The Start of Something New
“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.” – G.K
It’s amazing how a trip to McDonald’s can turn into one of the best adventures of my college experience.
It all started as just a part of my evening. Spending time working on some printmaking and eating dinner with a man who lives by the example of King David. He and I were just discussing our days, our lives up to that point, and in his way he was hungry at 10:00 at night. Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters were on the menu, but we continued talking… by 12:35, the gas station was closed and we finally decided to take an impromptu road trip to Arcade for McDonald’s. The trip there was uneventful – his car had gas, there were deer, the sky had finally cleared from rain to clarity, stars and a brilliant full moon. Once at the Golden Arches, I got an eggnog shake and two pumpkin pies (one which I just ate for breakfast). We parked at the Mattress Warehouse – They’re in the middle of Futon-athon and heaven forbid we miss those deals! He ate his chicken club and McFlurry, followed up by the absolute favorite of a wild berry smoothie. A cop pulled in just as we were leaving to check that we weren’t breaking into the store. We laughed and left and drove into the night.
Now, we had begun to notice we were low on gas – so we pulled into a Sunoco which appeared to have pumps still working. No such luck. We continued our trek home, dreading the moment when his car might putter out, and being an eighties car, it has no gas warning light. Driving, deer, driving, possum, twenty minutes from Houghton and then oh, a hill.
“I don’t think she’s going to make it.”
*rev, putter, splutter*
“Nope. No she – ”
Check oil and engine lights and suddenly we’re getting ready to roll backwards. I jumped out and started to push, and we got the car a few more feet up the hill before it couldn’t go up any farther. I held her while he got it and then we decided, in that moment, to get in and he’d just steer her backwards down the hill to a plateau. We got her to the bottom and I got out again to guide him down the “gentle slope” that made up the shoulder, and then the car was rolling faster into a ditch. We got it stopped at just the right spot on the hill and shut her down, wondering who in the world we could call for gas at two in the morning.
Laying on a warm car hood, watching wispy clouds skirt across the moon, around the piercing stars, we make so many decisions and we share so many things. I learn that Houghton’s Safety and Security is fairly useless, at least when it comes to emergency gasoline. I learned many of my friends are heavier sleepers than I thought. I also learned that after a miserable Monday, knowing I need to get up for an eight o’clock class and then drive four hours home, this is by far the best beginning to my break. I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else, and don’t really care how long it takes. This is now, this is so very wonderful, to be here and to see so many stars, wrapped up in a hooded sweatshirt, awash in moonlight.
Every car that passes passes without notice to my thumb. It may be his knit cap or beard that scares them off, or perhaps the fact that two youths are sitting on the front bumper of a tiny Mazda far after the hour when most people are in bed. Each car that passes reminds me that people are not trusting, that they judge too quickly… and then finally, a car slows down. An SUV, a white-haired scruffy man and his joyful black lab mix. He offers to get us a gas can, to drive us back to Arcade to the only open gas station at now after 3. Our best option available, we hopped in the car. Talking with the man named Jeff, a milk lorry driver, as he drove us twenty-five minutes out of his way to a Wilson Mills gas station open twenty-four hours. We talked about how life turns out, about timing and moving. We all shared some common knowledge from some place or another, one farm in Ohio and one in Western New York, a familiar story of arrival and leavings and not wanting to let life slip away. Where do things come from? Where do origins originate? Oh look, deer. Better slow down. What would happen if I’d moved forty years ago? Where will I be after this?
We got gas and drove back to the car where Jeff helped us get off the shoulder. At long last, now at almost 4 a.m, we were back on the road to Houghton. The stars were so clear, but clouds had begun to build on the near horizon, flashes of lightning sparking out into the night. Just as we arrived and said goodbyes on campus, the rain began to fall. Even though it was so late, I slept so well and woke up completely refreshed and happy. It was a new break, a new adventure and a new time of my life. All of these things because of one trip to McDonald’s.
And, to top it all off, the evening came full circle. The Wilson Mills in Arcade had Granola Nut Clusters 🙂