Driving I-95 S. With Kramer.

It was Thursday night, the ride home from the office.  The gauge was reading less than a quarter full, 40 miles remaining in the tank.

It would take no more than 5 minutes. My body gently leans right to encourage the mind to turn onto the exit ramp on I-95. But I’m hungry. I’m tired. I could stop. I should stop. I don’t stop. I’ll get up a few minutes earlier and fill-up in the morning. I see the towering Mobil sign in the rear view mirror. I take another glance at the gas gauge: 39.5 miles  I will regret this.

Yesterday morning, I’m in the shower preparing for work. I’m running the mileage tally in my head. 36 miles in the tank. 15 miles to the office. 15 miles back. No gas stations in the vicinity near work. A 6 mile cushion. Tight.

Oh, I have been here, right here, and oh, so many times. I call up other memorable events:

  • Montana: Slash in red zone. Two-lane highway. No sign of anything. 5:30 a.m.
  • Florida Everglades: Slash approaching red zone. Thunderstorm, rain pounding on hood. Late afternoon.
  • Green Bay. February. Twelve miles from next Service Stop. Wind gusts push drifts onto freeway.
  • Northern Michigan: January. Snowstorm flurries. Slash approaching red zone. 8 pm in darkness.

Each was preventable.

All were avoidable.

All were not.

These decisions, poor decisions were made by a rational Man. A Man possessing a college graduation certificate, and not one, but two. This, a Man of average intelligence, not an Imbecile, acting like one, over and over and over again.

A man who has read hundreds of self help books. This same Man, who has meticulously saved productivity tips from these books, these nuggets carefully catalogued in an electronic collection for efficient Search and Rescue. And you would say, bullsh*t. And I would say, Truth.

This Man, who has ingested all of the books written by David Allen, the preeminent executive productivity coach to Fortune 500 Executives, including these best sellers: “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” and “Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life” and “Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and the Business of Life“. 

And, this Man, who can recite productivity passages written by Allen from memory word for word:

“There seems to be someone about seven years old inside of all of us, who never matures, and whose behavior either allows us lots of creative expansion and productivity, or causes us to crash and burn…Capture and track all your projects and actions. Get them out of your head and into an objective, accessible system. So when you review it all, you can give a simple, single direction at every moment to the part of you that can really get it done.”

  1. Complete the task.
  2. Clear Your Head.
  3. Wipe out the anxiety.

I’m back in the car and on I-95. 35 miles in the tank. The Service Station is 2 miles ahead.

I approach the station.

I need to exit. Pull off Man, pull off.

I need to exit.

I can’t exit. It’s too cold. I have no coat. I need to get to the office. I have Enough gas. I can make it.

Station is now 500 ft away.

I need to exit. Exit damn it. Exit.

I pass the station.

Damn it!

I accelerate down I-95. The towering Mobil sign is in the rear view mirror, and I call up the scene from Seinfeld where Kramer test drives a car:

  • Kramer: “There is some overlap between the needle and the slash below the “E”.
  • Q: “How low are you going to go?”
  • Kramer: “Oh, I’ve been in the slash many times. This is nothing. You get used to it. Just put it out of your mind.”

Just put it out of your mind.


Notes:

Comments

  1. Is this really about you? World-renowned banker letting a seven-year-old drive his car?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. this is us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is insane. The dark places my mind would have taken me thinking , what if?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is insane. No argument there.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Madness pecks at us from time to time; the unseen bird from unknown lands…

      “But the cloud passes; we survive after all, our sensibilities mostly intact. Madness pecks at us from time to time; the unseen bird from unknown lands. It pecks away mostly at the foot of the trunk, never ascending high enough for us to take note. After all, maybe we avoid looking at it, we, who are not even certain such a bird as that can exist, and even if it did we are surely not worthy to look on it. And so we stand, and breathe and close our eyes. At night sometimes there’s a breeze. It carries sharp scents to our wooden senses. We forget, we remember, we forget.”

      ~ overtothanatos

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Yes…

    Like

  5. Ohmagosh, does *this* bring back memories. I can actually recall times in my childhood when we would be rocking from side to side in the car with my dad, “trying to slosh that last bit of fuel around in the tank and make it those last few miles home,” with my mother *fuming* in the passenger seat. Amazingly, I don’ *ever* recall him running out of gas. Me, I’m fillin’ up at a quarter of a tank at the least, and usually at half… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is my Hero Husband…. And I always thought he couldn’t…. whatever…. because I reminded him 🤔🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Been there, done that! Hubby thinks I’m crazy. He fills up when it gets to 1/2 a tank. So not necessarily a guy thing, more of a crazy person thing, perhaps.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You and my husband….while I panic if I’m below a quarter of a tank…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ha ha…I know exactly how far I can go when I reach that red. I guess I like the “Kramer challenge” of it all. I’ve never run out of gas, but I always renew the auto club membership.

