Old Blog Repost Series - #1
I had another anonymous blog over the summer, but have just decided to transfer some of the old posts over when I've got nothing else to write about. Sorry if you've already read this...
So I ran out of gas today...
Yeah -- I know, I know... lame. I know exactly what you're thinking: "Who runs out of gas??? Are you a monkey? Because only a monkey wouldn't realize he was out of gas. No, on second thought, even a monkey would realize that, so you must be something less. Perhaps you are an inanimate object, such as a piece of chalk. Yes -- you are likely a piece of chalk, which would certainly have no concept of a gas tank, nor the degree to which it was filled, yet you have somehow unlocked the secrets of the internet and discovered blogging."
Well, before you get all preposterous on me, I have an excuse. My van is a piece of shit. It must have some type of loose wire somewhere, because the console dials turn on and off. They'll work just fine for a long while, but then everything will just shut off for weeks at a time. I'm talking speed, gear, gas guage, odometer, etc. Though I can live without knowing the core temperature and RPM of my 1998 Caravan, gas and speed seem to be pretty integral to the whole driving experience.
But I'm not completely in the dark, since I've figured out how to manage speed, at least on the highways. Y'see, my van is a rocket. Sadly, I don't mean "rocket" in the sweet-vehicle-that-gets-me-chicks way. I mean that, at 130 kmph, everything in my van starts vibrating and shaking and groaning. I'm talking serious rumbling, as in -- Prepare-for-re-entry rumbling. So the strategy for going the 120-kmph limit is to take my van up to vibration-speed, then reel it in a notch. I like to think that this is how my anscestors used to drive... I feel so cave-man.
So the speed problem is solved, at least for major throughfares, but that still leaves gas to chance, prayer, and (at least in the end) the angle of my van. Which leads me to today, I was cruising through the city, and then -- just BLAM -- car starts stuttering and stalling. I'd just passed a gas station a minute ago, so (being naively optimistic), I tried to pull a no-gas U-turn on a busy road. Taking it wide, I rolled up onto the sidewalk, where this dude -- the nerve of him! -- was just strolling leisurely down the sidewalk as if he owned the place. His back was to me and he was blabbing on his cell phone, completely oblivious to the minivan on his heels.
So I honked. Given his road-side location, I guess he was pretty surprised to see me. I then succintly explained that I was out of gas and needed to conserve, so as to make it to the next service station ("MOVE! NO GAS! NEED EVERY DROP!" out the window as I rolled past). So I got turned around, but since the gas station was up a hill, I didn't get far. At the very least, I learned that gas needs to be at the front of the tank in order to be useful for locomotion. The line behind me was a about a dozen cars long before I deciding that this was no way to get gas into my poor van. So I coasted into a parking lot and left it in the open, not even having enough to make it to a parking space.
From here, I just booted it up to the Irving, where the cashier watched, perplexed, as I inspected the beverages, bought a 2L jug of water, walked outside, and dumped it out. I then filled it up with gas, paid, and ran back down the street. If you live in Saint John and happened to see some dude tearing down the street with what looked to be a large bottle of urine, then that was probably me. Once I got to the van, I realized something. Since recessed gas tanks aren't designed to accept liquid from a generic-brand water bottle, I could only get about $2 of the $3 worth of gas into the tank. And that was only with me thrusting the nozzle of the bottle into the gas openning with great velocity, in an effort to get the last little bits in. Needless to say, gas covered the side of my van and the ground in the immediate vicinity. I guess I can't complain though, since it was enough to get me to the next gas station.
So why didn't we have my van fixed ages ago? Well we've tried, but as I said, the problem is on-again-off-again. What happens is this: We book an appointment with the car dude, but by the time we get it in, the symptoms are gone. The car guy could never find anything wrong, so after 3 or 4 visits, he probably thinks that we're a family of vehicular hypochondriacs.
So... yeah... the end.