Saturday, October 25, 2008

E is for Empty

I have grown to dislike the letter "E". It wasn't the 40-THOUSAND times my children have sung the alphabet song that fostered this dislike. Actually, I barely tolerate all letters equally for that. No, my dislike grew about 4 miles away from my mother's house.

It was at that time that I realized my gas gauge was reading E.

I don't know why I didn't notice the annoying yellow light that had been well-lit for the last ~10 miles. I was too busy listening to Imogen Heap, perhaps. Or, my vision had been desensitized from the light coming from the dashboard. I don't know. All I know is that when I finally noticed the perfectly horizontal pointer aimed at E, I panicked.

All Things BD is probably shaking her head at me right now. You see, when we used to commute together to college, there was an out-of-gas incident that I will never live down. I have sworn her to secrecy (and, I swear my dad told me that the tank wasn't empty until the pointer was below the E).

Anyway, back to my panic. I had passed the last gas station about 4 miles back, and I didn't know how much gas I really had left. I wish gas tanks were reliable enough to show you how much distance you have left rather than this subjective pointer-thing. (It is on E. Do I have 10 miles or 1 mile? Do I have 10 feet?!)

I decided the best option was to just forge ahead and not look at the gas gauge. No matter how tempted I was, I was NOT going to give in and look at the gauge. I mean, there was nothing I could do, right? So... I looked down at the gauge again, and I swear the color of the light went from bright, happy yellow to a more doomed looking orange-yellow.

I kicked myself for not noticing the light earlier or at the very least for not filling up with gas before taking off for our 3-hour trip. "A three-hour tour..." Sorry. But you know thoughts like that were going through my head at 10 PM at night with two children blissfully unaware of the potential dilemma we may be in. Fortunately they were asleep.

It is moments like this that I regret not knowing more about cars. I turned off the radio thinking that was using less gas, but then I remembered that the radio probably used the battery. I turned off the A/C and relied on the night air to keep my kids from overheating... but that uses the battery too. But, I felt like I was using less gas. That counts!

I did not exceed 30 MPH those last 4 miles to my mom's house, but the speed limit there fluctuated between 45-25, so at times I was speeding. I didn't want to alter speed at all. I coasted when I could, and I tried not to push the gas pedal at all. In spite of my self-sabotage Against all odds, I arrived safely to my mom's.

Now, I need to get to a gas station.

The closest one is about 5 miles away.

Don't worry, I have a backup plan. Anyone want to over-night some gas to me?


Casey said...

Oh no! Can you siphon some from your mom's car? I hate getting gas, I usually remember to look down before we're completely out.

Don said...

Two interesting phenomena:

Pilots insist the engines of their planes run differently and sound differently over large bodies of water where there are no landing areas.

Car drivers with low, really low, levels of gas get goofy, and may make promises know who...if they can only make it to the next filling station.

Don't tempt the powers, kid. Scan all the gauges now and then.

All Things BD said...

I'm sweating and the incident is ALREADY OVER. Please fill up your tank and stop making me read these stories.

PS - the security word verification word today was galport

Katie said...
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Mama DB said...

I have seriously broken out in hives. Okay, not seriously but Tiff! Fill your gas tank! You lived in the Northeast! You know you aren't supposed to let it get below a quarter of a tank, woman!

Jannie Funster said...

My car a '97 something-or-other, is usually good for 15 miles once the gas light comes on.

Do Not Panic.

I love the letter E too. It's the first letter in my real married surname and my maiden name. And the first letter in Eating cake! And Eating chocolate. And Eating pie.

Tabitha Blue said...

Ok, this story made me nervous... I have no idea how much gas in in my car... I always forget to check it. Then my husband gets in and there's no gas!! He just loves it when that happens :)

gingela5 said...

I hate it when I run so low on gas it's like risking your life driving your car! Hope you got gas safely! hehe