Today I got a phone call from Kendra on her way home from school. She ran out of gas…in the rain. I had been home from a busy day of appointments and errands just long enough to make myself a nice, hot cup of tea. Glancing at my beckoning, steaming cup, I squashed my kneejerk instinct to chastise her for not putting gas in the car, because who hasn’t run out of gas at least once in their life? Especially as a teenager. But Matt was over an hour away…maybe more with Friday traffic on a rainy day. And my brother-in-law wasn’t any closer. No knight in shining armor for us.
So I did what any sensible, self-reliant woman of the new millennium would do…checked our insurance policy for roadside assistance. Turns out we don’t have it. Okay, Plan B. I hurried my preschooler into the car and headed down to the gas station. Surely they would know what to do.
The station attendant loaned me a gas can, and I proceeded to try filling it. I suspected I might be in over my head when I couldn’t figure out how to get it open. I sheepishly went back to the window and the bemused attendant showed me how to open it, and how to pull back the nozzle to pour it into the tank. Okay, I felt empowered. I felt capable. How hard could it be, right?
I found Kendra sitting in her car, reading a book. Always one to use her time wisely, that girl. But she had just barely made it around the corner onto a side street, and I was worried that she might get hit by someone turning the corner. I had the bright idea that we should try to push her car ahead a little bit. I told her to put it in neutral and take off the parking brake, and I would push while she steered. I’ve seen this done before, and it doesn’t look that hard.
Looks can be deceiving. She skeptically did as I told her, I pushed against the back of the car with all my might…
…and my cute little black patent flats slipped right out from under me on the slick, rainy street, and I fell spectacularly into the gutter. I wasn’t hurt, other than my pride. My shoes weren’t even scuffed – I checked. And the car hadn’t budged an inch. Oh, and my daughter, who should be eternally grateful for a mom who would stand in the rain and try to push her vehicle out of harms way? She was laughing so hard I thought she might pee herself.
We scrapped that plan, and decided to just put the gas in the tank quickly and get out of there. I opened the tank, pulled back the nozzle like the station attendant had shown me, and…
…gas went dripping all over my hands and into the street.
Kendra tried. Same thing. We finally figured out that there is this little trap door opening thingie on her gas tank, and our nozzle was bigger than the trap door. We only had a gallon of gas to begin with, and now about a third of that was making rainbows on the asphalt.
It was time to suck it up, chance being a disgrace to the Women’s Movement, and call a boy. Kendra sent out an SOS via text, and a boy she went out with once was about to come help when lo and behold, a woman pulled over and told us she owned the service station down the street and would be happy to send one of her mechanics over. Within minutes, our hero rode up on his white steed…or white pickup, whatever…walked over with a funnel (duh!) and put the gas in the car. And furthermore, he would not allow me to pay him a dime. Guess where I’ll be taking our cars for service from now on?
We made it home safely, but I took this photo before returning the gas can. Kendra wasn’t too thrilled about her exploits being my Project 365 topic of the day, but let’s face it. She owes me.
I took a long, hot shower and was able to wash almost all the gasoline smell off. And now I’m sitting here filling MY tank, drinking a (fresh) cup of tea, listening to music, and unwinding from the adventure while my husband picks up takeout for dinner. Because if you don’t pay attention to the signals that the tank is getting low, you might just find yourself out of gas. I am considering that the symbolic lesson of the day, and taking it to heart.