In life, we all have greater or lesser faults. I am not particularly pleased, but quite willing, to report that I have any number of them. Some people's faults are Byronic, the stuff of poetry and legend. Other people's faults, though, are just mundane, inexcusable and illustrative.
One of my needless minor faults is my habitual trait for running out of gasoline.
I run a life on a calendar, with deadlines arising and being met on a frequent basis. At work, I can manage to keep up with my calendar, and to deal with the crises that this calendar entails. But work survival aside, in my personal life, I procrastinate mercilessly. One reason why I try to do hobby things very quickly is that I know that if I drag them out, they take far longer to get done due to procrastination. At this very moment, for example, I am sitting on two cassette tapes of music, one of mine, one of a friend's, which need to be shipped to a CD burning company I found to make CDs I will use for nervousness exchanges and humorous anecdotes. I just can't seem to fill out a simple form and put it in the mail. My wife recently pointed out that my incipient novel is undoubtedly better to talk about than it will ever be to read. I am drafting furiously away at it, because I don't want procrastination to set in.
I have a chapbook worth of poems I want to self-publish, which I have delayed self-publishing because I want to draft illustrations, and I have procrastinated the illustrations.
I have a few similar projects that languish--when I am focused on them, they get done. But when my "laser-like" eye is turned away, they happen slowly.
But one thing that has been with me now for decades is the practiced ability to run out of gas for virtually no reason.
Today I drove in to my office with a gas tank whose warning light registered "fuel low" or some such, by passing literally a dozen gas stations on my way in. On my way to lunch, the gas situation slipped my mind, and I ran out of gas on Centerville Road, a fifteen minute walk from the nearest station. I consoled myself pollyannaishly that at least the weather was perfect for walking, and leaves were turning and butterflies floating. I got the gas without incident, and I got back in my car and over to Spring Creek barbecue without my feathers too ruffled.
I do this far too often. I now have a collection of those little plastic gas cans sitting in my garage, each a beacon to the foolishness of failing to get gas when the tank says "E". I have managed to run out of gas in the city, in the suburb, in the town and in the country. I will compliment myself that when I drove the desert back from California to Texas, I carefully managed my gas, making sure I never ran out. Why is it so difficult to do this the rest of the time?
I have lately been noticing how short a time period it takes to actually refill a gas tank. I drive one of those boring large sedans, which holds enough gas to meet my needs. My part of Texas is a convenience store kingdom, where gas stations are in abundance. There is literally no excuse.
It's just the way I have allowed myself to become. It ranks right up there with why my office and the interior of my car always have stray papers in abundance, rendering them post-tornado-looking. It's just a flat out inexcusable flaw.
When I was in college, I ran out of gas twice under circumstances in which I literally coasted the car down a hill into the gas station. I suppose there is an advantage to going to college in the Ozarks. When I was in law school, I rolled the long, slow Cantrell Road slope to a gas station that was quite a jog away. Perhaps these strokes of good fortune implanted in me a false confidence. More likely, perhaps I have acquired a bad habit, and I need to break it.
They say old dogs can't learn new tricks. I don't feel old, but I certainly hope I can get the trick of this gas
tank stuff re-learned. The hikes are grand, but the hassle is not so great.