Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why wooden sticks do not make for effective fuel gauges.

The school truck ran out of fuel today, way out in the country like a campy B-grade horror flick. Ever since late last week or so, my classmates and I have been eyeing the fuel gauge cautiously each time we turned on the truck and telling our instructor that maybe we should get some fuel sometime soon since the needle keeps dipping further and further below E.

In response, the crotchety old man instructor would grab a wooden stick or tree branch, hobble over to the tank, dip the stick into it, and show us we didn't really need fuel because the stick had come up wet with diesel. Then he'd throw the torch-in-the-making away and we'd be on our merry way.

I was the last to drive today, after both my classmates eyed the fuel gauge and asked if the instructor was sure we didn't need more fuel. Driving through the country, orchard trees bare next to lots housing rusty machinery, the gas pedal just got more and more sluggish. My foot had to hit the floor before the engine even responded.

Somehow me made it to a fuel station, where we had to wait for the campus manager to come meet us so we could put 230 gallons (!!!) of diesel on the school's fuel card. There was a rusty old boat sitting on the ground on top of a hill by the station, possibly waiting for the valley to flood. Over the fence, black cows grazed on rich springtime grass. The wind blowing through, dust gritty on my teeth. The instructor standing next to the pump scratching his head, saying, "I thought we had more fuel in there. Guess I was wrong."

1 comment:

Robert said...

The image of a crotchety old man wielding a wooden stick is just priceless.