Thursday, February 12, 2009

Go to Newark, and Make a Left

A few years ago, I worked in a gas station on Rt 1 northbound in New Jersey. In addition to the sheer joy of pumping gas, checking oil, and washing windshields for customers who were usually angry with me because it was so expensive, (like my name was Joe Exxon) I spent considerable time giving directions to perhaps the dumbest individuals ever to operate a motor vehicle.
I don't mean the person who got lost while looking for Costco, I mean the dumb bastages who couldn't get to Rt 1 Southbound.

Here's a picture, taken from Rt 1 S, and you can see Rt 1 North, right next to it.

About a mile up the road from my gas station job

And, all day long, cars would stop in and ask how to get to Rt 1 South.

Pretty confusing, because in NJ we have these wacky signs indicating where all turns can be made.

Wonder what this sign means?

The drivers must have assumed that the little wall goes all the way from Maine to Florida, I guess.

But, I really enjoyed that we were near a turn off for another busy road. Constantly, dumbasses distracted drivers missed the turn. Often, they would pull in and ask me how to get back to the road they missed. It was pretty simple, just go up a few hundred feet and take the next turn, but the really friggin stupid adventurous ones backed down the road, against oncoming and heavy 55 MPH traffic. The occasional accidents made my day.

Usually, my fellow pump jockeys and I gave accurate directions, even when the drivers asking were jerks. But, one day, I was just pushed over the edge. Yeah, it's usually not that far, but anyway...

It was pouring rain. Windy and nasty. A horrible day to work outside. We were sitting in the office (the station was an older one, and didn't have the little shack most of them have today) and a woman pulled up about 100 feet away, and started flashing her lights and a blowing her horn. I went out because, it could have been a regular customer, and maybe she was having a problem.

In case my mood wasn't foul enough already, she just wanted directions. She didn't get the standard "jerk directions" to go to Newark, and make a left. Hers were much more customized and rather "colorful."


Kevin John said...

Honked & flashed her lights??

I believe that was the same ignorant woman that kept driving per your directions all the way to Virginia to give us hell.
But that sounds like fun.Maybe I'll send here a tad west into Ohio.

Adullamite said...

Postmen are always being asked directions. I found that usually folks had missed a turning, and while men would believe your instructions some women would doubt you! If I said 'Next left,' They would reply, 'I thought it was over there,' or 'It looks more like that way.'
Some would drive off, and soon come back ignoring what had been said!

dizzblnd said...

Ahhhhh Is that overturned car in the pic what happened when they tried to jump the median to get to southbound? I think your lady was here in Florida when I worked at a gas station. She pulled in to the SELF serve (gasp) which is all we have here. Blared her horn. When no one came out, she came in yelling at us for not going to pump her gas. I smiled and pointed to all the signs that say SELF serve. I got a reply "This is ridiculous in Jersey I wouldn't dream of pumping my own gas, I guess I will just go to another station. I said Fine by me, there's 2 or three right down the road" HEHEHEHE All SELF serve. I wonder if she ever figured out how to pump her own gas?

Michelle said...

Oh my Old Man where did you send that unsuspecting lady???? It could have been me you know????

Your funny!

Happy Thursday!

ReformingGeek said...

I bet you told her to go some place very, very warm.

It never ceases to amaze me what people will do to avoid "missing" their turn or their exit of a freeway.

ettarose said...

The absolutely worst directions ever are those that start with " Yew go 'n down thisyere road a piece until yew cum to ol man newbys farm and then wen yew get to the corn crib bar to the raght and then when yew see Dana'a outhouse bar left and thar it is."

Lauren said...

Oh come on Joe...NJ is the jughandle capital of the world. It's annoying and confusing and stupid. A turn to anyone else is a turn at the light...not in retarded NJ (and I grew up there!) So I can totally understand the frustration. And sometimes you get the honor of a jughandle being an overpass so you think you are waiting to find a freakin' jughandle and miss your u-turn. OH I know why your taxes are so hight. HAHA!

Da Old Man said...

@ Kevin: Just keep her out of NJ.

