I’ve been needing to fill up my gas tank for at least three days. I just keep forgetting, and finding myself pulling into the garage with the light still on and the tank just a bit more toward dry.
This happened to my dad all the time. He was famous for not quite running out of gas. We were coming home from a long trip once, three of us in the car, and he was trying to make it just a bit farther down the highway (for a slightly better price at the pump, almost certainly) before stopping to fill up. Previous to this, he’d literally coasted into gas stations on fumes multiple times. Once in the 70s when there were gas lines, he coasted into the gas line and then had to get out and push when it was time to move up toward the pump.
Not so this time. We were on the side of a four-lane highway, cars zipping past us at warp speed. My mother, who had wanted him to fill up sixty miles before, was simmering quietly until he left the car, but as the door shut behind him and he started off beside the guardrail, she couldn’t take it anymore. “WELL,” she said, with the irritation of thirty years spent dreading being stranded while he hunted for a price just a few cents cheaper per gallon, “I can’t say I’m sorry he has to walk. Maybe now he’ll FINALLY learn his lesson.” And we watched him step on down the road, his luck having finally deserted him.
About a hundred feet later, his luck caught up with him again. A car slowed and pulled to a stop. He leaned over and talked to the driver, and then jogged around and hopped in the car. The driver turned and waved madly back at us. It was Bill, from church.
Poor mom. She had really been hoping for more than a hundred feet’s worth of lesson, but it wasn’t to be. So I come by it honestly, I guess. Except that for Dad, it was a game; one he always won. And for me, it’s just a side effect of being a ninny.
I did make it, though. That picture was taken at the gas station, right before I filled up. I didn’t even have to push the car up to the pump.