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.|
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.