Ron was filling a car tank from an inside pump on the outside island at the “Good ’N You,” on his cell phone while trying to tell me about this fella’s riding lawnmower with two flat tires. He pointed to the old red critter, a “Snap-on Wizard," tarnished red and listing hard to starboard next to a BMW, with an Audi just in front. Ron said the mower was towed into the station on a trailer because it couldn't be driven.
His cell phone rang (again!) just as a van pulled up on the outside of the outside fuel island. The lady driving sat at the wheel looking a little puzzled but eventually got out and made her way to the back end of the vehicle where I said hi.
There was a New Jersey license plate with some words advertising from whom the car had been bought.
“Can you pump your own gas up here,” she asked. Her question stopped me and Ron's head twitched a little as his cell phone slid off his shoulder.
“Yes ma'am” I said. “Why do you ask?”
“Well,” she said, “In New Jersey, we don't pump our gas.” And I offered, in my best Maine, “This ain't New Jersey deeyah. You can pump all you want just as long as you pay for it.”
She laughed and we began to chat. I enjoy distracting people.
"Your first time to Maine, is it?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “It's so beautiful up here. What's with all the construction up the road?”
I moved the conversation along.
“Where you from in Jersey?” I asked.
“Princeton,” she replied.
“Ummm … nice,” I offered. “Good tomatoes nearby. I always loved Jersey tomatoes. I taught in New Jersey quite some time ago. Nice town, Princeton, still have some friends there, I think. I didn't teach in Princeton.”
Ron's cell phone rang, and a new car pulled in for fill up. Must have been Mac's day off.