by Marian Beaman
Mouth agape, wide-eyed and stunned at the WaWa station – I beheld a tee-shirted man holding a frosty drink and belly laughing at me. In the bay just ahead, this guy observed what I failed to see: two traffic cones smashed under my two wheels. Not one, but two—smashed flat!
Seconds earlier I had felt a ripple on my driver’s side tire but my car moved ahead, haltingly. Yes, I had detected some resistance but thought it may have been the metal caps of an underground well for holding gas. No, Siree!
Then I heard a disembodied voice over the service station intercom announcing for all to hear, “Ma’am, you’ve just run over the traffic cones. This pump is out of order. Move ahead to the next one.”
The Frostee-drinking guy took his sweet time to mount his truck, pull on his seat belt and move ahead, but when I cleared the out-of-order pump and moved on to where he had been gassing up, I turned back to see one of the lurid orange cones re-inflate halfway, the other still flat. As I pushed the nozzle into my gas tank though, both smashed orange cones stood straight up. That blessed image caught my full attention.
I could safely remove my dunce cap.
I had just come from a riotous lunch with friends at J Alexander’s. No alcohol, just endorphins from laughter with friends, I imagine now.
How could this have happened? Spotting the station, I had approached what looked like an available pump, maneuvering my steering wheel hard left, a tight hook to line up to the screen and nozzles of the gas pump I was aiming for.
No out-of-order sign appeared in my line of vision. No obvious orange cones either, a giveaway for an out-of-service pump. Maybe my crossover, a high-off-the-ground vehicle, obstructed my view.
Still, why oh why did I do such a dumb thing?
I guess I forgot to take my Smart Pill!
Gratitude: Ultra-flexible traffic cones!
Memoirist Marian Beaman, a former professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville, is the author of Mennonite Daughter, which records the charms and challenges of growing up plain in 1950s Lancaster County. Her story has evolved from blog posts which she began publishing in 2013. She lives with her husband Cliff in Florida, where her grown children and grandchildren also reside. Marian blogs at https://marianbeaman.com where this blog post also appears.