My mom and sister wanted me to accompany them to get their hair cut at a friend's house 8 miles away. I drove since my mom doesn't have full use of her arms anymore, and my sister is only 12. Well, we realized the fuel gauge was dipping below "E" after we'd passed the gas stations, so we were committed to finishing the drive to the hair appointment, out in the country. It was one of the more stressful situations I've been in, because I knew that I could walk however far it would take to fetch gas if we ran out, but my mom couldn't, and I absolutely refused to entertain the idea of leaving my mom and little sister stranded in the car without any means of protection.
Once we reached our destination, I asked my mom's friend if she knew where the closest gas station was. She said it was 10 miles down the road, and it was hills most of the way so if I coasted, I'd conserve enough gas to get there. She gave me directions, and I took off. I felt more comfortable handling the situation alone while my mom and sister where in a house with someone they knew, especially since her husband would be home any moment.
I made it to the gas station on fumes, and saw a sign that said "Pay inside first" so I walked into the store, and an older gentleman came out of the store room to assist me. He looked at my face first, then his eyes flickered down to my hip. He returned his gaze to meet mine, and seemed a slight bit unsettled, but still friendly. He told me I could pay at the pump, so I wished him a good day and went back outside.
Several folks were filling up at the pumps around me, so I kept an alert eye on everyone. I think that's what took me so long to notice it. While I was pumping gas, I happened to glance at a little sticker that said "Fuel meets all regulations required by Maryland."
After about half a second I mentally said "Oh ****!", hung up the nozzle, grabbed my receipt and slid into the car as quickly as I could.
Despite my instincts to peel out of there, I drove normally, maintaining the speed limit. I had no idea I had crossed over into Maryland! I knew we were close to the border, but I'd been keeping my eye out for a sign that would tell me I'd crossed state lines. I never saw one, and since I wasn't familiar with the area, I didn't beat myself up too too badly. I did check a few license plates on some parked cars as I drove past, and that pretty much confirmed it for sure.
Since I wasn't familiar with the area, I assumed once I drove over the canal and passed the river, that I'd be back in a "free state". I relaxed a little, but still paid close attention to the road, because it's a bit like driving a mine cart on a roller coaster here.
Anyways, I got back to the friend's house, with a full tank of gas, and jokingly told my mom "Thanks for making me a criminal for a few minutes by sending me into Maryland!" and they all looked at me and said "Honey, you're still in Maryland!" Apparently the state border is just outside the college town, so I was still 6 miles from freedom. My mom's friend wanted to know why I was a criminal, and I explained I was not permitted to carry a gun in Maryland. She said "Oh, do you have it in your trunk or something?"
My mom and I exchanged a glance, and she said "Nooo, she's wearing it on her hip!" I angled myself so she could see my stainless Kimber riding comfortably next to my spare magazine. Her eyes got wide and she said "Oh..." then finished cutting my mom's hair. When we left, I noticed her checking out my gun, but she didn't seem upset or scared, just a bit startled.
We drove back into WV without incident, but made a stop at a little tea shop in the college town. I wanted to buy some lavender tisane, and one of their tea pot sets.
While I was waiting for them to find the tea set that I wanted, two guys in their 20's came in. I'm not sure if they worked there or just frequented the shop a lot; they and the staff knew each other by name. They were obviously there to pick something up, and while they were waiting, one of them turned to me and said "Nice piece."
Guy: "what brand is it?"
Me : "Kimber."
Guy: "Nice, I have a Sig that I really like."
Me: "Yeah? What kind?"
Guy: "Oh, just a basic 9mm. I also have a Beretta that I really like shooting."
Me: "Yeah? I'd really like to go shooting, but the ranges here are soo expensive!"
Guy: "Yeah, especially if you don't bring your own ammo!"
Then the employee brought me my tea set to inspect, and the guys moved away. It was a great encounter, and aside from that conversation, no one else noticed or reacted to my gun. Good times!!!