Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just a Little Gas

It only happened once in my life... until today...

I ran out of gas. I pushed that little orange light on my dash to its limit, and my trusty black Focus to its last sputtering second.
All of this, of course, happened on a busy road on a busy afternoon in a relatively busy part of town. It didn't take long for the line of cars behind me to grow... it also didn't take long for their occupants to get increasingly annoyed.

Mind you, none of this came as a complete surprise. I have a habit of riding that orange light so much that I'm kind've surprised it hasn't burnt out by now.
Here's my trick.
I know once that light flashes on, I have approximately 60 to 70 kilometers of driving time before I'm dead in the water. So at the moment it activates, I reset that trip meter, and proceed on my way with a smug confidence that I'll ride those fumes all the way to my next fill-up, and probably save a buck or two in the meantime.

Well today, that smug confidence, and that little orange light, finally came back to bite me.

Not a block and half away from a gas station, the fumes ran out. In fact, I was on my way to the gas station knowing that I was pushing my luck and only had so many more molecules of petroleum to carry me to the pump. The trip meter was at 79km. Well beyond my well-calculated* (*loosely guesstimated) remaining drive time. But when the light turned green, and the ironic tow-truck ahead of me moved through the intersection, I shifted gears and hit the pedal... nothing.

So there I was. The ass of the asphalt. The loser of the lane. The squire of the stall.

...In the fast lane...

It took all of three seconds for the traffic behind me to clog up and for the frustrated drivers to pass by with a select digit held against the window.
I was embarrassed for a moment, then a little peeved off at the whole situation, and then I took a breath, sat back, and accepted it. It was my fault to begin with.
I remembered the jerry can in my trunk, and just as I was about to brave the passing cars to get it, something pretty damn cool happens.

A young guy in a rusty car with Saskatchewan plates pulled up, chuckled at my misfortune, and recognized the problem right away.
I tried to play dumb by saying my gauge was broken... he saw right through it, but empathized with the situation.
As I found out, he had been there. Many times. And he didn't hesitate to offer to go to the gas station, fill his own jerry can, and bring me a couple litres of salvation. Neither did I hesitate to accept, this predicament was just balls.

He took off for the Petro-can as I sat back to wait. When I glanced in the mirror, I noticed that the small cluster of held-up cars behind me had become four blocks of mayhem.
It doesn't take long in Calgary... I've seen it. And now I was finally "that guy". The moron in the stalled out car who didn't have the foresight to top up the night before.
Once again, a little embarrassed.

Then all of a sudden, a man with sunglasses and a book bag walks across the street and up to my window. He offers to help me get to the side of the road, and before I could even step out to assist, a burly guy in a half-ton behind me hops out of his seat, and the two of them shove my dead fish car to the side, and just as stand up through the sunroof to say thanks, they're off on their way.
Not a minute later, the rusty Saskatchewinite returns with a full can and a smile. Not another minute after that, I was off on my own way.

I gave the guy the last 10 bucks I had in my wallet. He accepted after a bit of insisting, but I felt like it wasn't payment enough. It more than covered the gas, but after being shown such unconditional kindness from three complete strangers, it seemed like a lazy token of gratitude.

But as I carried on, I realized that one way or another, that 10 bucks was bringing just a little happiness into this stranger's life, and I in exchange had been plucked right out of that pickle in less than ten minutes without so much as a phone call.

It reminded me that there are good people out there, everywhere, and it's all to easy to forget them. Maybe it's because we spend too much time dwelling on the people who broke us, that we forget there are people out there who are more than happy to put us back together.

I'm grateful to the Saskatchewanite. Maybe for a couple things. Now, I'm just looking forward... to paying it forward.

But I'm still going to ride the orange light. This time I'll max out at 70 for sure.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

An Announcement Two-Fold

Been a while since I've posted a blog... and that's because it's been a very busy summer!

I've got a million and one stories to share from my trip to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia (not to mention plenty of photos) but first... an important announcement!

Congratulations Erin Wilde!!!

My friend and co-worker, Erin, just gave birth to her third child, cutie-pie Morgan Rae was welcomed to the world on July 29, 2009.

She was 9 pounds! Good grief... Erin, you are a strong woman!

With the new arrival safe and sound at home, Erin will be taking a maternity leave from Energy 101.5... and that leads me to announcement #2...

I have officially taken over the mid-day show!!!

Hittin' the airwaves from 9 to 3 and doing my best to keep Erins loyal audience tuned in and entertained (hope it's working so far!). But no worries if you're a fan of the Freeway and Meg morning show, I'll still be a part of that crazy crew too!

It's an exciting step for both of us, and I'm eager to see what else will come to pass in the months ahead. Erin, we miss you, but thanks to you and baby M for giving me this opportunity. Be well and enjoy that well-deserved glass of wine! :)