What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Runaway Car

On my way to school the other morning, I swung by the gas station to fill up the seemingly bottomless tank on my car. If you think this post is going to about the high price of gasoline, you read way too much FCN. For once, we are deviating from this popular and very relevant theme to discuss another pressing issue at the pump.

But, as long as we are on the subject - and I am already prejudged a oil price junkie - my latest fill up was ridiculously expensive. I would write the total price down, but most of the faithful FCN few would find it too fantastic to believe. So, I scanned my receipt, blotted out a few private and unimportant details and posted it to the right for you to enjoy and be amazed at (click to enlarge).

A little topography before we continue: My filling station of choice is situated at the top of a small rise. It isn't any great hill or imposing mountain (I live in the central valley for Quetzalcoatl's sake), but it is enough of an elevation increase to deserve a mention.

So back to the story: I pulled in front of the pump (#5, as the receipt will testify) and hopped out of my car, locking the door behind me. I was careful to bring my keys with me. I waltzed (1,2,3-1,2,3) over to the pump and began fiddling with the "easy to use" pay-at-the-pump feature. The screen was asking me to enter something, but the morning sun behind me created a glare that rendered the request incomprehensible. I put my keys on top of the pump and used my hand to shield the sun. After I punched in my zip code, I selected my grade and turned around to begin pumping.

That's when I noticed that my car was nowhere to be seen. I'd heard about people stealing vehicles while their owners where purchasing gasoline, but I'd never been a victim of such a brazen crime. Still, I hadn't heard the car start and it was possible...

There, not fifteen feet from where I had parked it, my car was creeping forward and no one was sitting behind the wheel. My car was stealing itself!

Quickly, I replaced the nozzle in the guzzle and sprinted to the door. Locked! And in my haste to get over I had forgotten my keys! I ran over to the other side of the car and tried the passenger side door, to no avail. I tried the trunk, irrationally thinking that it might be unlocked. It wasn't. Had it been unlocked, I have no idea what I would have done, although the idea of me riding in the trunk of my unmanned car does have a flippant nonchalance, like something Charlie Chaplin might do (WWCCD?).

I looked up at the rest of the parking lot and mentally projected a trajectory for my uncontrolled vehicle. It was headed right for the road. While traffic was lazy, it was present and images of my car looking like bad coleslaw flashed through my mind.

Maybe, I thought, I could run to the front of the car and push it to a halt. I started moving away from the trunk when I remembered the gentleman in Tiananemen Square who held back the Chinese army by prancing in front of a column of tanks, but figured my car might not be as considerate as the red commies. Standing in front of an unmanned mobile vehicle is not my idea of a fun school commute.

The consternation and requisite sweat were building when I remembered my keys sitting atop the pump. By the time I retrieved them, my car had merged into traffic.

I wish they put as much emphasis on teaching cars to drive as they do their drivers, because my car didn't know the first thing about the rules of the road: It didn't stop at a stop sign and merged without signaling. People sometimes say I drive dangerously. I say my car drives dangerously - I just go along for the ride.

There had to have been some kind of providential intervention on the scale of Moses and the Red Sea or at least "No Country For Old Men" for my car to have escaped unscathed. My keys and I arrived before the police or a human carjacker and I was able to safely navigate back to the pump.

Of course, as crazy an adrenaline rush as I got from that experience, it didn't come close to the buzz I got when I paid for the gas.


big mo said...


funny guys. you made me laugh in IT lab. very funny.

ScribblinScribe said...

I feel more intelligent all the time.

fastj humor said...

That is funny!

adrialien said...

This post was a great way to end a hectic week! Thanks!

I've noticed that most of the recent posts have been written by or about C. Have F and N fallen off the face of the earth or did you guys decide that variety is NOT the spice of life? :P

Anonymous said...

they just find C's life really interesting