I don’t know what the game was.
I’m not sure what I was up to.
I used to like to take the gas gauge all the way down to “E” and then past….all the way down, like the vapors would protect me or something….like I was invincible and that my cheapness would have no consequences.
I wonder why I did that?
This was when gas was cheap and wages were low, too.
The thing about it all was that my weird habit carried over into my marriage.
I actually ran out of gas when Jenny and I were first married….down in Atlanta.
That shows a definite inability to plan ahead.
That’s pretty strange that I’d let it go so far.
I guess that old habits die hard.
It was a game….something I did whether I had the money for gas or not.
I think I thought that if I didn’t spend the money on gas that I could buy another book or cassette tape or…if I found a great deal, another guitar.
I didn’t need that stuff…I needed to put gas in the car so I wouldn’t have to make a hard walk with my young wife.
You don’t treat your wife like that.
It’s all pretty goofy.
There is something seductive about watching that gas needle dip lower and lower while you drive farther and farther away from the pump.
There’s something seductive about thinking that, even though the signs say otherwise, you are going to be the one who beats the odds…that you will be the solitary astronaut who makes it back to earth on nothing but vapors.
Of course, your passengers don’t share your enthusiasm for a weird adventure like that.
They just want to get back home without having to take a walk to rescue the situation.
I have a light that comes on when the gas gets low now.
It came on yesterday during the mail route, and I fell into the old habit pretty easily of wondering if I could make it through the rest of the route and then back to the PO in Saluda and then back up to Ingles to buy some cheap gas.
I think that I might have wondered if I could make it if I coasted down the biggest hills and didn’t accelerate too hard anywhere.
Then I stopped flying towards the sun…before my wax wings melted….and stopped and filled up the tank at the gas station that I was only a mile away from.
I stopped playing my weird “empty tank game”….and bought some gas.
I guess that maybe there’s not really any such thing as being “the one who beat the odds”.
You don’t beat the odds, really. You pay.
You might get good at hiding that the tank is empty….and if you never tell anyone else about your sick, twisted little game….your petrol russian roulette….no one will ever be the wiser until you have to make up an excuse when they ask why you’re walking…but….
you don’t “beat the odds”.
Somebody’s going to pay when you screw around with an empty tank….and think that you can just keep driving like nothing can touch you.
You need to get a bike.
“Running on Empty” Jackson Browne