That ‘I forgot something’ feeling

We all have done it; we go to the store with five things on our list and come back with four. We usually forget the one we went there for in the first place. I have done it so many times I almost always make myself a note, only to forget the note. As I have grown older, I have learned to become a creature of habit with things that matter, especially like keeping my truck keys in the same place next to my wallet and my train pass in the pocket of my work bag. I also am a big fan of gassing up my truck when it’s half empty.

One morning three weeks ago, the radio told of an Amtrak derailment in Penn station, it was a sign of a very long commute. I switched to plan B, which meant missing my nap and driving to the city. Since I was near the Port Jervis parking lot, I gathered up our of my train pals, and off we went.

It seems the excitement of sharing a ride led to boisterous conversation, and before I knew it we were on the approach to the Lincoln Tunnel and I realized I hadn’t stopped for gas.

At the end of the day, I left a little early to beat the traffic. My passengers chose to take their chances with the train. As I stood in the waiting area of the parking garage I kept telling myself, “I need to get gas.” I even wrote a note and left it on the passenger seat to remind myself. The trip home was an exciting change of pace from my regular commute. It was a beautiful spring day and I was enjoying the sights. I opened the sunroof to let some of the fresh air in, turned up the tunes and was cruising up Route 17 in New Jersey. My mind began to drift, and at some point so did the note, right off the passenger seat.

I must pass at least 25 gas stations along the way, the last ones being at Middletown along Route 84. The exit whizzed by in slow motion in the corner of my eye—it was only then that I realized I had not gotten gas. The next station was not until Port Jervis, 14 miles away. Looking at the gas gauge I thought it would be OK. Just then the low gas light came on. I didn’t even know there was a low gas warning light, and here it was blinking like crazy, adding to my stress level. Calming myself with a false sense of hope was all I could do at this point.

My next obstacle was a hill that rises to 1,300 feet and offers a beautiful view of the valley below. If my truck could just get to the top I would be practically able to coast into the station and glide right up to the pump. Best-laid plans never work out. Here before me were two tractor trailers side by side struggling to get to the top of the hill. I was doomed for sure; the more of a slant my truck was on, the more the gas in the tank would roll away from the pump. I started to sweat the longer it took to get to the top, each foot seemed like a mile.

But luck was on my side this day, I did get to the top, and I did coast down the hill and into the station. The pump and the attendant never looked so good. Note to self: don’t forget the gas.


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