the beginning of my last work day before the xmas holidays started off poorly. the day and night before it’d been freezing cold. i needed to get gas, but i knew the next day was going to be significantly warmer, so i decided to drive home and get gas the next morning instead of freezing my butt off getting gas that night. the next morning everything was wet and it was misting, but at least the temperature was reasonable.
of course, as is my way, i got up late and was thus running late, so i decided to just head to work. it’s only about 5 to 7 miles after all. about halfway there my pickup sputtered a bit. i got worried, but then it kept going fine. so i decided i’d go ahead and stop and get gas at the next station. the next gas station i knew of was an exit before my normal exit and probably about a 1/4 mile from the feeder — but it was only about a 2/3 mile to my normal exit, which has a gas station on the corner. i blew past the exit before my normal one…then, almost on cue, my pickup immediately died. i was in the slow lane, so i pulled over but was coasting toward the on-ramp from the street whose off-ramp i’d just bypassed. i had to put on the brakes so i wouldn’t roll to a stop in the middle of on-ramp traffic. of course, this also meant i’d wedged myself tightly in the triangular corner between the highway and the on-ramp. which makes it rather difficult to get in and out of the pickup without having someone going at 60 to 80 mph knock my door off.
i tried to start it a few times, but it was dead. i got out my cell phone and called a co-worker. he said he’d buy a gas can and some gas and come get me. in the meantime, i was trying to push my pickup back further from the highway. no easy feat, since i had to move my steering wheel over and over — which meant getting into and out of my pickup, which meant waiting for a gap in traffic. that highway is insanely busier than i thought.
during my time waiting for my co-worker, another co-worker called me and said he’d driven by and saw me and asked me if i needed help. i told him i was just out of gas and i’d already called our co-worker. he said he’d see if he could borrow someone from work’s gas can and bring me some gas. i called the first co-worker to let him know, but he didn’t answer. plus at this point my phone was dieing. (i love it when planning comes together.) at some point a black guy in a pickup pulled over and stopped (and almost caused a wreck in the process) and asked me if i needed help. i told him i just ran out of gas and someone was on the way, then thanked him for taking the time to stop. he said okay and was on his way. also, during my waiting time, numerous police vehicles had passed and not stopped. which i was a bit surprised by. also, if you aren’t aware, houston has a policy that wreckers get to tow vehicles on the side of freeways. you don’t really have much of a choice in the matter.
so of course, a tow truck driver showed up. and of course it was one of the ones that seems haggard and hung over, and sounds and acts like they’re trying to con or force you into something even if they aren’t. but they probably are. he asked me if i broke down. i said i was just out of gas and someone was bringing me gas. he looked at me like he didn’t believe me, and i could see he wanted to tow me. fortunately, the co-worker i’d called rolled up behind me and i said “there he is now.” the tower seemed disappointed. he pulled in front of me and sat there for a minute or two before he left, perhaps fuming or scheming or contemplating the subtle nuances of modern city dwelling.
my pickup was still right up against the freeway, so it was a bit difficult putting gas in. i got the gas in, then jumped in and tried to start it. it didn’t start. i thought maybe one gallon wasn’t enough…maybe it all ran to the wrong end of the tank or something since i was on a bit of an incline. about that time, the second co-worker showed up. he had borrowed a 3-gallon tank, and brought it over. we got the pickup pushed away from the highway some and i added the gas he’d brought. i went to start it up and…nothing. at this point it didn’t sound like it was turning over. well, i had left my lights on, and i’d tried to start it quite a few times. okay…so…now my battery was low. “no problem, i’ll just get my jumpers.”
…that are now in my bel-air. and i’d never put another pair i have into the pickup. *sigh* the 2nd co-worker went to get his…but he’d recently put them in a car he races, because he’d had it out over the weekend. so none of us had jumpers. the 2nd co-worker called the co-worker who he’d borrowed the gas can from, and he had some jumpers and said he’d be there soon. while we were waiting for him, the first co-worker decided to go ahead and go back to work. the 2nd co-worker and i went ahead and pushed my pickup all the way back to the on-ramp curb and he pulled his pickup up to mine and we waited for the 3rd co-worker.
then the tow truck driver pulled up again. “can’t get it started, huh?” i told him i had gas in it now, but the battery had run down so we were waiting for someone to bring jumper cables. “when i was here last time i could tell your lights was dim.” i told him it’s an old pickup so the lights are always dim. i figured i shouldn’t have to tell a tow truck driver about old vehicle lights. he said “well, i’m gonna have to tow you. if you can’t start it. i’ll be back by later.” i figured at this point i should try to get on his good said, so i asked if he had a card, and if i couldn’t get it started i’d call him. that seemed to pep him up, and he gave me his card. (i figured i’d call aaa if i couldn’t get it started.) plus the 3rd co-worker drove up while we were talking, so i told him the guy with jumpers was here now. the tow driver did the same pull-up-and-wait-for-a-bit thing, perhaps contemplating some epistemological quandry he’d recently read about and been mulling over, then drove off. (according to his card: “request the best. ask for randy.”)
the 3rd co-worker came over and we hooked up the batteries. i hopped in and it cranked up and started. the co-workers hopped back in their respective vehicles and we all headed the 1/2 mile or so back to work.
fortunately, the rest of my day was much less eventful.
i spent most of xmas day over at the potts house.
in addition to xmas shopping for others, i also did some xmas shopping for myself over the last couple of weeks. here’s the stuff i can remember that i got myself…
- bottle rocket – wes anderson (criterion)
- underworld – (screen gems/sony)
- gattaca – (columbia)
- run lola run – (sony)
i got all of those off amazon. bottle rocket i’d ordered a couple of months ago in advance, but it was released and sent out to me just in time for xmas. the other three i got as part of a “buy 2, get 1 free” deal.
all of the above came from thinkgeek. they were all on sale. i’d had my eye on the tix clocks for awhile, but never had broken down and gotten one. they are really slick, in a kind of campy 1960’s futuristic space travel sort of way. cool looking like that, yet functional. the 8-bit tie is just funny.
- bobster bugeyes: mirrored, clear lenses
- bobster bugeyes: mirrored, smoked lenses
- nannini custom: chrome frame, black leather pads, grey (smoked) lenses
the bobster bugeyes i also ordered through amazon, although they came from a third party. i’d been craving some nannini goggles for a long time, so i finally bought a pair. i found a scooter site that had them on sale for about 20% less than you can normally find them for.