Running on Empty

Baby Daddy is a dot the Is, cross the Ts kind of guy. He puts things back where they belong. He files our taxes early. Periodically, he pulls out all of our insurance documents and makes sure we are properly covered. He actually does all the things you’re supposed to do as a responsible adult.

I am not like that. I forget clothes at the dry cleaners. I had a decade run where I wrecked every car we owned. (Once I cracked up both vehicles by backing one into the other. That was a bad day.) I’ve been flirting with an empty gas tank for the full 20 years I’ve been a licensed driver.

For the entire time I’ve known my husband, he has been warning me of the one day, I would push my luck too far. “Kerri,” he’ll say in that super annoying way when I know he’s right, but there is absolutely no way I would admit it, “you’re going to end up stranded on the side of the road.”

I usually counter with something snappy like, “Shut up! I know what I’m doing. I’ve never run out of gas, have I? I know exactly how far I can push this.”

I was driving to work when the engine began to sputter, and I knew. I knew the way I know by the song of the phone ring when it’s my mother on the other end of the line. I knew.

I was able to coast onto a side street, so I wasn’t blocking traffic. I realized I was very close to a friend’s house. I called to ask if she just happened to have a gas can. She said hers had oil mixed in it already. I have been slightly offended by the number of people who have expressed pride we both knew that wouldn’t work.

You know the worst part? Baby Daddy didn’t say a word. He just smiled. He smiled when he pulled up beside my idle car. He smiled when we stopped at the house to pick up our empty gas can. He smiled at the gas station. He smiled pouring fuel into my car. He just smiled.

As I started my car, I asked him, “This is coming back up in a totally unfair way, isn’t it?”

He continued to smile, “Count on it.”


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