Life Lessons From an Abandoned Gas Station

If you haven’t read Family Road Trip Arguments: Vol 1 I highly suggest you go read it now. A few days ago my family had the lovely adventure of driving from my parent’s house on one side of the state, through my college town, to my grandmother’s house on the other side of the state. Today we had the joy of making the return trip. For the seven years in which I have been a proud owner of a legal and valid drivers license I have offered to do part (and by this I mean I would love to do all) of the driving on family road trips. My mother is scared of everything and my father works in car insurance so alas I have never been allowed behind the wheel.

Today as we were 2 hours into our lovely (thankfully close to argument free) adventure my father partook in his lovely habit of finding the rumble strip. He continued to indulge in this hobby a few too many times. My mother began to complain. For the first time in seven years I was asked the question I had waited so patiently to hear.

“I’m pulling off at the next exit. Will you drive?”


“Of course dad, I don’t want you driving if you are too tired.”

This was my moment. Me, the open road, my mother complaining about how life in a big city has caused me to drive a little too defensively for her liking. I was 22 years old and I was finally going to be entrusted to drive a car I had driven a million times, on a road I had driven hundreds of times. He pulled the Nissan off the intestate, got out of the car, I packed up my backpack so he wouldn’t snoop too much, got out of the car, and

“Oh Shit”

We had a flat tire. At an abandoned gas station next to the interstate, on the Saturday after Christmas, my dad had gotten a flat tire. Not just kind of flat. Rim on the concrete flat. Tire shredded flat. No clue how it happened, but it was flat. Now I have changed a tire before. I would have loved nothing more than to change a tire again. I wanted to be home. I had plans. I had places to be. I was bound and determined to flee my ass from my family as fast as humanly possible. There was only one problem. My parents had a few too many reasons as to why calling AAA was a much better option.

“I’m not sure we even HAVE a spare”

“We do have a spare, but it is a space saver spare and I don’t feel comfortable driving all the way home on it”

“You can’t jack up the car, you’re a girl and the car is full of delicate, expensive Christmas gifts, I don’t want you to break anything”

“Your father can’t jack up the car, he has a bad back”

“We pay for AAA for a reason, it will only be 45 minutes”

“When AAA gets here they will have a spare that is stronger than ours and then we won’t have to worry about anything happening to this one”

I could have killed them. I’m shocked I didn’t. The AAA guy ended up using our spare. The AAA guy ended up saying there was absolutely no harm in jacking up the car the way I was planning on doing it. The AAA guy was 45 minutes late (past the 45 minutes we initially waited). So basically I learned that I was 110% capable of changing a tire in a parking lot like I had done several times before. I also learned that my parents are crazy and abandoned gas stations don’t have bathrooms. All things considered, I’m glad my next road trip will be parental unit free, and my next family road trip is still 2-3 weeks away.


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