[Note: I’m on an American walkabout. An American walkabout means I’m roaming around in a huge diesel truck. I’ll get by without the striving for spiritual enlightenment and sore feet otherwise associated with the term. I’ve been more or less off the internet all this time; an activity well rewarded. I dove back into the virtual world merely to define “pumpblock”. I’ll disappear again tomorrow.]
This story has no point, just a vignette of the world around us…
I’d pulled off a blue highway with a thirsty truck. It was a fair to middling station with many gas pumps at the front, a few diesel pumps on the side, and a convenience store filled with various packages of sugary shit overseeing it all.
I chugged toward the two diesel pumps when, out of nowhere, a battered white minivan swooped in front of me and jerked to a halt in front of them. I stopped and waited while a skinny female redneck dressed in what, if worn by a redneck male would be sneered at as a “wifebeater” exploded from the passenger side of the van. She charged into the store like nothing else mattered. Presumably, for her nothing did. She had the body style I associate with extreme vegans or meth addiction and her actions didn’t imply great depth of character.
Her urgency screamed “I gotta’ pee!” and she looked neither left nor right as she streaked for the door. I was feeling magnanimous. I was in no hurry and who hasn’t been in the same situation themselves? In a few seconds, the driver would roll out to the parking area and let me get my diesel while his wife/girlfriend/random hookup pissed.
The moment passed. Nothing happened. I was annoyed at the minivan. This wasn’t its proper habitat. It belongs at the gasoline pumps, with the cars and small trucks and SUVs. Motorcycles, hedge trimmers, snowmobiles, Prii, and other lesser beings all breathe gasoline. None belong in the more industrial land of diesel pumps. Diesel pumps are for truckers and the occasional big toys. Men with deliveries to make (and occasionally women). It’s the land of harried FedEx drivers in brown shorts, big bellied truckers with cell phone earbuds, Winnebagos that steer like tankers, commercial tankers that steer like Winnebagos, and me. Diesel pumps are orderly, no-nonsense, territory where man and machine flow with maximum efficiency. It’s a queue as managed by sensible people who have shit to do and places to be. I used to work at a truck stop. I’ve seen a dozen Kentworths and Freightliners, mixed with dump trucks, a backhoe, and random ranch vehicles, flow through the diesel pumps in the time it takes a family of four to tank up a Honda and buy the kids a snowcone. There’s rarely shenanigans at the diesel pumps because it’s where the serious people live.
Yet the minivan wasn’t moving. My patience wore thin. I had been pumpblocked.
Pumpblocked: (Noun) The situation where a dimwitted asshole interferes with your turn at the fuel pumps for no other reason than they’re a dimwitted asshole. (Derivation, from cockblocked, but in a non-sexual, entirely vehicular, sense.)
I could have hit the horn but I’m not that kind of guy. Instead I clambered out of the cab and strode forth to engage whomever was in the driver’s seat. “Excuse me sir, would you please move.” I rehearsed it in my head. This might be followed by “Oh really? Then you can either move or I’ll drag you through the open window of this rustbucket and pound your loathsome ass into the pavement as a lesson to you and every other ignorant shitheel!”… the latter would be entirely up to him, but I sincerely hoped he wasn’t that foolish. I’m a reasonable man. In keeping with the hallowed ground of the diesel pumps it’s widely known that you do not dawdle there. Any driver with half a wit would just get the hell out of the way and that would be that.
The driver’s seat was empty. Huh! While I’d been looking away someone must have bailed… possibly to aid in the affairs of the meth chick who’d fled? Two dirty little kids bounced around the vehicle. Their manner and attire screamed “clients of protective services”. Possibly they’re future physicists and surgeons but statistically and based on their childhood environment I foresee a future of Fruit Loops eaten while watching infomercials at 3 am. Tragic but not uncommon.
On the opposite side of the pumps, a shiny new F-150 with a baby diesel pulled up. So much for the option of turning around and getting to the other side of the fuel island. The truck was fascinating. I’ve been waiting for a half ton with a proper engine most of my life. The driver, an amiable retired fellow, chatted with me while he tanked up. Another diesel Dodge parked behind me. The driver of that one stomped up to us ranting in broken English but immediately realized the minivan had me pumpblocked. He stopped his complaints in mid-sentence.
The gleaming half ton had a military sticker and molon labe sticker. The other Dodge had a full load of horse shit, a rototiller, and an american flag. For OPSEC purposes I won’t describe my truck beyond saying it is red.
“Vat is wift the vanz?!?” Complained the new arrival.
“Apparently a blockhead.” The Ford guy concluded.
“Technically, it’s not legal for me to lock bumpers and shove the van across the pavement and out of our way.” I sighed.
“But no jury would convict you.” Smiled the Ford man. Retirement sounds great.
“Ach. In proper world ve would have discussion wid minivan man and make him zee his ways have error.” Growled the third.
Three kindred spirits. Deplorables clustered around a single blocked lane. Talking about trucks.
A few minutes later meth-woman emerged, still at the same speed as before. She was ripping open a pack of smokes and lighting one like her life depended on it. She piled in the van and started screaming at the kids inside.
I hopped in the cab. The driver would arrive soon.
The F-150 rolled away so quietly you’d never know he had a diesel. I fired up my far more aggressive engine and inched forward. My grill was even with the roof of the wheeled trailer park in front of me. I hate to be the guy that lays on the horn but…
Then the driver showed up. It was a man-bun parasitically attached to the empty skull of the hipster carrying it around. His wardrobe was expensively shabby, his goatee exquisitely trimmed, his balls (like his common sense) atrophied and useless. How Pajamaboy McGrouphug wound up attached to his feminine rolling freakshow of a counterpart is beyond me. Perhaps they found each other in a haze of stupidity and bad manners.
He glanced at me nervously. I glared back. I can be a menacing apparition at times and I grinned in a way that made him turn paler than his natural shade of albino pussy whipped man-boy. He ran for the minivan. I dropped the Dodge into drive and started rolling forward. Meth woman stopped yelling at the kids and started yelling at the hapless man-bun. He started his crapmobile and zipped out of there a fraction of an inch before my grille ate everything in sight. I rolled to the furthest forward pump, as is proper etiquette that any damn fool should know. The fellow behind me smiled in recognition. Within seconds we were both fueling and in no time we were both rolling back on the road. Unlike man bun, neither of us interfered with the other. Such is the shared commonality of people with places to go and things to do.
It had taken 20 minutes to cover that 15 foot distance. I’d been pumpblocked by a man bun in a mini-van.
I let the phrase roll around in my mind; pumpblocked by a man bun in a mini-van.