January 17th, 2007

krazy koati

You slid through the curve and you burn up the track

I noticed the low-on-gas light come on, and while I was just across the intersection from a gas station it was also a bit more expensive than I wanted to pay; I knew I could get gas at least ten cents less. And the indicator was still over 1/8th of the tank; I figured I should have enough to drive down Route 18 and get to a cheaper station. It was a longer drive than I expected, but the lever was still at the 1/8 mark, so ... And then the engine stopped running, and the speed began drifting ever-lower, and I'm just glad I got to the side of the road, even if I didn't quite make the off-ramp, before rolling to a stop.

But a state highway off-ramp to a county road -- there must be a gas station right off the ramp, right? So I left the hazard lights on and put a sign in the window that I went ahead for gas, marched down and found a Gulf station. I explained I had just run out of gas; could I borrow a can and buy a few gallons of gas? The first attendant looked at me blankly, said, ``No,'' and went to a car that pulled up. I repeated my question to the other guy, who pointed at the (empty except for a handful of WD-40 or Gas Fix-It type products) office and then walked off to the liquor store in the strip mall next to it. Apparently they don't have empty gas cans anymore.

I returned to the car and saw a police car on the other side of the highway; soon another came to me and asked if there were a problem. He was sympathetic, though, and gave me a push to the Gulf station. The only remarkable thing there was one person insisted on passing the police car and the car being pushed with its hazard lights on while still on the off-ramp. Also I wasn't sure just where I should stop for the stop sign, since the car rolled to a stop about ten feet behind the line. But all turned out well, and I have a more favorable impression of the Neptune, New Jersey, police force, particularly considering the other part of the story, which I'm saving for tomorrow ...

Trivia: Samuel Clemens began using the pseudonym ``Mark Twain'' in January 1863, after the death of Isaiah Sellers, the riverboat captain-turned-writer who used that name first. Source: The Uncyclopedia, Gideon Haigh.

Currently Reading: Sir Gregor MacGregor and the Land that Never Was, David Sinclair. When I saw it in the bookstore I initially thought it would be about Darién, when in the 1690s Scottish settlers armed with barely more than half the nation's money and the Paul Wolfowitz Guide To Colonizing Panama destroyed Scotland's existence as an independent nation. Actually it's about the 1820s spectacle of Poyais, the only fictional nation other than the Klingon Empire to float a bond in the City of London. Remarkably, MacGregor apparently assuaged fears among his Scottish marks by claiming his ancestors were involved with the Darién fiasco. Confidence schemes build their confidence in weird ways.