June 19th, 2007

head shot

Outta Gas

I ran out of gas today. 
On the highway.
With the kids in the car.


Yes, the warning light was on.
Yes, I had my wallet with me.
Yes, I had passed numerous gas stations without stopping.

I know. Duh. 
You barely have to get out of your car anymore, what with Pay-at-the-Pump and all.
So. I have no excuse.

The upside was a kindly roadside angel -- a car salesman on his way to work -- who shoved his recycling bins into the trunk, made room for my girls and me, drove us to a gas station, waited while I bought and filled a little red gas can, drove us back to my abandoned vehicle, and risked his rump pouring the gas in while I acted as a flag girl directing traffic. 

All's well that ends well.

But it got me to thinking about what kind of folk drive around on fumes with the warning light on. I mean, are we risk-takers or responsibility-avoiders or hope-mongers or cheap-skates or day-dreamers or what? 

And I don't know about you, but I do this empty tank thing metaphorically, too. I keep on trucking when the engine's thumping. Take on more miles than I'm up for. Space out on the nitty gritty because I'm busy looking at the scenery. Or thinking through a plot. Or eavesdropping on the funny conversation in the back seat. 

I did not love having to ditch my van, hazard lights blinking, on the side of the road this morning. But mostly I sort of enjoy the flow of a life without the latest maps and tool kits. Keeps me on my toes -- and think of all the material I'd miss!

In my mother's day card, my older daughter described me as "flexible". 
"In yoga, and the other way, too," she said. 
And now she and her sister are on that path, thanks in part to today's adventure.

(Next year she'll probably describe me as Spin Doctor, but I can live with that...)