Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hold Your Breath.... I've Got Gas Problems

Home again, home again jiggedy jig.  Nothing brings out my patriotism quite like an American grocery store....The shelves, the carts, the variety, the ready to eat food, the fresh produce, the everything you need for the house in one store that's open 24 hours....!.... God, I love America!!

After two months of My So-Called Danish Life, I am back in the swing of my Real World American dream and Denmark seems more distant than The Jersey Shore. Back to the car culture and getting used to the Road Rules....

I really missed having a car, but I really didn't miss having to fill up the gas tank.  For whatever reason I really hate filling up the gas tank.  I just hate it.  I always hope the tank will go empty on Trevor.  And it's not because of money. I would pay double money to never have to stop the car.  I hate interrupting my plans. And I especially hate that little daunting light that threatens to strand me on the side of the road.  You'd think if I hated that light so much, I'd avoid it at all costs and fill up at a quarter tank before the little light ever comes on.  But I don't.  I continue driving until it's empty.  Every time squeaking in a smaller and smaller trip.  Hoping the gas light will come on when Trevor's driving so he can fill it up.  It's like playing hot potato.  The longer you're driving around, or passing the potato as you say, the higher the anxiety level goes because you know it's coming and you don't want to be caught with the music stopped and the gas light glaring at you. 

Another old American habit of mine is sleep optimization.  I do not wake up any earlier than is absolutely necessary to take a 10 minute shower and grab a piece of bread, or a granola bar, or a handful of chips, and a glass of juice and run out the door.  Then I stuff my face in the car while driving slightly faster than the legal speed limit suggests at the same time maintaining that I am not the fastest driver on the road and arriving to work maybe 5 minutes late.  I have it down to a science.  And you know me, I LOVE SCIENCE...

So back in the habit (with Whoopi Goldberg), I'm running a little late to work, as usual, and a block away from home the damn gas light comes on.  Dammmmmnit.  I am right next to the gas station, but unfortunately we live next to the most expensive gas station in the city and probably the country for that matter.  I am not stopping here.  Plus if I stop now, I will definitely be late to work.  I have gone 20 miles before with the gas light on and did not have a problem.  I can make it to work.  I will fill up on my way home from work when I'm not in such a rush.

I get to work and today I planned ahead and brought my lunch with me. I have my lunch bag and my gym bag.  I start checking e-mails, going about my daily routine.  I go to get my phone out of my purse, but cannot find my purse.  Must have left it in the car.  I check the car.  No purse.  Must have left it at home.  Oops.  Must have really been in a rush this morning.  Oh well, as long as I don't get pulled over on the way home I should be ok.  I continue going about my day until about lunch time when I realize..... I have no gas......  I have no money to buy gas.......  I have no phone to call Trevor if I try to make it home without gas and get stuck......  If I try to make it home without gas and get stuck and I can't call Trevor, someone might call the cops........  If the cops come to help they will definitely ask for my license which I don't have and I will definitely get a ticket. 

I immediately do some google searches about how far you can drive a 2004 Toyota Corolla once the gas light comes on to see what my options are looking like.  The results vary from 16-50 miles depending of course on speed, if you're running the AC, if you're going uphill vs. downhill, and if you're going highway or back roads.  I have already driven 15 miles at highway speeds. I could go empty in 1 mile or I could go back and forth to work a couple more times.  But there's no real sense of security here.

Frustrated, anxious, embarrassed, I give in to the "better safe than sorry" philosophy....better get off my horse and ask for money before being stranded on the side of the road and having to explain oh so much more... I e-mail one of my trusted--aka he has known me to do much dumber things and he still talks to me  (side note:  he was the one to house me and Trevor for a holiday slumber party the night Trevor was dressed up like an elf and fell in a puddle when both of us were in no shape to drive)....I trust this guy  --colleagues to see if I can borrow $10.

  I peak over the cubicle wall.  He is staring at his computer monitor.  He must have seen the e-mail notification pop-up.  He does not respond right away.  I click "Send/Receive" to make sure the e-mail's been sent.  Wait 5 more minutes.  No response.  I dare not risk verbally asking him for money as I work in cubicle city.  No secrets are safe here.  Everyone will know what a bonehead I am.  It is too much of a social suicide.  I convince myself that he saw the e-mail and is not responding because he doesn't have the money and I start to worry.  Who the hell am I going to ask now?  One person at work already knows I am "special"  and now I have to admit it to someone else? Nevertheless, the consequences of not admitting are guaranteed disaster.  I e-mail another co-worker in another department who has absolutely no influence on my professional development or bi-annual reviews and ask him for $10.  He responds right away and lends me $20.  Ten minutes later the first co-worker comes by and give me $7. 

I get my gas.  Go straight home for my wallet, then to the bank.  Pay off my dues first thing the next morning.  Now let's just forget all about my gas problems.  OK? Thank You...


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