Mourning the Jersey Gas Pumps
I used to gaze frequently at the gas gauge, checking its downward progress with keen interest. My eyes always drifted back to the right of the dashboard, analyzing on which etch mark the red indicator pointed. I spent much time each week, attempting to calculate exactly how many days until empty.
I used to be a gas stalker, obsessed with my next trip to the pump.
While I did spend a great deal of time tracking the fluctuating prices of my neighborhood gas stations, my maniacal preoccupation with gas fill-ups had little to do with budget concerns. I simply enjoyed one of the rare perks of New Jersey living: my weekly ten minutes of relaxation while a gas station attendant filled up my gas tank.
I began preparing for the big day a few days in advance, selecting the book or magazine I would read, and stuffing other letters needing my attention in my purse. The gas station is a fantastic place to complete permission slips and bank deposit slips. With all the kids imprisoned in their car seats, I experienced a nirvana-level of peace surrounded by the fumes of petrol.
Ironically, I didn't realize how much I relished my time at the pump until it was too late. Now that I've relocated to Ohio, needing to fill up is a much different prospect. I now exit the car, get my hands dirty with unpleasant petrol odors that it takes days to shed. The kids trash the car and beat each other silly, having freed themselves from their car seats, while I look on helplessly through the window, hand clasped tightly around the nozzle. My oasis at the pump is a relic of the past, and each trip to an Ohio gas station drives me into a funk of homesickness. I still stare at the gas gage, but just with dread instead of impatience.
This is an original NJ Moms Blog post. When not crying at the pump, Vanessa Druckman blogs about cooking and parenting at Chefdruck Musings. Vanessa is now blogging at Ohio Moms Blog while she plots her return to the East Coast.