Tuesday, October 25, 2011


A new sign at the Sunoco is lighting up a message,

splitting it in an odd way, “Wel-come, we now have tires!”

Orange and yellow marigolds in planters by the pumps,

still hanging in there, it’s been a warm October so far.

I am the only car at the station, no attendant in sight.

Times like these are when the people of Jersey wish

they’d be able to fill up on their own, pay at the pump.

Most would hate to get out and deal with cold, the rain.

A man who must be the new owner comes out from the

empty bay doors in a plaid flannel jacket, Red Wing boots,

gray Dickies work pants, looks like he ordered the costume

of “gas station worker” from a Route 18 Halloween store.

Smiling, he’s polite as he takes my debit card, my keys for

the gas cap. It’s drizzling now, but he grabs a squeegee.

He washes the front and side windows. I wonder what’s

taking so long and when I look in the rearview mirror I see

he’s got an iphone, trying to take a picture of himself.

The pump handle clicks, he removes it, puts the cap on,

hands me the card, the keys, the receipt. Then he asks in

a soft voice- “Please sir, if you would take just one picture”.

He positions himself at an angle in the parking lot, chest out.

Behind him a red, white, and blue Grand Opening banner flaps

in the breeze as I push the touch screen, I capture an image

in my mind, and one for him to send half way around the world.