My Stupid Pride is what got me in trouble today-and cost my boyfriend alot of money!
Out of Gas, and Out of my Mind!
The previous owner of my Geo Storm told me I could go over 30 miles with the gas gauge needle on "E". That was usually all the gas I needed in my hometown of Green Bay to get to the nearest gas station. I never ran out of gas in that car before.
Ever since I moved three and a half hours away, though I have pushed my limit many times. Fortunately, in every case, up until today, did I make it to my destination.
Today, however, I not so fortunate. Though I knew I went passed 30 miles, and my gas gauge needle was already below "E",I decided, for some unknown reason, to veer off my normal route to seasonal the wreath making job I drove to more than 50 miles away. Instead of staying on HWY 8 until I got to HWY 111, I decided to turn off unto County J. I was doing it in an effort to find a faster way, and to save gas.
That didn't help much, since I didn't remember the directions very clearly, nor did look at the map before I decided to change routes. After a few stubborn minutes of saying to myself, "I'll get there, it's not too far away", and making more wrong turns, I finally slowed down. As I slowed down, I began feeling around for my map, which I could not find.
Then, I pulled into a driveway of a home-style ranch on the corner of County N and County D, and knocked on the door for directions. No one was there. I looked around at all four corners of the intersection, and saw no cars, no farmers, no open doors, and no sign of life whatsoever-just empty houses and cabins, and miles of tree and bare land.
I scrambled through the front seat, and back seats, and underneath the seats to find my map. "I'm going to find it!" I let out with a determined gasp of breath.
After a few minutes of fretting over trying to find my map, I retrieved it from a pile of long overdue rubbish from my messy back seat floor, I breathed a sigh of relief. I studied and studied it, determined I had to head twoward HWY 13, which would be east of where I was, according to the map.
So, since I thought I was going south before, I determined that I should go right, in oder to go east toward the highway I wanted. It would be about 30 miles out of my way, but at least I was no longer lost. So, I headed out with confidence of where I was going, wondering how far my car would take me with my gas gauge now under "E".
Without warning, my car because to putter, and I was unable to drive the highway speed. I kept shifting and downshifting, and restarting my car, pushing it as far as I could go. Then, the inevitable, which I could no longer fight, occurred. I could no longer get my car to start.
Now what was I going to do? I was out of answers, and my cell phone was dead, because I had lost my battery charger. Since I didn't know what to do, I attempted to take a nap, in order to perhaps think a little more clearly about the situation once I awoke. That never happened, though. Instead I started thinking of how my boyfriend tried to offer me money that morning before I left the house.
What would he say when he finds out I ran out of gas, I wondered. All I could do now is hope that I don't get killed, and that some nice person will stop and help me. A few minutes later, a stranger drove towards me from the opposite side of the road, slowed down, and stopped. Then he opened his door, stepped out, and asked, "Do you need any help?"
I didn't feel as if I had many options. I could have either walked over 30 miles to the nearest town, or I could stay here and freeze to death, or I can accept a ride from a fairly friendly person dressed in hunter clothes. I hoped deer was the only thing that he ever killed in his life-no humans, hopefully!
Since I figured I would have a slightly higher chance of living if I ride with this person I didn't even know than I would if I had stayed by my car, I accepted a ride to his house so I could make some phone calls. Then, I rode with him to the wreath making plant in Phillips, the same city where this man also worked.
On the way there, we talked, and he told me of some of the work that he does. "I manage a mental health clinic," he said. Feeling pretty down, I responded, "I should be one of your patients."
I felt helpless, and unable to take care of myself, and it felt good to vent to somebody of whom I didn't have to worry about what he thought, since he was a stranger I may never see again, after all.
I called my boyfriend, and told him what was going on, wondering what he would say about me riding with a man I didn't even know, and how he would respond, when I told him I ran out of gas. "I'm so embarrassed," I told him, "I feel so stupid, I ran out of gas!"
He told me I wasn't stupid, and that he rand out of gas many times. I was having a hard time deciding who I was going to have bring me back to my car.
"I will see if anybody from work can take me to my car, otherwise will you come to get me?"
He said he would come get me if I wanted him to.
When I got to work, I thought I was going to ask someone else for a ride. Then I realized I didn't know anybody here, and who to even ask.
To make matters worse, I only had so much time to decide what to do, because I was only allowed to make one phone call. So, I decided just to call my boyfriend back, with only enough time to ask him to pick me up, and no time to give him decent directions.
All day long I was working twice as slowly as I normally would, because I had too much on my mind. I was trying to think of a way, such as finding someone's cell phone to use, to make the rest of my calls. I was also fretting about the possibility of my car being town away, which I told my boss about.
