Filler up

I’m a chronic “how-low-can-the-gas-gauge-go” sort of driver. Did the warning light just flicker on? Pish-posh. Ignore that ping and keep on cruising — at least another 30 or 40 miles — before you set your sights on a gas station’s glow. That’s been my mantra since I first clutched a driver’s license in my hot little hands.

And there’s a method to my madness, fueling my penchant to push the car’s gas reserves. In all likelihood:

1. I’m running late (correction, I’m always running late.)

2. I’m too lazy to stop and fuel up (besides, gas stations are dirty. Yuck.)

3. And a dwindling gas supply poses a challenge (Can I best my previous record for total miles per tank?)

In the years that I piloted Little Zippy (my old Honda civic), that car never let me down. It puttered along on a scant sip of fuel, even as the gas gauge needle slumped against the dashboard.

And that’s why I was flabbergasted when the Toyota’s gas pedal seized up and the car rolled to a silent stop one day. Engine failure? Electrical glitch? I wondered. A few moments passed before I leveled my gaze on the gas gauge, hovering at the top of the E. That’s all that I get? The top of the E??

It’s one thing to run dry when you’re playing chauffer to 3 kids; dwindling to empty with a horse in tow is another kettle of fish. That’s why my stomach lurched when I glanced at the truck’s instrument panel yesterday. Chance and I were en route to a fox hunting meet when I noticed the sinking gas needle — and, gasp! — the fuel level reading: 0 miles to empty.

I quickly took stock: running late, towing a horse who hates standing on the trailer, and no gas station with diesel for miles. Panicked, I called Martin.

Didn’t you look at the fuel gauge? he asked.

I did the last time. There was nearly a quarter tank. 

Did you check it when you parked the trailer again?

No, I was done. Who checks when they’re done? 

Are you calling because you want me to pick up diesel…and find your truck and fuel it while you’re hunting?

Is that an option?

In the end Martin strapped on his Superman cape and swooped in bearing fuel.

Actually, Martin was cape-less and mildly peeved to be pulled away from football to embark on a demented scavenger hunt to find my truck and replenish the tank while I was gallivanting around the countryside with hounds and horses.

When I returned to the trailer, I wondered if Martin had completed the mission. And if not, how far would I get before the truck died? And what if I broke down in an area without cell coverage?

When I turned the key, the truck growled to life and the needle inched up. 147 miles to empty. What’s more I discovered a sandwich, chips and a soda left for me.

Martin, you’re a peach.

I’m sure I can compensate you for your pain and suffering. What’s it worth? How about 20 diaper changes for Brynn and we’ll call it even?