Monday, August 01, 2005

Running on Empty

As I wrote here Jake is on the travel soccer team. This summer the travel teams have pick-up games on Sunday afternoons. For Jake’s age group they start at 6:30 pm. It makes for an early dinner time, but it generally fits in with our schedule.

Yesterday Larry whisked Jake off to the field after we had finished dinner while I stayed home with the rest of the crew. The previous two weekends were not so easy. Larry got an unexpected batch of work dumped on him at the last minute; therefore he had to go to work on Sunday both weekends. To maximize his work time, I would meet Larry at the field and drop off Jake. This saved Larry almost an hour of driving time. Meanwhile I could run a few errands on the way back home.

The first time it went without a hitch. We arrived at the same time and transfer went with out incident. The second time had a little more drama associated with it.

I fed Jake and got the whole crew loaded into the van in a timely fashion. My only errand was to gas up the van. I knew I had enough gas to get Jake to the field and then go to one of the inexpensive gas stations nearby. I met up with Larry in the parking lot and then went on my merry way. About halfway to the gas station I came to the awful realization that I had left my purse at home. Earlier I had been cleaning it out so it was not in its usual spot. I was a long way from home (about 20 minutes) with no cash, no credit cards, no checkbook and no cell phone. I had about twenty cents worth of change rattling about in the car, which would get me about 10 feet. Ooops. I considered going back and bumming 5 bucks off of my husband, but I decided I had enough to get home, pick up my purse and then fill up at the closest (and most expensive) gas station. In hindsight that was a pretty stupid decision.

As I drove home I watched the gas gauge drop with increasing rapidity. Halfway home I shut off the air-conditioning. I drove in the most economical fashion with gentle acceleration and minimal use of brakes. About 8 miles from home I started to have some serious doubts about our making it home and there was no way I would be able to go anywhere else. About two miles ahead of me was a gas station. It was in an isolated location and had a small ready mart. I had stopped in there before and the people there were very nice. Maybe they would let me put $5 of gas in the van if I left them some collateral. I would rush home and return with my purse. The only item of value in my car that I could use was my copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I could bring my entourage of three in with me to add to my sad little tale. But I was in a gambling mood. At this point it mostly downhill to my subdivision. If I could get there I could always walk home.

I passed the station and pressed on. Hopefully Larry had refilled the lawn mower gas can. If not, he could refill them after he and Jake returned from soccer. Meanwhile I watched the gauges. The van has some very interesting displays. One can be set to display what is the car’s current mpg or how many miles the car can travel before running out of gas. I find the mpg too depressing and keep it set to miles left. About 4 miles from home it reached zero. Meanwhile the gas gauge wasn’t quite smashed against zero. There was a little bit of fuel left. As I drove along I kept imagining that the engine was hesitating. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I have never run out of gas before. That was my brother’s forte. I remember one time he called home and I ended up bringing a gas can to him using his moped. I was proud of the fact that I had never run out of gas.

Two miles to go and there was the entrance to my subdivision! We just might make it home. I carefully turned the van in and coasted down the hill. All that was left was the hill back up to my street. Slowly we made our way up the hill. Then three quick turns and we glided into the garage! I raise my arms in the air, “Scoooore!”

I hopped out of the van and grabbed the gas can. Cool! It was full of gas. I happily poured two gallons into the van. I could easily drive somewhere and refill the van, I wouldn’t even have to go to the very expensive place. I had more than enough to go to the much more reasonably priced station. I then herded my charges inside and decided that I should stick home for the rest of the day and not press my luck any further.

1 comment:

mikeelikesit said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.