"You have 72 hours before they tow it away." He said, to get me to not use the phone. However, that was not good enough for me. I wanted to be sure my car wouldn't get towed away! How would my boss really know that? How am I supposed to know who I can trust around here? I don't even know anybody here?
By this time, I also was on edge, and really wanting to scream at me boss for not giving me more "phone time". I know they have a business to run, but in the moment of need, I couldn't help but feel like a prisoner with no rights.
However, for once, I managed to not say anything I would regret. Regardless, I really needed to get the point through to my employer that this was a veryimportant matter. I wondered how he like it if his car was stalled out of gas. I questioned to myself, would he have waited to call then?
"Do you mind if I use the phone later?" I asked.
My tension lowered some when he said, "After 5 P.m. would be better."
I thought to myself, that this was good, because at least I would have time to call my boyfriend and tell him exactly where to pick me up. My tension escalated again, after trying to call his house three times before he answered the phone. Thank God, I thought. I finally got a hold of him at about a ten to six.
"Can you meet me in Hawkins?" I told him. Thank you for coming I said to Ralph, as I opened the car door, and got in. As we pulled out of the driveway of the gas station, I asked, "aren't we supposed to go the other way?"
He said, "No".
Then I realized he was right. All the more for him to use against me later, I was thinking. I felt like a fool because I tried so hard to prove to him that I wouldn't be a burden to him, and here he was coming to pick me up, after I refused the gas money he gave me this morning.
We drove to find my car. As we approached and passed where I thought my car would have been, I shouted out frantically, "Oh no! Where's my car!"
"Are you sure you went this way?"
I thought, how dare he question my integrity! I also, in not-so-nice language said to him condescendingly, "Why would I go the other way, when Highway 13 is that way!" I pointed toward Highway 13.
Then, Ralph, as worried as I was, said,"Someone stole your car. A car like that, with gas prices the way they are, somebody for sure must have stole it."
"You're just the person I want around in a crisis!" I snapped back sarcastically.
Then, we stopped at the Taylor county sheriff's office to talk to an officer. We told them about my car. The cop radioed in my situation, and responded, "No, we have no record of that vehicle."
Then, I had what I thought was a very bright thought. "Maybe it went into the ditch!"
Ralph, annoyed, asked,"Why would it be in the ditch?!"
"Maybe I forgot to put on a parking brake, and it rolled into the ditch!".
He reluctantly admitted that as a possibility, as I was desperate to regain back some of my pride, due to already feeling ashamed that I ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere, just because I wouldn't accept his money.
As we left the Taylor county sheriff's office, I said, "Okay, if my car is the other direction down County D, you can check me into the mental institution."
Ralph pointed to a building across the way."There's one nearby here," he said.
Then for a moment, our tension both left us for a moment, and we both laughed.
"I probably owe you fifty dollars for gas." I said, in empathy.
"You don't owe me anything." He said.
"Yeah," I joked,"but I should just stay out of your life, right?"
"The thought crossed my mind," he retorted.
We laughed again. At least for now he wasn't annoyed with me.
Then, I led Ralph the opposite way down county D, passed the house that I stopped at and there was my car! "Okay, I'm embarrassed, I'm sorry."
Ralph hadn't said a word at this point. I wondered if he was holding in his anger and frustration. "Get out and start your car,"He ordered, as if I was his child.
I went to my car and he poured the gas in. As he poured, I started my car, and we drove to a gas station from there to put air in my tire. "Please get me a tire gauge."
Ralph ordered again.
I went inside the gas station to get it.
He couldn't see, so he asked me to read the numbers to measure my tire pressure.
"It's says 20," I responded.
"It doesn't say 20!" He snapped.
"Yes it does, here turn it over, it says 200 on this side."
"Oh" he responded, and I hoped he felt put in his place, as I did earlier.
After he filled my air with tire, I gave him a hug and said, "I wish this whole day would have never happened,"
"That's okay," he responded with a smile, "just make a lunch for tomorrow, and fill up your gas tank!"
Believe me, I wasn't afraid to ask for help after that. I found somebody to lend me 20 dollars until payday, and just to make sure things went somewhat "back to normal" between Ralph and me, I decided to call him up the next day, and offered my appreciation, and to buy him his favorite beverage, MGD light, when I get paid.
After some resistance in accepting my return favor he replied with a smile, "Maybe you can get me a calling card instead, I'm trying not to drink so much beer".
"It's the least I can do, for you putting up with me," I responded.
"I wouldn't call it that." He said, probably because he knew that was what I wanted to hear, after I put him through a considerable amount of grief.
Believe me, I definitely made sure from that point on, to either have gas in my car, or accept money for gas, or ask for help. For my own sanity It was time to let go of my stupid pride, before I end up out of gas again-or out of my mind!