Thursday, April 24, 2008

I have a good reason for the paranoia

I have no peace of mind when my gas gauge falls below a quarter a of a tank full. I envision myself stranded on the side of the road, miles from home, trying to call Ricardo to come and rescue us. I have my dad to thank for this; growing up, it was an absolute cardinal sin to have less than a quarter of a tank of gas.

Not so with my hubby. He seems to derive some sort of twisted excitement from seeing how far he can go on one tank of gas. You have PLENTY of gas, he tells me, even though the gauge is showing completly empty. You have at least 50 more miles in there! You'll be fine!

Oh, sure.

I am never convinced, so I have been known to make a dash to the gas station and pump 4 dollars worth, just to be safe. Ricardo scoffs at me for doing this, but hey, it's all about the peace of mind.

When I lived in Dallas years ago, I was driving back from work one evening. It was around 8:00, so it was already almost completely dark. I had just gotten a new car (not brand new, by any means, but new to me) so I wasn't completly familiar with all the quirks of this particular vehicle. In the car I had previously, I knew exactly how far I could go before filling up, and believe me, I pushed it to the very limits, running on fumes to get a few more miles out of it. So, I never gave it a second thought that the new car wouldn't behave in exactly the same way. I had only gone a few miles when my car began to act strangely. Having never run out of gas before, I had no idea what was going on, and I just thought that I was having some sort of engine problems. I managed to make it to an exit ramp, and I steered it to the side of the road before it died completely. The exit that I had taken was in a dark and remote area, with businesses and warehouses that had already been shut down for the day. I had no idea what to do. No cell phone, no one around, not even any cars driving by.

So I prayed. Then I got out and started walking.

I was really starting to freak out when a little pickup truck came into view. It slowed down as it passed me, and then stopped and backed up. I was freaking out at this point, praying it wouldn't be some crazy mugger person.

There was a little man inside, and he asked if he could help. I told him I was having car trouble, and he offered to drive me down the road so I could call for help.

My mind raced as I looked at him. I was a young girl all alone, he was a complete stranger.... but I couldn't stay where I was, either. I remember saying a really quick prayer, like, Please God, keep me safe and don't let him kill me, or something to that effect. Then I got in the truck.

I really think God sent me an angel in the form of that man that night. He was as sweet as could be. I'm sure he could tell I was totally freaked out because he just asked nice general questions, nothing too personal. He said he had a daughter about my age and he sure would hate to see her out walking by herself like that.

He took me to a gas station a mile down the road, and wouldn't you know it.....every single person that I could think to call didn't answer. I went back to thank him, and let him know I would just hang out there until I could reach someone. He wouldn't hear of it. He insisted on driving me all the way home, which was a good 30-40 miles out of his way.

In the end it all worked out; my sister and some friends drove me back to my car later that night. I kept insisting to them the whole way there that I was sure something was drastically wrong with the car, and there was no way it could be out of gas.

Um, yeah. It was out of gas.

Boy, did I feel stupid. It just goes to show that God still watches over us, even in the midst of our stupidity.

After that, I became a huge stickler to the "quarter-of-a-tank" rule. Then I married Ricardo. And he laughs in the face of my paranoia.

But let me tell you, if I am ever stranded on the side of the road after he has said, You'll be fine! You have a least 50 miles left......well, he will never hear the end of it.