Monday, May 08, 2006

Free Air

My brother Tim describes me as: "The only guy I know who can have a deep philosophical discussion with you and then go to set his cup down and drop it because there's no table there."

My mother always tells me: "It's great that you don't care that much about material possessions, but you have got to be a better steward of things."

With that in mind... the tires on my car were low. They needed air. (Are you cringing yet Mom?) I have been looking around casually for a place that gives free air because I'm too cheap to spend fifty cents on it. The tires have been getting increasingly lower because I'm sure I have a slow leak in the front passenger tire. Everywhere I look though, it costs fifty cents to get air. I refuse to pay fifty cents for air, so I just kept driving around with the tires getting lower and lower. Today, as I was driving around, I passed by Sheetz. I saw a sign the other day advertising surcharge free ATMs at Sheetz and I thought to myself: "They are trying to get more people in the door with free ATMs, maybe they are offering free air as well."

So, I drove into Sheetz looking for free air. At first I didn't see the air compressor, and started snaking my way through the parking lot. Then, to my left I saw the air compressor with the words "FREE! FREE! FREE! FREE! FREE!" plastered across it. I thought to myself, "How strange that in this culture where we have so many things, a gas station is actually trying to gain customers by providing them with free air. Air! Something which should be free any-"

Then bang. I drove into the gas pump.

The woman outside was sweeping the parkinglot when I hit the red poles they put in front of the gas pumps. I stopped the car and saw bits and pieces of shattered things flying through the air. (I was only going about five miles an hour but *sheesh*) The lady who was sweeping now stopped everything. She looked up and watched me as I sighed, put the car in gear, and drove the last twenty feet to the air pump. I got out of the car, walked over, gathered my shattered turn signal and other broken bits of my car, and threw them away. Then I went back to my car to look at the damage. The passenger side wheel well was ripped up and the metal was folded in on itself. The bumper was hanging down and the plastic wheel well casing was pushed up against the tire. The whole mess was smeared in red paint with deep black gouges in the steel. I tried to open the passenger door, but the front panel was pushed too far toward the back of the car, and I couldn't open it. So, I yanked on the jagged metal pulling the panel back toward the front of the car and I opened the door. (I can't open it all the way, but it's enough for someone to get in.) Then I stood back, took another look at the twisted mangled front end of my car. The lady who was sweeping the parking lot was now standing fifteen feet away, holding her broom staring at the whole thing. She didn't laugh, she didn't turn away, she didn't pretend nothing was happening. She just stood there, mouth hanging open, staring like a little kid watching her first scary movie. Then, with nothing left to do, I shrugged my shoulders, filled my tires with air and drove to Second Cup.

My mother is going nuts right about now.


Anonymous said...

That story was better told minutes after it happened, but still made me laugh in writing!

You need to write about the bicycle incident too that made me laugh harder!

I love you no matter what!


Jim Elek said...

Atleast you saved the 50 cents for air!!!!

Tim 2 said...

I can hardly see...I am crying so hard...Holy now you are the guy who can have a deep philosophical conversation, and then drive into the gas pump protector beams.

I always asked myself, when standing there pumping gas and seeing major gashes and scrapes in those poles...WHO THE HELL HITS THESE THINGS!? They are so damn large and painted bright colors...who the hell could hit this thing? I guess I just found out!

Nice drivin Fiddy Cent! Whatever you do, don't ever, I mean EVER buy a nice vehicle...

Joshua said...

Well, I'm fairly certain this latest catastrophe spells the death of Willow. I am going to get an estimate sometime this week to see how much damage was done, but I'm pretty sure that it outvalues the worth of the vehicle. I might be shopping for a new car soon...

Mom Elek said...

By the time I got to Tim's comments I was laughing so so hard I thought I would have a stroke.

Mom Elek said...

I'm glad you're okay, Joshua.

While I was reading your blog and everyone's comments, I'm sorry, but I have to admit, I was not cringing. I was laughing hysterically - because #1, you're okay, #2 its not my nickel, #3 its not my car, and #4 I can vividly picture you doing it.

Poor Willow... you really researched before buying, because you wanted a nice car that would be reliable and retain its trade in value. Maybe you can re-sell the mud flaps.

I have also wondered about those protector barriers. But instead of thinking about who in the heck hits them, I just thought to myself, "My mother's driving has created a whole new industry."

The Once and Future Brian said...

That is hilarious! I'm glad you are ok, but man, that is a great story. I especially liked you describing exactly what you were thinking when you hit the pump. I was not expecting that at all.

Mandy said...

Joshua Elek-

I have not laughed that hard in a long time, I can totally see your face when you got out of the car...Tim2 is right those things are huge and painted so very, please tell me how do you hit those things? Seriously Josh you should've just spent the 50 cents.
Your great though!

Joshua said...

Okay, after multiple requests to explain how I could have possibly hit the enormous barriers they strategically place next to the gas pumps, let me explain this to you. They INTENTIONALLY put those things there, close enough to get hit. That's the point of 'em! I'm pretty sure near by body shops actually pay to have the things installed. They're like great big florescent orange tank stops right next to the gas pump! You HAVE to drive close to the pump in order to get gas, which means every time you go to fill up, you're flirting with danger...

So I hit one! It's not that hard. Especially when you can't *really* see over the steering wheel in the first place.

In short, I blame Verizon, and Gary's Body Shop. Gary's because they put the car-smasher there in the first place, and Verizon because phone books are much thinner now that everyone has cell phones. That's why I couldn't see the thing.

Look out, I'm gettin' frivolously litigious. (As soon as I learn how to spell those words)

Tim 2 said...

uhhh...yeah, see there he goes! Careful Josh, start dropping big words like that and you are liable to catapault your laptop into the steaming bathtub you are filling with hot water whilst you are taking the final dump of the day and posting comments on your blog!

Joshua said...

Too true Tim... Too true.

Mom Elek said...

Well, let's think about this now... the reason they have those barriers is because people actually drive into the gas pumps. The gas pumps are a lot bigger, and a lot more obvious than the barriers, and people still hit them. So, I guess its not so strange that you hit the barrier.

While I was partially filling my tank yesterday, I counted no less than seven different colors of paint on one barrier alone.

Looks like you're not the only one, Josh. Its just that you're the only one who can tell it so humorously and humbly.

Thanks for sharing.