I’m not a big fan of car commercials because I really don’t think the right car will give me peace, bring my family closer together, or define my sophistication index.
But I do like to tell car stories. Like this one.
We were filling our car at a little gas station in Omaha when we noticed a guy pushing his car up the driveway of the station. He was a skinny young guy but he handled his rig like he’d done this before.
He had a faded tank of a car that gulped gas and apparently had run dry somewhere nearby.
All the pumps were occupied so he guided his old vehicle to the curb and waited. Finally a spot cleared and he walked confidently to the front pumper, bent low, and heaved.
The car rolled like a lumbering ox to the open pump.
By this time, we were pretty sympathetic for this man who seemed to have had a touch of bad timing, running out of gas so close to the station. He settled his car by the pump like a mother tucking in her toddler and pulled out his wallet.
That pump allowed bills as well as credit card payments and so we watched as he tugged $5 out and slid it into the pump.
He pumped his gas – almost two gallons in those days – tightened the gas cap, and drove away. I knew then why he rolled his car with such confidence. He had done it before.
He reminded me of a guy we knew who wanted to borrow some money to buy gas.
Yeah, he’d gotten his paycheck but his pickup had two fuel tanks and the switch between the two tanks didn’t work. So he’d blown his week’s paycheck installing a new switch so that he had access to two fuel tanks rather than one.
Then he had no money for gas.
Could we help? We didn’t.
And then there was the gal who complained that she had to buy a radar detector. “And they’re expensive.”
“Why did you have to buy a radar detector?” I asked.
Her look made me wonder if I’d sprouted Martian antenna. “My tire has a slow leak.”
“If I don’t speed, I can’t get home from WalMart before the tire goes flat. So I had to buy a radar detector.”
I checked to see if she had sprouted Martian antenna. I also wondered how a new tire compared to the cost of a radar detector.
For some people, their car defines their image. For others, their car just reveals it.