I'm by no means an Einstein, but even I can tell when a gas station is closed for the night, or even what state I'm in at the time.
Early this morning I'm doing my regular checks in town and as I'm passing the Deli Mart I see a vehicle parked at the gas pumps. I pull up and ask if they need any help.
"Yeah, this pump isn't working at the attendant is gone..."
"Maybe it's because they're closed for the evening?" I ask the man.
He gives me the all too familiar deer in the headlights look as I explain where the nearest all-night station is. As I watch him drive away, I look around. All the lights are off, inside and out. The pumps are dark and it's obvious that the power is off to them. But here was this mental midget at 2 AM trying to put gas in his car and wondering why no one is around and the pump isn't working.
Second case. This happened last Monday night. I had been meaning to write about this guy but other things happened I wanted to write about so this got put on the back burner until today, when Zippy the Pinhead came along.
I was at the Deli Mart shortly before closing and a guy came in to pay for the gas he pumped. He was carrying a piece of paper and after he paid for his purchase, he asked me for directions.
"How far is it to Rt. 33?"
"Route 33? Never heard of it. Where are you trying to get to?"
"Well, there's no Route 33 anywhere near hear, and you've got a ways to go before you get to Columbus."
"I'm just retracing my route from MapQuest from last week. We're coming back from Florida."
"Just head on back north on I-77, up through Marietta, Ohio until you hit I-70 and head west. You can't miss Columbus from there. It'll take about eight more hours."
"Wow, that's not how we came down. We stopped at the Wendy's down the street and got dinner."
"Wendy's? Here? There's no Wendy's here. You're looking at Athens. This is it."
"Yeah, it was right next to the Burger King."
I silently began to reconsider my opinion on this guy's intelligence at this point but bit my lip...
"There's no Wendy's or Burger King here. Where do you think you're at?" I had to ask...
"Aren't we in Athens, Ohio?"
"No, you're a long way from there. You're in Athens, West Virginia..."
"How did I get to West Virginia then?"
Right then and there a gigantic urge to shout 'The Mother Ship beamed you down to find me!' was stifled and I told him I had no idea. I got a map from one of the guys and pointed out right where he was, where he needed to go and how to get there. I even marked the route out with a highlighter and bought the map for him. As he drove away into the West Virginia night he waved goodbye along with his wife and children in the car...
Oh my God, he's procreated!
Even though I have sort of a sixth sense when it comes to directions and very rarely lose my way I can understand being a little lost some times. It's human nature. But to be over two hundred miles and a state away from where you thought you were? And be totally oblivious to it?
We are doomed as a species.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden