owner here. Of course, it foolish of them to give you more that one square to begin with. Rookie mistake...

Before I restricted use of the washroom in my store I used to charge a minor administration fee (key handling, maintenance, capital improvements etc.,) and then charge them for toiler paper on top of that.

Then there was the soap surcharge....ah, good times

OMYWORD! said...

Classic. Just classic. I love it. I have crossed the badlands before, watching the gas dwindle and scootching around in my seat, desperate for a pee. One tank is emptying and that's bad. The other tank is overflowing and that's bad. There's some zenlike wisdom in there...somewhere. :-)

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