Yesterday, I got into trouble.
No, I’m exaggerating again.
Grant huffed at me, telling me I was making generalizations , about men. Perhaps I was.
But here is my criteria. See what you think:
Why is it that men manage to run out of gasoline (petrol) only at the most inopportune moments?
In my personal experience, no woman ever has.
But men have, beginning with my father.
In his case, we were really in the boonies. The hot, dry, very desolated boonies of Cambodia, c 1956. I was 8. My father, driving the old Citroen announced suddenly that we were running low on petrol. He had no idea where we were.
Normally, when exasperated with my father, Mum would retort: “Smithy!” That she remained silent, in this case, suggested the possible cause for worry.
Needless to say, we had no water bottles.
Perhaps we would have been rescued in a bullock cart, however the Citroen managed to convey us thirstily to a petrol station and ultimately to some remote destination long forgotten.
My father detested anything to do with driving, so the fact that he managed to run short of gas may have been an expression thereof, although he was generally a careful sort of man.
The next time I was subjected to anxiety over running out of gas was on the night of September 11th, 2000. I was living outside Seattle. A very good and dear friend had come to visit and, overwhelmed by events of that day, we sought solace on the flanks of Mt Rainier where there is a hotel.
Navigating the winding road in failing light, my friend, an extremely careful, organized person, suddenly mentioned his hope that a gas station might be available at some point in the near future. It was not.
We stayed the night at the Paradise Inn. In those days it was verging on seedy. Mice ran around the walls of the gift shop where we browsed, aimlessly, listening to the tune someone was picking out on the piano in the lounge: “Glory Hallelujah”.
It brought tears to our eyes, so we went outside to gaze at the dark, star-filled sky. The absence of air traffic a unique experience.
In the morning, we aimed the car downhill and hoped we might coast to the nearest gas station, some distance away. We were relieved when this was achieved, not wanting to cause a fuss.
Not many years after this, I found myself on the road with Dad again. By now he was a very old man and it was my brother who drove, my services having been offered and declined.
Now, in most parts of the States, there is no shortage of gas stations, though there had been one on Mt Rainier. Having efficiently traversed isolated parts of Utah, Nebraska, Wyoming and Idaho, we found ourselves in Oregon, headed home, on our last day.
Father wished to view a ghost town, so I could place blame on him, once more, but he was not the operator. And while I may have been assigned lowly navigating responsibilities, neither was I.
So, there we were in the back of beyond and the driver pipes up “do you think we’ll find a gas station soon?”
“Um, no, probably not.”
Father may have chuckled. I did not.
We actually did arrive at the semblance of a gas pump and tried to engage the attention of a couple of rather low-looking specimens who contrived to ignore us.
They got my hackles up. Think “Deliverance”. We left.
Perhaps that was the ghost town and they were ghosts.
It began to snow heavily. (It was late June).
Once more, luck prevailed. We survived.
Two weeks ago, Grant was driving me to an appointment in Clifton Park. Plenty of gas stations along the way, but the moment we left the highway for a scenic route: “We’d better get gas soon.”
Eye roll. It’s my car, but Grant drives it.
And what happened yesterday? Instant replay. “We must get gas as soon as possible.”
Hence my remark: “Why is it only men that run out of gas, always at the worst moment?”
So it’s a “generalization”, but I ask you:
Do I have cause?