Ever panic ’cause you realize your gas light is on and you’re not sure how close you are to the nearest gas station? What if your gas light came on right after you passed through the toll booth to a long bridge connecting two cities over a lake?
That happened to me tonight.
My girl is spending the night out at an old friend’s house. Originally, the friend was coming to our house but the plans got reversed this afternoon. So, we packed up all of the necessary clothes, elf hats, costume jewelry, stuffed hamsters and other paraphernalia and set off on the 31.3 mile voyage from our doorstep to her friend’s house. It was a beautiful day and, aside from the fact that I was quite tired, we got there in no time at all. Playing the Game of Life app on her iPod all the way over.
It was nice catching up with her friend’s family. Her mom and I don’t get to see each other much since they’ve moved to this new house. And, after a good bit of chit chat, I could tell that my daughter was ready to see me off and begin her “real” sleepover. So, I left …. fortunately feeling much less sleepy at the wheel than I had on the way over … but still craving a jolt of caffeine. I wound up grabbing a Diet Coke and a little fast food sludge to munch on in the car on the way home. I knew the Diet Coke would make quick work of my diminutive bladder. And I deduced that a full bladder would serve as my alertness stimulant for the ride home. Which actually worked.
If only I had also considered filling my gas tank before getting onto the lengthy causeway. The second I pulled on to this now darkened, sparsely populated bridge, the yellow gas light popped on. It mocked me and made me feel like a fool in my complete and utter dependence upon it. As, clearly without it, I would drive until my tank was filled with cobwebs and sand.
So, I picked up my cell and called Dave to warn him of my potential quandary.
Me: How long is the Causeway Bridge?
Dave: I don’t know. Why?
Me: Because just as I was getting on it, my gas light came on.
Dave: What? How did that happen?
Me: I don’t know. I’m not usually in situations where I’m more than 20 miles from a gas station at any given time. … Isn’t it 22 miles long? The Causeway, I mean. If so, I’m good. There’s a gas station practically on the off ramp.
Dave: Actually, I think it’s 24 point something miles.
Me: Well, then I’m screwed. My gas range said 24 miles of gas was left in my tank right when I pulled on. … I’m going to keep thinking it’s 22.
Dave: If you really get into a situation, just pull over to the side, put on your hazards and call me.
Me: There’s only two lanes of traffic and no shoulder on this suspension bridge.
Dave: It’s not a suspension bridge.
Me: (pause) Oh, my God. I know what a suspension bridge is. I don’t know why I said that. Just cross your fingers for me. It’s gonna be close.
When I pulled off the bridge, there were two gas stations waiting for me at the exit. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway (a Guinness Record Book holder for longest continuous bridge over water) is 23.83 miles long, by the way.
So, I had .17 miles to spare. Point-one-seven. I don’t know what everyone was so worried about.