Metro-East Living

Running out of gas brings Michelle back to playing ‘gas tank roulette’ in college

It’s one thing to run out of gas when you know you’re on fumes. But to run out of gas when you have no idea you’re on empty? Well, that’s just plain embarrassing.

“I’ve lost all power!” I shrieked to my best pal, Lydia Kachigian, who had been keeping me company on Bluetooth.

Like the plot from a bad Stephen King novel, my 2010 Volvo drifted across the road before jumping the curb to face oncoming traffic. It came to rest at the entrance to my subdivision — right where all my neighbors pass by.

“It could be worse,” I told Lydia. “At least I’m wearing makeup.

I reapplied lipstick and assessed my options.

Should I abandon my car and walk the mile home?

Nope. A good captain goes down with her ship.

Should I call Triple A?

I could. But that could take hours.

I clicked off with Lydia – who was out of town and couldn’t rescue me – and began calling friends who lived nearby. When they were all unavailable, I called my husband, Mark, at work.

Can you say bad idea?

For naturally-occurring car trouble, Mark is a champ. He’s jumped my car’s battery in a blizzard without complaint. But for running-out-of-gas car trouble? Well that’s a different story. For some reason, he thinks I bring that on myself.

“I got ‘The Lecture,’” I told Lydia later that night.

“Boy, it’s a good thing he didn’t know us in college,” she said.

Back then, Lydia and I played a game we called “Gas Tank Roulette.” Too broke to buy gas, we took our chances on the road. Once, Lydia ran out of gas on the Poplar Street Bridge. My present situation was child’s play compared to that.

Speaking of my present situation...

As soon as I hung up with Mark, a parade of gawkers drove by. My savior came in the form of my neighbor, Glenn Fournie. An engineer with a heart of gold, he not only brought back gas and helped me start my car — but he told me it was no big deal.

“Of course he told you that, Shell. He’s not married to you,” Lydia said.

As for the man who is? Well, I called Mark back before he made the drive home. I hoped that would be the end of it. But it wasn’t.

“He’s not going to let me forget this for a while,” I told Lydia.

“Seriously? But you’ve done so many stupider things.”

“Thanks for that,” I said and laughed.

From now on, running out of gas won’t be one of them.