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Running on Empty

13 Feb

I like to live on the edge.  It’s exciting and kind of makes me giddy.  The feeling of an uncertain outcome sends adrenaline coursing through my veins.  I don’t sky dive or swim with sharks.  Instead, I generally run my gas tank to below the red line indicating “alert, stupid driver, you are on empty.”

Pushing the limits is my game, so I drive around like this for at least one day each week.  Sometimes I even wake up the next day and drive around town with my minivan’s gas gauge far, far below the red empty line.  You should try it.  It can be both thrilling and hysterical to try to make it to the gas station without running out of gas.  This is especially true when you have a carload of other people’s children.  My own offspring hate this game, but my friends’ kids think I’m funny and they join in the game, groaning at each red light.  So far, we have always made it to the gas station in time.  I have a 20 gallon tank and the most gas I have had to put in is 19.2 gallons.  I could have probably done carpool another time and still made it.

Today, I thought I’d be responsible and fill up before junior high carpool duty.  Today was day two of driving irresponsibly, so I was happy to arrive at my pump.  I slide my card, plug in my information, choose the cheapest gas (which in CA right now is well over $4/gallon…yikes!) and proceed to the driver’s door to put my cards back into my purse and check my email.  But, damn, the door is sticky or something.  “Yank, yank, yank.”  Nope, the door is not glued shut with a slurpee spill (which literally happened to one of the rear sliding doors that we just thought was broken for a few months).

The doors are all locked, my keys with my cute giraffe key chain are dangling from the ignition and my cell phone is lying on the passenger seat.  How do I call AAA without my cell phone?  How do I know my neighbor’s number to have her get my spare key from my house to come rescue me before I am late for carpool?  Arg.  I peg leg over and use the gas station attendant’s phone and only hold up traffic at the pump line for about 20 minutes.  I think I looked pathetic with das boot standing outside my minivan, so I only got dirty looks.  I was relieved no one honked.

AAA and my neighbor arrived at the same time, car was quickly unlocked.  Off I went with a full tank.  Life is just not as exciting on fill up days.  I’ll be living on the edge again in about three days though.  I prefer that thrill to locking my keys in the car.

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