Out of Gas
I’m listening to 97.1FM The Ticket here in Detroit-area, MI this morning and Doug Karsch & Scott ‘The Gator” Anderson are talking about ‘running out of gas’ stories after Jimmie Johnson ran out of gas this weekend in NASCAR. Well, here’s my ‘run out of gas’ story…
1998, I am working an engineering internship in Kansas City, MO. I had gone home to Chicago to visit family for Independence Day and decided to stay with family as long as possible and did not leave to go back to Kansas City (8 hour drive) until 8pm Sunday night. I figured I would drive through the night, less traffic, etc.
Well, I’m about half-way through the State of Iowa along I-80 and I am just DEAD tired. In order to stay awake, I put the radio on full volume, I rolled down all the windows for more annoyance. I tried everything. Didn’t work. So I’m nodding off going 75mph on I-80 West in the middle of bumfart Iowa.
Miraculously, after one of my jerk awake moments, I happen to look down at my gas gauge and the little light has come on saying I need gas. Well, this thing must have gone on about 20 miles ago and I didn’t notice, because the needle is riding close to empty. Well, that realization that I am about to run out of gas in the middle of bumfart Iowa on I-80 West with no cars or civilization in sight woke me up pretty darn quickly and got me to start paying attention for some gas stations.
Luckily I came across a gas station about 2 miles down the highway. I thank god for the luck and pull in. DIESEL ONLY. FRACK!
So, move on down the highway, praying for another gas station before I run out of gas.
About 4 miles down, there is a sign for a gas station 3 miles ahead. YES! I’m saved! But DRAT, I look down and the needle looks like it is past E now, so I am running on fumes. I plead with my Jeep Cherokee to just putter on for 3 more miles.
Alas, my pleading did not work. About a mile on, my Jeep starts shaking like it’s having a seizure. I pull over to the shoulder, put it in park and yell out a few expletives. I then face my fate and realize that I need to walk along the highway here, in the middle of bumfart Iowa the last 2 miles to the gas station.
Oh, did I mention that it is now 1:30am, pitch black dark, no lights along this stretch of I-80 in bumfart Iowa? Yeah, fun times.
So I’m fast walking along the road, cursing my stupidity of allowing this to happen, once in a while trying to flag down a trucker who goes flying by, which feels like a freaking earthquake when you’re standing on the side of the road. When, all of a sudden, a thought strikes me that I have seen a lot of dead animals along the side of I-80 West here in the middle of bumfart Iowa and, at one point in time, these animals were probably ALIVE.
Well, I have no intention of wanting to come in contact with some live nasty animals here with only my car keys, wallet and White Sox hat as my defense, so I start jogging. When I remember some of the bigger dead animals I have seen, my jog turns in to a run. Luckily, I was in the best shape of my life at this point in time, so I was able to comfortably run (as comfortably as one can run down a highway road in the middle of bumfart Iowa at 1:30 in the morning in pitch black darkness with only the sounds of strange animals and insects as inspirational background sounds) the remaining 2 miles to the gas station.
But, the story does not end there. Upon arrival, I have to ask the attendant for a gas can (as I didn’t have one with me at the time, the last time in my life I ever have driven anywhere without a gas can in my car) and then ask if there is any way he could have someone drive me back to my car. He provides me with a gas can, but says that he is the only one working so I’d have to ask a customer for help if I wanted a ride back.
Well, luckily, despite it being 1:30 in the morning in the middle of bumfart Iowa, there are actually a few different people at the gas station getting gas. I work up the nerve to ask some scruffy-looking hick guy if he could help me out. After hearing my situation, he says ‘sure, let’s go!’ For as scruffy-looking and somewhat scary this guy is, he was really nice. We chatted the whole ride back to my Jeep, but the only thing I remember is him sharing with me the reason why he was out getting gas at 1:30 in the morning: his wife was giving him shit for something and he wanted to get the hell away from her. heh So him doing this good deed for me was just another great excuse to stay out the house away from his wife. Hey, thank god for bitchy wives huh? heh
Anyway, we finally spot my Jeep sitting lonely on the side of the road along I-80 going West in the middle of bumfart Iowa. He uses the emergency turnaround to get to the other side of the highway (it’s 1:30 in the morning with no one in sight, who’s gonna know?) and brings me up to my car. Unfortunately, I only have $2 left on me after getting the gas (plus I’m a poor college student who was not carrying around much money with me at the time), but I offer it to him anyway, apologizing that I can’t offer more. He refuses to take anything and says it’s not a problem and actually thanks ME for giving him a reason to stay out later. heh I thank him, put the contents of the gas can in my tank and then drive to the gas station to fill up and return the gas can.
Quite an embarrassing experience. But, I definitely did not get anywhere near falling asleep the rest of the way back to Kansas City. And, I always carry a gas can with me now. Lesson learned.
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