I was somewhere half-way through Pennsylvania when the weather conditions and the hour had me deciding to pull into a road side auto plaza to attempt to get some sleep.
This was one of those auto plazas with a huge football field sized parking lot next to a central building that housed, besides the expected restrooms, such franchises as Starbucks and Subway, and one of those if-you-can’t-find-it-here-then-no-one-sells-it type convenience stores whose selections contained everything from food to car parts with prices so inflated as to be less than convenient, sitting behind a gas station that serves both cars and semi-tractor trailers.
After having parked close to the big travel service building so I could easily address my needs, I moved my car away from the other three cars that were there and parked it away from the main building hoping to be able to catch a nap without being disturbed by any cars that might enter the plaza.
My car is a recent model VW Beetle that is more of a hatch back than a traditional bug.
I thought that, if I rearranged the luggage in the rear storage area after folding down the back seats, I could make an acceptable space to curl up in. This was not as easy as first thought. I had to modify my work a number of times, and the most comfortable I could get was to bend my body into a backward L with my face pushed up against the passenger side of the rear seat area and my feet crammed in the driver’s side corner of the storage area diagonally opposite my head.
Finally giving up, I rearrange the luggage, and put the back seats up into their upright and locked positions.
What I did next would have made the night up to this point a lot less aggravating and the quest for sleep more attainable in a shorter period of time, if I had done it first.
I turned the seat back adjustment knob until the driver’s seat became a totally flat and very comfortable bed that just needed me to assume a relaxed fetal position so that I fell asleep very quickly.
A few hours later I was awoken by a very loud voice right next to my car.
In spite of all the possible places to park it in a practically empty parking lot, a very angry mother had pulled her SUV into the parking space right next to mine, and had begun giving one of the two kids in it a stern lecture, complete with a lesson on life.
It seems that when they had stopped earlier at some location on the way home from where they had spent a few days, the little boy had taken something out of the car with him and had carelessly left it behind. It was something his sister had wanted, bought, and had become for the moment a treasured possession.
The brunt of the sermon was that sometimes people do things that have unforeseen consequences that, even though not intended to, do adversely effect others. The boy’s action may not have been malicious, but the depression it caused his little sister was the same whether it was an innocent act or a plan to inflict emotional damage.
I thought that, overall, the lecture whose theme was to think before acting, would have been more effective if the deliverer of it had done some thinking and had chosen an isolated parking spot to deliver it rather than pull into the space next to the one parked car in an isolated area and waking up its occupant with what should have been a more discrete interaction between mother and son. .
When I got out of the car to readjust my seat and myself, the expression on the woman’s face was total surprise as, for some reason, apparently, in spite of my fogged up windows, she had no idea someone could have been in the car she parked next to.
As I left the parking lot I drove past the one other car that was parked closer to the restroom and franchise building.
Not that far down the road I exited the Turnpike and was woken abruptly a second time when I had to pay a toll of $18.75 to exit.