@ Adullamite: Happened all the time. Eventually, I'd have to ask, "Wait a minute, remind me which of us is lost."

@ Dizz: That car is a famous advertising landmark, been in lots of magazines. Pretty funny, the car rots away, and they have to replace it every few years. I remember it from the early 1970's.

@ Michelle: It wasn't you. She was rude.

@ Reforming: Yeah, it probably was. :)

@ Etta: You can tell a lot about a person by the directions they give. Mechanics always use landmarks like gas stations, I use restaurants.

@ Lauren: Too much traffic, and too much development to do that.

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I remember those days. Now there aren't any people to pump gas, just a cashier and they haven't a clue how to get home. So, we got GPS. Bwahahahahaha. I'd be afraid to ask you for directions.

Have a terrific day Crotchety. :)

Don said...

God, it's the same here. I've had numerous peeps ask crap like that. After Katrina blew through, we had several thousands of people come through trying to find their way back home. What a joke. They had only left there homes days earlier.

shyne said...

LOL...funny piece.

Early one morning I was on our regular walk with a neighbor when a car of people (city can tell) cut right in front of us, forcing us into the ditch (no sidewalks), and stopped.

They wanted directions and my neighbor, angry, said "Sorry, you can't get there from here". I shook my head no and said, "it's just not possible".

The driver, looking confused, asked "Where is the nearest place I can go to get there?"
My neighbor shrugged. He said "You'll have to go back to the beginning and start over".

It's an old joke, but how often do you get to use one in real life?

Da Old Man said...

@ Sandee: NJ gas pumpers have job security. Self serve is illegal in our state.

@ Don: Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

@ Shyne: I love it. Need to take those opportunities when they come up.

The Mother said...

I think I stopped at your gas station in NJ and asked for directions.

NJ is the only place that we have ever driven where AAA maps AND a GPS isn't enough to figure out where the damn roads go or how to get on them.

Don't think I"m a total idiot. At least I didn't back down the access road.

Janna said...

You would hate me, then.

I despise roads with walled divisions in the middle.
Especially if it's unfamiliar territory. Human beings make mistakes, and I'm really really really human sometimes. :)
I NEED to be able to make a u-turn if I've missed something. If there's a partition, I'm just screwed. I hate that.

It's never, ever as simple as "Just go up the road a couple hundred feet and the wall magically opens up, angels sing, your leprosy is cured, and then you can make your u-turn."

It's more like "Ok, go about 100 feet down the road. Make sure you're in the right-hand lane, even though everyone around you is going to be going 120 miles an hour and has sworn oaths to NOT let you cross their path. Take the next exit, then take a right onto route 12393301, but make sure you don't take route 12393302, because that'll take you all the way into Belchville, where it's illegal to ever leave until you've eaten an entire water buffalo raw. After you turn right, look for the sign that says "Exit 991-A", and then ignore it, because you really want "Exit 991-Z." Turn left off of that, and drive 25 miles or so until you eventually end up right back here again. Hopefully by then I'll be gone and you can ask someone else instead."

This is why I vastly prefer to take the back roads wherever possible.

It's also why I'm not always comfortable asking for directions, because I worry that I'm annoying the person I ask.

The Self-Deprechaun said...

I would have carjacked her immediately there. No wonder you're so crotchety, old man!

Da Old Man said...

@ The Mother: BTW, it wasn't an access ioad they backed down, it was the highway itself, with cars flying and then skidding around them.

@ Janna: It really was easy to get to the other side. There is a U-turn every half mile or so. You wouldn't have gotten lost.

@ Self: If my shift was nearly over, I may have done that.

Ms. O. D. said...

I've driven in many places around the states, and I have to say Boston and Newark to be the two most confusing places to drive around!

I agree with @The Mother, gps gadgets do not work in NJ!

Shinade said...

you are so funny that some times i forget to drop my card!!

Now I have to obviously find my way to the south part of this blog and drop my card.

Emmmmm....could you please tell me which way is south????

Margo said...

Full Serve gas is in the top three things I miss about living in New Jersey. I loved not having to get out of the car,and having a human to ask which way to go, but it would never occur to me to do what this hons did.