Monday, October 25, 2010

It was the best place to run out of gas. Also the most humiliating,

It would be humiliating, if it weren't so ridiculous.

It all started when Peter's friend had an emergency and asked him to take over a pick up at the Bishops' Storehouse. Peter, quite fond of his friend, readily agreed. I, quite fond of my husband sleeping instead of driving after an all night shift, volunteered to do it instead.

Luckily, a friend had already requested a playdate with 3 of my children and, hearing the two left in the car crying, volunteered to take them, too. So, with my oldest left at home, I was driving my brand new and improved* Suburban alone for the 75 minute drive to the storehouse.

*Did I mention we took it to get a tune up after the drive shaft was repaired? On this first substantial drive after picking it up, I realized they somehow broke my speedometer; now it jerks back and forth in a 5 mph swing. Also, the brakes aren't working properly anymore. So "brand new and improved" really means "I can't believe I'm stuck with you until after we close on the house."

The drive there went without a glitch and the car was loaded with the needed food. On the way home, however, I found myself thinking, "Do not fall asleep. You are not tired. Do not ..." Chanting, by the way, is not the best way to keep awake. Instead I decided to stop at a gas station/rest stop to get a soda. As an afterthought, I picked up a candy bar and as an after-afterthought upgraded it to kingsize.

Walking back to the car, I noticed a wild rooster eating crumbs from the parking lot. He eyed my candy bar, I think, with jealousy. I jumped into the Suburban and started the engine.

It started and instantly died. No amount of revving would get it to turn over again.

My first thought is that the battery somehow died so I unplugged my phone, the GPS, and the XM radio (wonder why I was worried about the battery), but it did no good. Then I remembered how the last time the battery died it was really out of gas.*

*You see the gas gauge has been broken since we bought that car. At 1/4 tank it either has 1/4 tank or it is running on fumes. It was not until that moment that I remembered the gauge had been on 1/4 full when I left the house that day. Something you think should make a bigger impression on me, distracted and tired or not.

I sat in the car for a moment to savor the ridiculous fact that I had run out of gas, at a gas station, where I stopped not to buy gas, but to buy a soda. Silently praying the fumes would expand just enough to take me to the pump, I tried about 10 more times. Because surely trying over and over will fix the problem.

It did not.

So I walked back to the front of the station and bought myself one of those gas containers. The cashier regarded me curiously. After all, why would I be buying an I-ran-out-of-gas container when I am obviously already at the gas station? And if I walked here, why would I purchase a soda and candy bar before taking care of business? "My gas gauge is broken," I mutter as explanation, my eyes properly lowered in shame.

Speaking of shame, there is nothing quite like the walk of shame to the gas pump. Standing there carless while customers filling their car-attached tanks try not to notice. Their own gas pumps suddenly become far too interesting to look my direction, but I can almost hear them thinking, "There but for the grace of God (and attention to the gas gauge)..."

The rooster who taunted me.
I had plenty of time to ponder the inner thoughts of my fellow gas buyers as my first gas container was broken. After a couple minute trying to fish out the spout, I went back to the cashier and begged leniency. She replaced the offending container and I took the walk of shame again, buying my 2 gallons and taking it back to the Suburban. My only break was that the parking lot I choose was in back and had no witnesses expect the wild rooster, who I know was laughing at me the whole time. I should have shared my chocolate the first time.

Finally, the gas added to the tank, I was able to start the car and pull up to the pump.

My credit card was denied. "Please see cashier inside"

Something about using my card 4 times in a half hour triggered suspicion. I had to see that cashier one more time and explain again. Luckily, as a participant in nearly every step of my story, she understood what happened and let me use my card. "Gas gauge," I squeaked one last time as I left the store.

Finally I was on my way. I guess I'm lucky I stopped for that soda. Although the chocolate is what really calmed my smarting ego. At least I no longer felt tired at all; I recommend humiliating yourself if you ever feel sleepy at the wheel.



  1. oh my goodness.
    that was awful.
    and a story you'll tell
    over and over

  2. Thanks Charlotte I needed the laugh. Glad you stopped and didn't run out of gas on the road. New car when you get to WA?

  3. When you have a crisis, you really have a cirisis my friend! Holy cow.

  4. Looking at that picture again, I am beginning to suspect that was a less male rooster than I thought. Is it really just a chicken?

  5. Wow! Your stories just keep getting odder and odder! If you were a novel I would say that I can hardly wait until you move to read about what crazy things happen, but since you're a real person I hope everything goes smoothly there. Though maybe you should write a novel about all this...

  6. At your expense, I've had a lovely chuckle to start my day. Brings back some good memories.

    This happened to my husband and I when we were newlyweds in Rexburg. We had a '79 jacked up black Chevy truck that was LOUD. It was sentimentally called "The Demon". We ran out of gas down the street, ran on fumes until we got to the curb pulling into the station. Thankfully there was two of us and we put it in neutral and pushed it the rest of the way. He was embarrassed, I was laughing hysterically the whole time.

  7. That is one awesome story to start Monday with. Running out of gas at a gas station = awesome. : )

  8. Ok, that would have me cracking up at myself. It totally sounds like something I would do. We had a truck with a broken gauge once. I drove it to Florida and the entire ride through GA was nerve racking because of how far apart the exits were. I thought for sure I'd pull up to a gas station and run out of gas just out of reach of the pump!

    Glad you were at the gas station though!

  9. at least you didn't run out of gas 1/2 mile after LEAVING the gas station and then have to walk back and face the attendant who had just sold you soda and chocolate... right???? (see, there's always a bright side to things... of course, then the rooster/chicken wouldn't have known anything)

  10. Did you know that, now with AAA coverage, you can call them if you run out of gas?
    Perhaps, the next time you run out of gas at the gas stations you could call them? That would be an amusing blog post!

  11. hehe I'm always afraid I'll run out of gas at the stoplight before turning into the gas station. Love the picture of the rooster. You getting a new car? Joining the minivan crew?

  12. I would never leave the house again. But at least it was good for a giggle this time.

  13. Oh my! Hope your closing comes sooner than you anticipate so you can deal with the new and improved vehicle.

  14. That was seriously a good story.

  15. That's a great story! I'm glad you can keep a sense of humor in these situations!

  16. LOL! I feel for you! Once I ran out of gas on the way to Boise. It was a terrible four mile walk. Really really bad. Then, Mr. V and I ran out on the way to SLC. Luckily, we turned off a bare exit that absolutely shouldn't have had a gas station and there one a mirage. It was a wonderful site.

  17. First, I do think that's a rooster. And I have to laugh that you thought to take a picture of him. (I'm guessing you were thinking of your blog when you did. Thanks!)

    This is a great story, and really, I think God is humbling you while also getting a chuckle and blessing you too. Must be His way of saying, "Thanks for helping out with the food, enjoy a snack, and please remember your gasoline next time without My intervention." If this had happened with a car full of kids, the whole blessing aspect would be lost.

    I love it.

  18. Oh my...I would have been mortified. Ha, what do I mean WOULD have been...I've been in far more embarrassing gas station situations. Like the time I went in and paid, then came out and got into...someone else's car.

    Um. Yeah.

  19. Man, I think you just need a bike!

  20. How did I miss this one...Thanks for the laugh even though it was awhile back.

    (sorry I laughed)