What should you always do in the Midwest before driving out of town at night in January?
Very simple. You should just check the weather.
Anyway . . .
So I had less than an hour to go 30 minutes on the interstate. But I needed gas and could not put it off, in a compressed, highly populated college town with far too much traffic. Then there would be driving into town once I got there.
I added $20 at the nearest convenience store with no delays, got back on a street, was soon on the highway, and made the interstate merge.
Watching minutes melt away as miles slowly crawl along while driving is one the oddest helpless experiences one can have. You’re in motion, you’re heading somewhere, you’re doing something. But . . . you’re stuck, only getting there at the mercy of your speed and the cooperation of other drivers and the condition of the road. You would already be there instantly if you could, and you fear not getting there on time and making the whole trip pointless and not getting the thing you needed that set you on the trip in the first place.
The radio helped, and the weather could not have been more boring and I soon found my exit. I might have had almost ten minutes to closing at 9:00 o’clock at this point. Directions announcing in monotone from my phone, I got the main road I needed, then got stuck on a side road into a silent neighborhood. The road looped, one right turn almost looked right but it was only a similar name to the one I needed. I avoided it, found the right one, listened better to the computer directions and was on the main road again. I had less than a mile to go and I knew it had to be coming up soon on my right.
And there it was, still lit up, in a pretty roomy parking lot, the only Advance Auto Parts that had what I needed. Apparently, the only store of any kind that had what I needed.
I got parked, unpacked my dirty old dead battery and walked into the brightly lit store. I parked the battery on their big counter, explained to the guy that I had ordered something online, and did not have long to wait for the lady at the other counter to look it up.
And she told me that she was sorry, but they would have to cancel my order because it was not actually in stock.
A word of advice: never believe in online inventory for stores, and especially don’t take trips out of town because of them.
I was still without a battery after vising nine stores, I had made the trip for nothing, and I had to get back home.
So was it a quiet boring trip back home?
No . . .