The frosty winter weather was descending on the American prairies. Time for us to hit the road.
On any long road trip you inevitably have to pull in at a gas station now and then to fill up the thirsty tank. On our recent drive home from Montana we made many stops to gas up the truck. At one point, after miles of driving without a town near, we were anxiously looking at the fuel gauge. Because we were pulling a trailer, we were thankful for the spaciousness of the American gas stations and for their convenient locations just off the interstate.
“Here’s an exit with a gas station sign,” I said. I’d been watching the exit signs for the usual pictures of a place setting for food, a bed for accommodation, or a gas pump for gas stations.
“Just in time,” my husband said as he pulled in beside the pumps. “Gettin’ a bit low. When you go in to pay, ask how we get back to the freeway. The street has a median here and we won’t be able to do a left turn to go back.”
I dug $60 out of my wallet to give the attendant. The friendly Asian man’s name was Yim, according to his name tag. We exchanged pleasantries about the weather and then I said, “Oh, I almost forgot. Can you tell me how to get back onto the freeway heading north please?”
“Ah, is easy! Go down to light and you turn.” He pointed through the window at the intersection about a block away.
“Thank you, but which way do you turn?”
“Go to light and you turn,” he repeated, smiling and nodding.
I wanted to be just as friendly as he was, so I took a deep breath, and repeated, “Yes, so when you get to the light, do you go around the block?” I pointed to the left and made a circular motion.
“No, no, no. Go to light and you turn.”
I sucked air through my teeth and dug deep for patience, and then he added, “Go to light and you turn.” He looked at me, smiled, and bobbed his head. “Is allowed.”
It was then that I noticed the big U-Turn sign hanging beside the traffic lights down the street.