I confirmed two things yesterday:
1. My redheaded temper is still in top form.
2. I have fully inherited my father, Warren’s, road rage (sorry, Pops!).
It all began innocently enough. Mike and I agreed to house-sit in Kennydale (north of Renton), and so we drove there after work. Correction: “we” didn’t drive there together. Mike had to drop a friend at the airport first, so I suggested he go straight to Kennydale afterward.
That was my first mistake.
I didn’t do the math to realize that would leave me without a carpool buddy going south on I-405 at 4:45PM. Was I delusional? On bad drugs? Had I just returned from the funny farm?
So there I sat in the parking lot of I-405, inching past Bellevue at a pace that would make a sloth bang his head against the wheel.
I’ll be the first to admit that about half the time I am in this scenario I take the carpool even though it is illegal. My theory on this is that everyone wins: I am flying down the freeway, and everyone in the slow lanes has one fewer car to sit behind. See? Winners!
But yesterday I didn’t have the cojones necessary for breaking the law, so I just sat in my slow lane. I was mildly annoyed, but I wasn’t going insane about the traffic because at least I had AC, I told myself.
Then, about seven miles from my destination, my gas light turned on. I am notorious for waiting until my gas light goes on before I get gas. It aligns perfectly with my thriftiness; why spend money now when I can spend it later as my car forces me to? To this day I’ve never run out.
I saw a Chevron sign on exit six, but decided to get off at my exit and then drive around until I found a station. This was perfectly logical because my exit had an abundance of stores and marketplaces. Surely there would be a gas station.
I got off at my exit and began driving through the town looking for a gas station. I rounded the major mall area — nothing. I headed straight into downtown — nothing. I drove a little outside of town — nothing. I felt the heat in my face start to rise as I went down what I like to call, “The Warren Trail of Logic.” It goes as such: “Who would design a city off of a major interstate highway and not include a gas station within a five-mile radius? What kind of idiots at the Shell Station looked at this city and said, ‘no, thanks, we’ll pass’?”
The trick about the Warren Trail of Logic is that it fills the user with such intellectual superiority that it becomes impossible not to be filled with an indignant rage at everyone else’s incompetency.
I couldn’t deny that none of this would normally bother me if it hadn’t taken me 40 minutes to go 15 miles.
At this point I decided someone else should be in misery with me. You have one guess as to who received a phone call with an opening line like this:
“I need you to do WHATEVER it takes to find me a freaking gas station IN RENTON.” Remember: Renton is the enemy.
Poor Mike scrambled to pull up a map on his phone, but alas, no signal. Renton strikes again.
I looked at the gas light. I looked at the stop light that hadn’t changed in three minutes. I began mentally composing a scathing letter to the Renton city planners.
It occurred to me that I didn’t actually have anywhere to be, so why the anger? But then I remembered the Warren Trail of Logic. It shouldn’t matter that I am not on a schedule. The gas station should still be there.
Mike advised me to cruise along the road parallel to the freeway, because that’s where most gas stations reside. This sounded perfectly Logical, so I took his advice.
Except that I failed to remember: if one is already employing the Trail of Logic and adds more logic to an illogical situation, disaster is sure to follow.
Or maybe just rage. But usually disaster (see: Warren putting together falsely logical Christmas gifts).
There were no gas stations along the freeway. Not for miles. At this point it’s occurring to me how absurd it is that I don’t swear. I really believe swearing is the most banal form of expression, but sitting in a car shouting “darn it” and “frickin'” just doesn’t have the same catharsis as…well, you know.
I decided for the sake of my blood pressure to concede, get back on the freeway and go back to the exit with the clearly marked Chevron sign. But I didn’t go quietly (see previous paragraph, and use your imagination).
I called Mike to let him know his hysterical wife was still hysterical. In the blur of road rage I managed to spit out, “I know it’s my fault for not filling it sooner, but HONESTLY this is AMERICA. Where is the GAS?!”
I think I concluded by saying, “I just want to punch someone in the face and then drink myself to sleep!” I told you that disaster was imminent.
To be fair, I didn’t find out I had cancer, I didn’t get in a fatal car accident, and I didn’t go blind. In the scheme of things, this was not a bad day. But FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY — ALL I WANTED WAS FUEL.
And thanks to the Warren Trail of Logic and a kind hubby, I got some. Lesson learned.