My foot tapped as I peered at my mother-in-law by the door – already finished shopping and waiting.
My daughter kicked my bladder and I patted my stomach to calm her gymnastics. I didn’t have time to use the bathroom.
“More Kashi!” My son said, thrusting his empty cup at me.
“What do you say, Sweetie?” I asked, hands already seeking the refill in the diaper bag.
The check-out person rattled off an amount as I juggled the refill and my wallet.
Finally, we were free.
I set a land speed record for loading the car and sped off, the gas light once again reminded me I needed fuel.
1) Drop off my groceries first so my mother-in-law could entertain my toddler, because if I had to remove him from the car, he wouldn’t get back in.
2) Drop off her groceries – she lived three blocks away.
3) Fill up the tank – the gas station was half a block from her apartment.
4) Attend my class at the gym.
Step one went off without a hitch, as I quickly shoved all must-be-refrigerated items away and left everything else strewn upon the floor.
As I hit the midpoint to my mother-in-law’s, my car slowed. Mashing the gas pedal did nothing.
I could see the gas station one block away, taunting me. Instead of turning left into my mother-in-law’s apartment complex, I veered right, praying I’d make it.
Twenty feet later it became clear I would be stuck in step two.
I turned right into a strip mall parking lot. Before I coasted to a stop, I’d lost the ability to turn – the lovely downfall of power steering.
It was the first time I’d ever run out of fuel.
I squelched the urge to cry and turned to my MiL. “I’ll be right back.”
I waddled as fast as I could to the fire station next door.
“Is anyone here?” Panic laced my voice.
“Can I help you?” The fireman who greeted me had to be Mr. June on a calendar somewhere.
I explained the dire situation of melting groceries, a toddler, and handicapped mother-in-law and he graciously offered to get a gas can.
He walked over and poured two gallons of gasoline into the tank, although he’d accidentally grabbed a leaky container and fuel ran down the side of my car.
I didn’t care at this point, my face flaming with embarrassment.
My new van had taught me a lesson: the gas light means business.
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What we finally landed on? Is this:
Write a post that either starts or ends with the words “Lesson learned.” Word limit: 400 words.
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Concrit is welcomed as always.
Have you ever run out of gas? What happened?