    And once again, the show about nothing…is really about everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. montanalulu says:

    you nailed this one, david! ‘can’t tell ya how many times i have pushed my luck because my inner-seven-year-old just DIDN’T WANT to stop for gas….why would i rather drive another few miles with my adrenaline rushing and my mind racing with emergency plan B? (don’t answer that…lol) on the bright side, we usually have a coupla gallons of gasoline on hand in the garage….don’t tell my housemates, but, i raid the containers in the morning when i need it to get down the hill to the gas station…task completed!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. OMG! David, we would NOT get along. If I were a passenger in your car, I’d be having an angry meltdown. Well, you sure succeeded in getting a reaction with this piece. Well written. You did a great job of conveying the feelings you’re going through, but I would have made my choices on the boring side of life, while you appear to love the stress and excitement of tempting fate.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. The appearance of the Golden Gas Pump on my dash is like the receipt of the recording on Mission Impossible: “Your mission is to drive home from work tonight, drive the children to school in the morning, and then drive back to work without stopping for gas. You might not make it. Do you accept this mission?” Of course, I do, every time!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Such an enlightening share…Montana, hmm summer or winter, alone or with family & were you just passing through ( any chance it was on Hwy 2 or US 12) or did you reside there for a spell? Green Bay in February – must have been brutal. So glad you never have run out of gas…/// My husband having grown up in North Dakota with their well know snow blizzards and -20 to -40…one had to be prepared, survival gear box and a full tank of gas, always…/// Only once since I bought my used Avalon Limited 19 months ago has the amber glow of the gas light gone on, this will not happen again… (because I wasn’t ready to renewal my Costco membership which had lapsed…I finally renewed ) drove up to the pump amber light shinning, filled it up and I thought of the Chevron next to my gym (high price gas) visit in which I put a whole $3.00 worth in the tank so I would go out of amber, I made it to Costco a few days later, amber light glowing…Grateful to have a car and money to have a full tank…and within our state on our travels there is a warning sign No Service for either 89 or 98 miles!! Some times the signs will say next services, xxx miles we will come across a sign for so and so ranch you look down that road and you never are able to see the Ranch House…and I wonder how many thousands of acres that ranch is…and in our area so many, many miles of no cell service…

    Liked by 2 people

    • There’s a lot to chew on here Christie. But what move to top of my sensory perception was North Dakota in Winter. Nasty!

      Liked by 1 person

    • montanalulu says:

      yes, i have had the unfortunate experience of not filling the tank before i hit the road in wide-open country…..’spent a white-knuckle drive in a u-haul truck in wyoming at o’dark in february once years ago and ‘figured if i ran outta gas i would freeze to death before anyone else drove by….wow, it’s a big country!….’limped into gillette with .2 gallons to spare…..gulp….my brother was asleep in the truck and i was afraid to wake him and tell him we were probably gonna die….but all’s well that ends well….until it doesn’t…..i don’t go out much any more… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. All been there David. You are not alone by any means.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Headline: Ego Man Tries to Prove Himself – Survives to Drive an Other Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sometimes I just don’t wanna haha ♡
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reminds me of an old bit of wisdom: Saying are too busy to exercise is like saying you are too busy driving to stop for gas; eventually it will catch up with you. Here, it was the reverse!

    By the way, I love Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelious. Practical philosophy for any age.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pulling a 27′ trailer, 5 km left in tank, gas station 7 km away…. lucky for us, we are on a hill and coast our way, very properly, I might add, to the resting area… we call AS A and have had delivered.
    So, in honour of my late husband, I drove into the gas station with ZERO miles left in my tank not more than two months ago… sooo Not my usual style!!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Yep. Everglades last May. Identical. D.C. beltway in blizzard conditions. And Ethiopia, pushing to the pump on diesel vapor. Had to bleed the air from the whole system. Not flattering…but do I learn. Hardly.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. My toughest call? Driving between Silver City and Colorado City (try to find them on the map of Texas), driving alone to a ranch while researching my book about women and guns.

    No cell service. No one on the highway, stretching for miles and miles to the horizon — with only pump jacks as far as they eye could see on either side.

    Running out gas — do I have enough to turn around and go back for more? Who knows?
    I keep driving….and a white pick-up truck slows down and a grizzled old guy at the wheel says “Are you the writer from New York?” Yes, yes, I was; that was the cowboy husband of the woman I had come to interview and stay with.

    Safe and sound. But….oy.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. no not imbeciles; but perhaps, we who do such things (not admitting to anything)
    seek an element of risk. It is a roll of the dice.
    We think, we will win. But, we’re not altogether certain. are we?

    Liked by 1 person

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