Diary · Learning to Car

Why is Running Out of Gas Funny?

I was walking home from running out of gas with a huge smile on my face, laughing to myself. Then I thought why is this so funny to me? Here’s what happened:

I stayed home from work today because I’m sick. Nothing too exciting, just a cold. After laying around until about 3pm I decided to get up and get some food, I had one of those haven’t had coffee yet headaches. I set off to get food at a taco truck by my house because their food is cheap and they give you a big plate and it’s super good. On my way I stopped to get coffee at Thriftway because it’s my favorite. Continued on my way and all of the sudden the truck

started putting and jerking around so I pulled over and turned the car off. Turns out I pulled over in a bus zone so I waited a minute and turned the truck on and tried to pull out and it died in the middle of the road. And there was a meter maid behind me. She turned her lights on and pulled up to my window to tell me I was in a bus zone. I said “Sorry, I just broke down.” She was really nice and helped me push it back into the bus stop so I was out of the road. Then told me not to leave the truck because it would get impounded. So I just sat there for a few minutes and decided to check the oil to make sure it wasn’t that. It wasn’t, the oil was fine. I knew it was low on gas but the gas light wasn’t on so I just assume the gas light is broken. What I’ve learned from other friends with older cars is that you can keep starting them when they run out of gas and you will be able to move a little each time. So I was able to keep starting it and reverse a half a block and around a corner into a real parking spot.

Luckily the nearest gas station was 3 blocks away and next to my taco truck I was getting lunch from. So I walked down there to get a gas can and guess what? Gas cans are $13 and I had $12 on me. So I laughed. I started a new job and went from a weekly paycheck to a bi weekly paycheck so I have $12 until I get paid tomorrow. I just walked outside and got my $4.50 chicken enchilada meal and continued to laugh about my little situation. I decided to just leave the truck there and come back the next day to put gas in it and move it and just walk home today. I could have caught the bus but that would have brought my dinner budget to $4.75 instead of $7.25. I wish I could say I loved that the weather was nice today but being sick the sun did not feel great. The walk to my house was about a mile and half from the truck. I left a note in the truck before I walked home in case nosey white people live on that block and decide to call it in as abandoned.

So back to being highly amused on my way home, why is that funny? I think because after the year I’ve had this is small fish and if I can’t laugh about it I’m fucked. Think about the series of events that went into place to make this happen perfectly. I was sick, I left the house with only $15 cash, my ID and keys, the gas light broke, a meter maid just happen to be driving by, gas cans just happen to be $.99 more than I had on me.

Why did I think the gas light worked in the first place? I’ll tell you and you’ll know a little of why this is small fish. About a year and a half ago I showed up at my mom’s house because she was told she had cancer. I hadn’t seen or talked to her for the 3 years prior. The next day we went to her first appointment with an Oncologist who told us she had Late Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer and they needed to start chemo the next day. So the next day we came back to get her port put in for chemo and her body didn’t respond well. She was checked into ICU, sedated and intubated within the next 24 hours. Here I am legally responsible for a person I barley know because while we weren’t talking she signed my name on a bunch of power of attorney paperwork. And now I had a truck to use to get back and forth to the hospital. I have never had a car and only gotten my drivers license the year before that. One of the days driving back and forth to the hospital the truck ran out of gas. On the top of a hill THANK GOD, there was a gas station at the bottom of the hill. It was scary because it started puttering and jerking and I had no idea what was happening, until I saw the gas light was on. So this is why I was under the impression that the gas light works. I know nothing about cars and didn’t have (still don’t) parents I could call to say “hey something weird is happening with my car” like everyone else when they are learning how to drive at 17.

I hate to say it could always be worse because it negates how your feeling at the time but I could have been much farther away from home and I could have had to leave it in the bus zone or get towed home. Am I being hurt? No. Will I be ok? Yes. And I can’t really be that mad, I am hardly ever in situations where I don’t have enough money or I am truly stuck so I am grateful that I built this stable life for myself. Like they say you can’t appreciate pleasure without knowing pain. I can appreciate that I something like this can happen and I know I will be ok, that it’s a small bump in the road and one that I have some control over.