(Did you know if you accidentally hit the return key instead of say, the tab key, that your post gets posted likity split? We learn something new everyday.)
So the irrational stuff. Or is it? Or should we just get all pseudo-psychological and blame my upbringing on this one, which I'm having a very hard time putting into words:
If I run out of gasoline, VERY, BAD, THINGS will happen.
No really. The other morning my first errand of the day was to go get gas. Of course my "let's not use up more dead-dinosaurs than we have to" self said I should try to go to a gas station on the way to JC Penny as that was my next intended goal. (more on that later)
This entailed my getting onto the freeway at about 10 AM, you know, AFTER so-called "rush" hour?
Lies. Bitter scarring, lies.
As I was patting myself on the back for correctly navigating my way onto the freeway on-ramp (dude, seriously, did not get lost AT ALL), I was presented with the sea of stopped cars, as far as the horizon, really...and my gas light chose at that exact moment to light up.
In the place where the rational thoughts live I knew that the light was on because I was indeed dangerously low on dino-blood, but the incline was the culprit. As soon as we leveled out, the light should go off. I also knew that even if I was really in the orange-light-of-doom level of gas, I had miles, MILES to go before the car would stutter and sputter and transform into 1600 lbs of detritus.
Unfortunately, the irrational part of my brain has the power of projection, because these thoughts wholly and completely drowned out everything else:
"OH! MY! GOD! ORANGE LIGHT! ORANGE! LIGHT!"
and took control of my limbs even:
"IS THE AC OFF? TURN OFF THE RADIO! DIM ALL THE LIGHTS! DON'T USE THE GAS PEDAL JUST LET IT ROLL! LET! IT! ROLL!"
No, really. Cuz turning off all the electrical bits will make my engine work that much less so I will have a drop more if needed. The world may never know, because actually, yes, I did need every spare drop of gas before I got to the gas station, but instead of drowning out the thoughts while listening to NPR go on about all the awful things going on in the world, I got to sit back and listen to my crazy-pants thoughts weave all sorts of world-ending scenarios that had me stalling and running out of gas MILES from anywhere...um, in the middle of Seattle.
See, I kept thinking back to when my mom, older brother, and I were driving back from my mom's work and the gas gauge was dangerously sitting at the "E" while we were sitting in non-moving traffic. In the middle of summer. In LA.
The freeways are not just the arteries of the state of California, they are the only known ways of travel for the majority of Angelinos. They will NOT, NEVER, EVER get off the freeway to take the streets because, um, NO IDEA how to get to their destination that way. Or that was the case back in the 80s. Had we been equipped with GPS navigation equipment, I think my mom might have ventured off the freeway, found a station, filled up and tada! We'd have been all good and happy.
But she didn't.
Instead it was (what felt like) hours of her sighing and tapping the steering wheel with her right-hand pointing finger and saying things like, "Andale carritos," and musing about what we'd have to do if we got stuck on the freeway, out of gas, and more tapping of the finger and moving it about conducting some weird symphony (and yes, I do actually do that myself now, hmmm, learned habit maybe?).
And here's the thing, the entire time, needle on empty, no orange light. Not until we got off the freeway and drove up, then down those hills right off my mom's exit.
My mom's "AAAAAAIIIIIEEEE" wail is not something I can reproduce, but I can tell you it only comes out when REALLY BAD THINGS are about to transpire and therefore has seared itself into my brain in connection with serious accidents, deaths, losses of passports/important documents, and the appearance of that damned orange light from hell.
We coasted into her gas station of choice just in time...just as I did, somewhere in the middle of not-University but not-Ravenna, orange light firmly blazing by that point.
Once I finished topping everything off and resetting my trip-meter to 0.0, this weird calm came over me. I knew I was going to have to deal with way more traffic and madness and errands and possible 100 degree weather, but I just didn't care. The orange light was gone and there was gas in the car and I did not have to use plan I was stitching together in my head (Andy + motorcycle + gas can that I did not yet own + where the hell am I and how do I get him here...), and all was right with my world again.
Until the next thing.