On my way home tonight I stopped at the local grocer to buy food supplies for the night. My mind was haggard from enduring work without electricity for two days in a row; the boss did manage to procure a petrol generator from a contact but even so all the machines cannot be run on it at the same time and work was rather more a smear than usual.
In my hyper-stressed state I neglected to refill the parched car even though there is a gas station situated rather strategically right next to the grocer. I suppose I imagined the loyal Nissan's low gas indicator would warn me in good time that it was about to run out of juice.
That's the defective indicator in question on the extreme bottom left in the photo of the rather dusty instrument panel. I don't think you'll see it but a minute insect crawled behind the plastic panel and chose that spot as its final resting place years ago. I examine it when waiting for traffic lights to chance.
Anyway, shopping done I got in the car and merrily drove off, my only thought getting home. Then, as I crossed a bridge across the N1 highway the car gave tentative snort. Then it snorted some more and died as I hit the downhill section of the bridge. A rather impatient scooter sat on my backside but I smoothly steered the car onto the road's shoulder and came to a halt.
Instinctively I knew that I was stranded without petrol. I could have phoned the AA but I thought they'd take hours to get there. Instead I bravely retrieved our virgin red jerry can from the boot and abandoned the car right there on the the intimidating, dark stretch of road. I walked the kilometre or so back to the gas station, imploring the graces to be merciful and let the car still be there and intact when I got back.
To my shame some abusive and profane language was uttered as I dragged my tired bones along.
It took almost R150 (S17.75) to fill the puny can but I absorbed the shock and gracefully smiled as I paid the attendant.
I hauled myself back to the car, still sitting all serene and untouched. As you can see the fortune I'd spent on gas hardly budged the fuel level meter but after a few false starts the engine caught fire and idled with a heart-warming thrum.
Written by i