Last night, my mother gave me and Chuck a special treat: She babysat so we could have some alone time. Chuck and I planned to split up for a few hours so we could shop for each other, then rendez-vous for dinner and light petting.
I drove to a lovely town in Connecticut, Old Saybrook (incidentally, it's where my brother's ex fiancee and I had our first date one year ago. Sigh).
By 6 p.m. I was done shopping. I pulled into a gas station. I filled up the tank. I got back in the car and put the key into the ignition.
Not even a whir, whir.
I turned the key again. Pumped the gas pedal.
I called Chuck.
"Can you come get me in Old Saybrook? The car's dead."
"Um. It might take me a while."
"Where are you?"
"Vermont*. You're really hard to buy for."
"Call roadside assistance."
"^%#&*. &**(*#. Fine."
I called roadside assistance. They told me it would be about an hour. By that point my toes had gone numb, so I decided to wait inside the station.
I didn't know if the station had a policy about loitering, so I told the chunky 20-something clerk that I was waiting for a jumpstart. He could have cared less. His sidekick, on the other hand—an older woman with a bouffant hairdo—was a lot more attentive.
"Oh, hon! Grab some magazines and a candy bar. Sit down and relax!" She kicked the male clerk's chair out from under him and swung it under my ass, then she parked me in front of the dairy case.
So began my Night at the Gas Station.
It was actually (bizarrely) kind of fun. I got caught up on the latest gossip. Amber Portwood pregnant again? Kelly Osbourne modeling a bikini?
I ate a Twix bar and drank a smoothie. I got to observe a typical evening at a gas station. Did you know that more people bought winter hats than cigarettes? That lots of people bought mega-sized bags of potato chips on their way to parties? That no one cared that a pregnant woman was blocking the dairy case? They'd just wheel me to the side? Oh, and Essence of Beauty is buy two, get one free at CVS. Don't let the clerk stiff you on the coupon!
After an hour, I felt a fond kinship for the gas station clerks and patrons. Like maybe I could have been their pregnant mascot (come on, Nathalie Portman lived at WalMart in Where the Heart Is).
But life had other plans for me. Chuck and the tow truck showed up. The dude got the car started. Chuck and I picked up take-out and drove home.
I'm sure my gas station jubilation is concrete evidence that my life is pathetically boring, but as I head into week 38 of my pregnancy, I'd rather see it as a reminder to take time for myself and to enjoy that time. I mean really, I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a smoothie and uninterrupted reading.
What about you? Amidst the holiday hustle and bustle, have you had an annoying diversion turn surprisingly pleasant?
*Chuck better not have gotten me cheese! He of all people should understand.
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