I used to think that my car’s tank could hold about 17 gallons of gas. This estimation came from the fact that when I had driven for about as far as I felt was prudent after the low fuel warning light had been illuminated on my dash, I would fill ‘er up and the pump would click off after dispensing 16.8 or so gallons. Sure, I could crack open the owner’s manual and swiftly know the exact capacity of my gas tank, but what fun is that? I enjoy this little game I play with myself, this tempting of the empty tank gods.
The warning light is absurdly conservative. I’ve barely run below ¼ tank when it lights up, and although my mother used to preach: “pretend you’re on empty at ¼ tank and you’ll never run out of gas”, that kind of living offends my delicate sense of rebellion. I mock that light, that light is for chumps.
My husband sees the warning light as a sign of certain and impending doom. He fears he must stop at the next visible gas station or the air raid sirens will scream and the SWAT team will descend. Silly, silly Billy. I’ve coasted for days on the juices of my empty tank, never content until experiencing the unique satisfaction of at least 16.8 gallons. Ha! Take that you nerd warning light!
Getting gas scores just slightly higher than going to the bank on my boring time-suck scale. I avoid filling up at generally inconvenient times. I prefer to wait until the Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend, preferably when I am late to at least two consecutive activities. The road from my house to Costco is all downhill. The gas can always wait until tomorrow. And to you naysayers, I proclaim that I have only run out of gas a handful of times in my entire life, and not once since I got that sissy warning light.
Sometimes I know that I’m pushing it too far. My car feels weirldy light, like I might just fly off the road on a sharp turn, and was that a hiccup in acceleration as I gunned it up the big hill? I was nervous yesterday; I had gone well past my comfort zone and breathed an audible sign of relief when I sputtered into the Costco lot. And you know what? 18.3 gallons, baby.