I know that we’re not supposed to observe, much less talk about, the differences between men and women, but no place are they more obvious than behind the wheel of a car.
Okay, so the bedroom runs a close second, but I don’t want to get in to, or out of, that.
I was departing on one of my nameless and numbing errands the other day when I noticed that the arrow was pointing to E, which I’m pretty sure has something to do with the word Empty, but according to the male in my life, the Norwegian Artist, E stands for Easily, You’ve Got Three or Four Gallons in There.
“You don’t have to worry until the little light comes on, and even then there’s nothing to panic about.”
I suppose that hiking three or four miles to the nearest gas station produces no lasting harm, but all the same, I prefer spending five minutes at the pump as opposed to an hour walking in them, or in flip flops, because I’m sure that the engineers were serious when they set up the sensor to alert you when you have one gallon tinkling around in there.
One time, we were 25 miles from our destination when the Norwegian Artist observed,
“The little light’s on.”
“Nothing to worry about. We’ve got easily a gallon left, maybe more.”
I’m not listening, rapidly calculating the distance to our destination (25), the miles to gallon (35) and finding a cushion of 10 to be uncomfortably thin.
“Of course, that depends upon how long the light’s been on,” he continued. “I just now noticed it, but it could have been on for awhile.”
Less than 10.
“No need to worry. What happens happens.”
Most of the time it’s wonderful to be married to an easy going man. Given that the Norwegian Artist spent two years bicycling from Alaska to Argentina, it’s no wonder he has no problem strolling to the nearest gas station with an empty water bottle, and I do, after all, have my knitting to occupy me, but I find myself staring at too many trees and not enough signs of human habitation.
The only good thing about the situation is that Tired of Being Youngest, who hyperventilates when the needle drops off of the F, is not behind us, rapidly losing her self control. But come to think of it, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, since she could burst out with all the things that I am too wise to express aloud myself.
Body language must be pretty loud though, because the Norwegian Artist glances sideways at me and smiles.
I’m still subtracting 25 from 35, and I’m still coming up with 10, when Gracious Mercy Me Thank You God a ratty, dumpy, lean-to shack with gas pumps in front and a bored attendant slouching against the grease-grimed windows comes into view, and the Norwegian Artist says exactly what I know he’s going to say:
“We’ve still got a little gas left; we could make it to a better station and save 10 cents a gallon.”
He’s joking. He must be. You’d think that after 28 years I’d have figured the man out.
And I say what he knows I’m going to say:
“You’ve got to be kidding. Do you really want to spend another ten minutes with me in this state in this car?”
The Dump, normally something I would avoid because I don’t want to catch a communicable disease, is still a Dump, but by God it’s got a working gas pump, and we’re going to use it.
As we drive off, needle pointing to F, the Norwegian Artist comments,
“We still had a quarter of a gallon. That’s eight miles worth.”
Men aren’t from Mars. They’re from some far off planet, light years beyond Pluto.
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