The gas gauge was clearly well into the red zone. Still, it had been in such territory before and I’d always managed to reach my destination, so can I be faulted for thinking that once again it was just “crying wolf?” I’d actually considered getting gas the night before, but damned if I was going to pay seven cents more a gallon in town when I’d be driving right by the cheap station out on the highway the next day while on my way to get a mammogram.
It was a beautiful, sunny morning as I cruised along the winding road that led out to the 101. Cows were peacefully grazing on golden hillsides. The stock market was rallying on news that a deal had been made that would stabilize the Euro. I’d given myself plenty of time to make my appointment. What could go wrong?
Here’s something I didn’t know. When your car runs out of gas, it takes the whole damn system down. Oh, the car was still moving all right and, for a desperate moment, I even imagined I might be able to coast my way to the Our Lady of Perpetual Motion gas station a mere 10 miles down the road. It was a slight downhill incline, so I wasn’t being entirely delusional. However, the need to steer would be required. Picture then my delight to find that not only was my car slowing at a time when all others were continuing to zip along – and precariously close, I might add – but my power steering? Not so much.
I’m a strong-willed individual. It’s hard for me to admit defeat. So, it was with no small resentment at a universe that had refused to bend to my will that I edged myself into the emergency lane and rolled to a stop. I could only pray that my cell phone worked in this area of my rural valley with its fickle reception. God tossed me a bone.
I considered waiting for help in my car, but worried about the possibility of another vehicle plowing into me. Instead, I decided to stand about 20 feet in front of it where now I could be hit directly. Oh, yes. So much better. It wasn’t long before a concerned gentleman pulled over on the opposite side of the road and yelled at me to climb my dumb ass up the side of the hill out of harm’s way, and while he may not have actually uttered the words “dumb” and “ass,” they were most certainly implied. As my luck this particular morning would have it, the hillside was made of sand, which quickly filled my shoes only adding to the enjoyment of the day. My savior then drove off, no doubt very pleased with himself.
October has been unusually warm this year and it didn’t take long before I could feel moisture forming on the back of my neck, under my arms, and between “the girls.” For the uneducated, when a woman goes for a mammogram she is instructed not to put on any deodorant or talcum powder prior to the procedure. Apparently, these products contain aluminum that, when exposed to more radiation than one would normally experience in 10 years, might cause a malfunction of the very machinery where one’s delicate breast tissue has been compressed to the width of a Swedish pancake. How much longer until I began to reek, as well?
I had plenty of time to reflect upon my predicament as I waited. Plenty. Of. Time.
I’d opted for taking my chances of reaching a gas station where I would be paying $3.87 a gallon instead of going to the closest station to my home and paying $3.94 – because, by God, those corporate oil bastards weren’t going to rip me off. I’d show them! Now I was sinking up to my calves in sand, soaked in fluids of my own making, and waiting for a towing service that was going to charge me $5.00 a gallon.
“Penny wise and pound foolish” was a saying I heard a lot as a child and grew to enjoy using on others in my oh-so-smarty-pants fashion. I’m now reminded of another saying. Karma’s a bitch.