back to top

Both Car and Driver Have Little Left in the Tank

Jon Kaufman
Jon Kaufman

Humans, like automobiles, are not designed to survive the test of time. Maintenance must be performed, parts sometimes need to be replaced, and when that day of reckoning comes, our chassis are often dragged away and piled up in a field full of broken bodies.

While people are not machines, I contend that there are striking similarities between motorists and the cars they drive. Consider the photo that accompanies this byline.  In automotive terms I might be described as a high miles clunker with noticeable body damage, modestly priced to sell, and open to any reasonable offer.  My present vehicle, a 2001 Dodge Stratus, is indeed my four wheeled twin.

Presently, my primary means of transportation is having issues with its gas gauge.  Regardless of how much fuel I have deposited into the car, my gauge readings appear to be more rumor than reality.  One moment the little red meter stick shows full, the next I am trudging down Williamson Road with a one gallon spouted container in tow.  Growing weary of these surprise hikes I attempted to have the car repaired, however, the problem kept coming back like a sack of White Castle burgers.

Over the years I have run out of gas a stunning amount of times. A prodigious collection of plastic red gas cans adorn my basement shelves. On one occasion, when a dry tank sent me on an impromptu journey, I was picked up in Jupiter, Florida by a Good Samaritan in a pick-up truck towing a bass boat.  With no room in the cab, I placed myself behind the wheel of the vessel and pretended to navigate that boat straight down I-95 to the nearest filling station.

A week later, following a particularly hideous sales day, I noticed my fuel gauge rising and falling like the Dow Jones after an election and began to fear the worst.  Thankfully, I spotted a gas station in the distance and prayed that fumes might carry me to the pumps. Sputtering as I entered the station parking lot, I felt the car give out underneath me.  It felt like I had four flat tires!  Not even I could be that unlucky. No gas and four flat tires?

Lurching through the lot I spied four fellows standing by the pumps, waiving their arms wildly and screaming in my direction.  Were these service station attendants guiding me in for a landing?  Were these gentlemen alerting me that my tires were flat? No, it turns out that these men were cement contractors who had just finished paving the parking lot and I was steaming through a full day of their work.

Anxious to see why the workers looked so upset, I parked, and placed my left foot out of the car to investigate.  It became apparent to me that something was amiss when my foot sunk two feet down into the soggy cement.  If my memory of high school Spanish class serves, one of the inflamed laborers made a very uncomplimentary remark about my mother and the other three were near tears.

Fearing reprisal for the destruction of their achievement, I tried to step back into the car and make a hasty get-away. When I lifted my leg to extricate my foot from the hardening goop, my shoe came off and was quickly sucked up in the thick jaws of the setting concrete.  Forsaking my footwear for safety, I climbed into my vehicle and plowed through the ruined job, my victims aghast at what they had just witnessed.  Ironically, the tire tracks formed a large semi-circle, a smile (if you will) in the decimated construction.

Like my listless, dry tanked alter-ego, I too have been struggling to keep running.  Gassed and void of energy, it was suggested that I subject myself to the horrors of a sleep clinic to help discover the reason for my impending collapse. One restless night hooked up to an array of colorful wires gave me my answer.  It seems that I stop breathing an average of forty-four times an hour when sleeping, which certainly explains why I stumble through each day like a tranquilized circus bear.

Next week they will strap a breathing device on my head which will make me look like a vacationing snorkeler who has been separated from his tour group.  I am really looking forward to that and promise to provide pictures here if possible.

Until then, my twin and I will continue to wobble around Roanoke not knowing how much we have left in our tanks. I’ll be the one with a gas can in one hand and a five hour energy drink in the other.

By Jon Kaufman
[email protected]

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Related Articles