Attack of the Seattle Gas Pump

…Or How I Lost My Tennis Shoes

New Balance 435's R.I.P. 2009-2010

Our trip home from Seattle got off to a great start, and I’m not being sarcastic or facetious.  My wife and I got up when we needed to be, and we were both well rested.  We had packed the night before, so we tossed the rest of our things in the suitcases, called the front desk to tell them we were leaving, packed our luggage in the car, and we were off to SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport).

Yesterday’s post must have done some good because we had beautiful weather for the drive to the airport.  I guess the guys at SIB must have called in some favors with Weather.com and God to send us off with an image of a pristine Seattle skyline fresh on our minds (if you’re confused, go back and read the last blog post… don’t worry, those who keep up with my blog and I will wait for you here… where did everyone go?  …Oh, you’re all back!  I’ll continue).  It is the kind of day that would seriously make you think about moving to the area.

Before we could go to the airport, we needed to gas up the rental (I chose to bring it back full instead of having Hertz gas it up) and fill our tummies as well.  We found a Burger King with a gas station near.  We sat down for a bite as well as to relax before we began the arduous air travel experience.

We found the cheapest gas we could in the area ($3.09 per gallon!  and that was for the cheap stuff.  Man, I’m glad I live in NW Arkansas where gas was only $2.59/gal when we left.  That was sarcasm in case you missed it, gas is too damn expensive no matter where you’re at) and filled the Nissan Versa up.  This is the one hiccup in our travel day so far.  I guess it is rather more than a hiccup, maybe a belch, or that really huge belch when you vomit in your mouth a little, but I digress.  Whatever you want to call it, it sucked!

In this area, they have this spring-loaded rubber sheath around the part of the gas pump handle that sticks in your gas tank.  So, anytime you’re getting gas, there is this balancing act of sticking  the nozzle in enough to get the gas in, but not out so far that gas spews all over you and the car.  I find what I think is gas handle nirvana, and then set the switch that holds the squeezer part in place (I know, my gas pump part vernacular is lacking).  Everything is progressing well.  Gas is going into the car, and the price is skyrocketing toward the heavens.  Then, the automatic shut-off kicks in…

The slamming of the squeezer part into the off position causes the handle to be torn from its position in gas handle nirvana.  This spring-loaded sheath leaps into action and launches the handle away from the Versa.  Of course, sir Isaac Newton’s discovery kicks in, and brings the whole handle crashing back to the concrete.  The bulk of the handle lands just inches from my toes, which I am thankful for because that probably wouldn’t have tickled.  I say the bulk didn’t land on my foot because part of it did… the nozzle.  Where the remaining gas in the mechanism spilled upon my left shoe.

Immediately, I knew that was the end of my relationship with my New Balance 435’s.  There was no way I was going to be able to get aboard an airplane in gas-laden tennis shoes.  Nor, was I going to be able to store them in my checked baggage because 1) they wouldn’t have made it through a TSA inspection or drug sniffing dogs and 2) it would have stunk up every piece of clothing in that bag.  In the end, I changed into my flip-flops and dropped my tennis shoes into a trash can in Hertz’s rental car return area of SeaTac.  It is with a heavy heart and lace-free feet that I bid adieu to you my New Balance 435’s.  I’m sorry I’ll never get to see you make the transition to my outdoor work shoes.  R.I.P.

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About Richard Howk

Fiction author with my first novel, Pariah, available December 2nd.
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