That Time I Ran Out Of Gas


Let me start off by saying that this isn’t the deepest of topics. But, whatever, the day is almost over I need to make my daily post quota for the month (hey, I said I would write a new blog every day, I didn’t say I would write an important blog everyday), so here we go:

One of my Facebook friends posted the above comic-strip, saying he’s had similar conversations with his wife. This lead to a few folks, including myself, talking about times that we either ran out of gas, or lasted a long time on a supposedly empty tank.

I was a late bloomer when it came to driving. I didn’t get my license until I was 22, and then got my first car a year after that. I couldn’t afford a car before then, which is why I hadn’t made an effort to get a license until then. But over the years I had been in cars with people, including my mother, when they ran out of gas. That always seemed odd to me, how hard could it be to keep track of how much gas you have? So when I started driving, my goal was always once the tank got down to half-empty (or half-full, if you’re optimistic), I would go fill it up. I’d just never allow myself to get low enough to risk running out.

This worked pretty well for the first several years, but eventually I got into a bad point in my life where I was living paycheck to paycheck. A miscalculation on my part lead to my tank being almost empty right before I got my latest check. At this point I was flat broke. So I remember the night before I got my check, I have direct deposit, I knew the first thing I needed to do the next morning once the money came in, was to stop at the nearest gas station and fill up my tank. Well, when I woke up the next morning and checked my account, the money wasn’t there!

Uh oh.

I didn’t know what was going on (it turned out to be some kind of computer glitch where everyone at my job except me got their paychecks deposited). But the money I was counting on wasn’t there. So I got in my car and thought, maybe I can make it to work, straighten out the money issue there, and then fill it up on my way home.

So I start driving to work, which required taking the freeway. Halfway there, though, I could see the freeway was going to get jammed, and I’m looking at my dashboard, the gas tank is getting near E, and I start getting worried if I’m even going to make it to work, much less getting through this freeway. So I get off at the next exit, luckily before the big jam, and drive to my mother and stepfather’s house. I have to wake them up, and ask to borrow $20, which is pathetic enough. So they give it to me and there is a gas station like 3 blocks away (in the opposite direction of my job) and drive there. But each pump was taken, and I didn’t want to wait. I remembered that there was another gas station further down the street (in the direction of my job), so I decided to just go drive to that one instead.

The thing is that at the time I was not as familiar with that route. My mother and stepfather’s house is about halfway to my job if I take the streets all the way, instead of taking the freeway, which I usually did back then. So I knew there was that other gas station, but I didn’t remember exactly what street it was on, and I miscalculated that, too. I’m driving down the street and the whole time I was checking out that tank meter, which was now definitely on E, and flirting dangerously close to under E. And I’m thinking where the f**k is that gas station, and kicking myself for not just waiting at the other gas station, like I should have. At any moment I thought my car was just going to stop on me in the street.

Finally I come across the new gas station (it probably took about 5 minutes to get there, but in my mind it felt like 5 hours), and pulled up the first pump. When I stopped the car, I noticed that it said that that particular pump had run out of regular gas, so you could only get super unleaded from. The pump in front of me had the cheaper regular gas, so I tried to drive up to that one, but car wouldn’t restart. So it looks like I ran out of gas right at the exact moment that I pulled up the pump. Talk about luck! So I got $20 worth of super unleaded and went on to work.

I have learned my lesson, both in regards to monitoring my gas tank and managing my money, so this has not been a problem since.


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