We’ve got it pretty easy in the modern age. Most of us manage to scrounge together enough resources to cover the basic human needs — food, water, shelter, and one of those pens where the girl’s clothes disappear when you shake it up.
But there are perils afoot, even with our twenty-first century wonders. We may not have to dig our own water wells or build our own caves or grill our own hamburgers like the Neanderthals did, but we still have our problems. Last night, I experienced one of the more sublime sources of modern fear, just as thrilling and as frightening as harpooning a mammoth or evolving an oversized forebrain.
I nearly ran out of gas.
Now, to be fair, I’ve never actually run out of gas before. That doesn’t make it any less scary. I’ve never harpooned a mammoth, either, but I’m pretty sure I’d soil my bearskin if I ever tried.
(And yes, for the record, there are those who say I’ve never evolved a forebrain, either. Shaddup, you.)
“Last night, I experienced one of the more sublime sources of modern anxiety, just as thrilling and as frightening as harpooning a mammoth or evolving an oversized forebrain.”
Anyway, there I was — staring down the asphalt jungle of the Massachusetts Turnpike, with an ‘Empty’ fuel light glowing bright orange like the dying rays of a Paleolithic sunset. I was running on fumes, with fourteen miles till the next exit. And the last thing I wanted was to become the jackass with no gas on the side of the interstate. Nobody wants to be that jackass. Even the cops don’t like that jackass.
Cop: Are you having car trouble, sir?
No-Gas Jackass: Um… yeah. Car trouble.
Cop: What happened? Carburetor blow?
No-Gas Jackass: No.
Cop: Crack a piston?
No-Gas Jackass: Nope.
Cop: Bust a tire? Drop an axle? Lose a fender?
No-Gas Jackass: No, officer. I ran out of gas.
Cop: Oh. Ran out of gas. That’s it, eh?
No-Gas Jackass: Yes, sir.
Cop: Nothing else? Sure you didn’t break a nail or something out there?
No-Gas Jackass: *sigh* No, sir.
Cop: You need a blankie? Is it your nap-nap time?
No-Gas Jackass: Um, officer, can I just get back in my car and wait for the tow truck?
Cop: Sure, sure, go ahead. I’m just going to call the other guys to come down and taunt you through the windows, break out the taillights, that sort of thing.
No-Gas Jackass: That, um… that seems fair.
Cop: Standard procedure, sir. Jus’ doin’ my job.
Luckily, I made it to the exit and coasted into the first gas station off the highway. Which means I paid through the nose for my fuel — those guys know when they have a captive, desperate audience. But at least I didn’t have to face Officer Smartymouth and his patrolling squad of wiseasses. Those guys are ruthless, and they rarely have anything better to do out there. Plus, they carry tasers. I think my life is thrill-packed enough, without getting into that.Permalink | 3 Comments