I was heading over to Voodoo Donuts for a “Midnight Surprise” for a friends birthday. Brian warned me that I needed to put gas in the car, but I was late, and I thought I could fuel up afterwards. About a quarter mile past the gas station, the car died! A prostitute started walking up to the car.
I don’t know why I was so surprised by that, there is a “Gentleman’s Club” right there, I suppose it makes sense. But still. Brian has since pointed out that I have made some assumptions about the people hanging out down there, and that the prostitutes probably would have been helpful if I had asked. But I was a little freaked out at the time, wishing I had kept my AAA membership up to date, and not feeling very open-minded.
Fortunately, I had brought Jack with me in the car. I brought him on a whim, really. I just thought he’d like a car ride.
So here I am in heels, a dress and a wrap sweater, no coat, traipsing down Sandy Boulevard past the hoes at midnight on Saturday night. I consider calling a cab, but I know Jack and I can handle this. Thank God for Jack.
We walk the quarter mile to the gas station and I explain my predicament and ask the guys there for help. They are usually really nice, I get gas there a lot. I guess I’m not usually dealing with the midnight crew, though.
“Nope, we don’t got no gas cans. We loan ’em out and then they never come back. You gotta find your own gas can.” He was nice enough about it, but are you kidding me with this? A gas station without a can?
So Jack and I continue on the 3/4 of a mile to our house. Brian and the kids are sleeping, of course. I change into my running gear, put my debit card, driver’s license, a poop bag for Jack, and the car keys in my pockets. I find a gas can on the side of the house, and miracle! It is already half full, which means there is about a gallon in there. So I think.
Jack and I run the whole way back to the car, me carrying the heavy plastic gas can. I make the mistake of not stopping back at the gas station, because I figure a gallon should be plenty to get the car there. Mile 2 down.
I start to put Jack in the back of the car, but this weird guy starts walking toward us. He probably wasn’t weird, I’m probably being uncharitable. But Jack didn’t like him, so neither did I.
I pour the gas in the tank, worry a bit that the can still feels heavy even when empty.
I start the car, but as soon as I put it into drive, it dies. Again. Start, shift, die. Start, shift, die. I don’t want to wear down the battery, so I admit defeat and head back to the gas station. Sigh.
I call Brian just to commiserate. I don’t really expect him to pack up the kids and come get me. Especially since I have the car seats. But he’s asleep, no answer.
Jack and I run back up to the Chevron station, “Hi, it’s me again! I found a gas can! Can you fill it up, please?” They greeted me warmly – I think they felt bad that they couldn’t help me before. I reach my hand in my pocket, and there’s only one card in there!
“Oh no, oh no, oh no!”
I show the guy that all I have is my driver’s license. “I’ve lost my debit card somewhere along the way!”
“Wow, you’re really not having a good night, are you?”
Not helpful, sir.
“All I have is my driver’s license.”
“Ya can’t buy gas with a driver’s license.”
“I know, but will you please give me some gas, hold my license as collateral, and I’ll come back and pay for it? Please?”
“Nope, sorry. I can’t give you any gas if you can’t pay for it now.”
I sigh deeply, and start walking back to the car. Mile 2.5. After the 7 miles I ran in the morning, all this back and forth is starting to get really old.
When we’re crossing over the freeway, I yell at the top of my lungs,
“WHAT? WHAT?!???!? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BE LEARNING HERE?!?”
No answer of course, just a quizzical look from Jack.
I’m watching the sidewalk and streets for my debit card. No sign of it. I scour the car, hoping it fell off in the seat. No luck. I retrace my steps all the way home. Mile 3.5. No card. I verify that I hadn’t left it at home to begin with. Nothing.
I wake up Brian, asking him for his debit or credit card. Anything. He groggily wakes up and is a tad grumpy with me until I explain everything. He tells me to go to bed, we can get the car in the morning. But it’s illegally parked in front of a driveway. I can’t leave it there. “Well go to bed, then, and I’ll go get it.”
No. I’m doing this.
“Seriously Krista, go to bed!”
NO! I start sobbing, barely getting out the words. I’ve been back and forth and back again. I’ve been scared. I’ve been denied service. I’ve scoured the streets for my card. I’m not giving up now! I am capable, and I can handle this!
I collapse in his arms, and cry my eyes out.
“You are capable,” he tells me, “and you can handle it. But you don’t have to. Get in bed, I’ll take care of it.”
God I love that man.
Brian tells me later, when I described yelling, “WHAT???” to the universe, that maybe the lesson I’m supposed to learn how to ask for help. Maybe so.