Warning: Pumping Gas and Morning Do Not Mix


Life is much harder in the morning. Even the simplest tasks can be daunting. You can suddenly find yourself staring at a shoelace as if you were facing the summit of Everest.

That is how I found myself driving down I-440 with the door to my gas tank open.

It started out like many other days. I woke up and bathed. Making sure you smell good has always been, in my estimation, the best way to start a day. Nothing ruins the start of a day like a group of people scrunching up their noses as you walk by.

I jumped into my car and headed down the road when something came to mind: my gas gauge was on “E.” In fact, it was below “E” in an area that I like to call the “Seriously, you are minutes away from being stranded” zone. It seems like once you hit “empty,” you should find yourself walking to the nearest gas station, but I guess that’s why I don’t design cars for a living.

I pulled into the nearest gas station and headed in for a cup of coffee hoping to clear the morning fog. After dropping a small fortune on gas, I hopped back in and took off.

I had gone a couple of miles when something caught my eye. The person next to me in traffic was furtively scratching the inside of their nose. While this was very interesting, particularly when her finger was far enough up there to poke her brain, I was even more interested in the reflection in my side mirror. There was that gas lid taunting me.

I thought through my options. Stopping on a 65-m.p.h. highway for this reason didn’t seem like a great idea. Exiting seemed like an even worse idea. Nashville drivers are not known for cordially inviting you to cut in front of them in traffic. The road death total in the state is nearing 1,000 for the year and I would guess at least 200 of those were people being beaten to death for trying to change lanes.

As I thought this through, I had been repeatedly looking in my mirror. Each time, it was still open. This is to be expected.

Or so I thought.

As I was exiting 440 onto 65, I glanced for the 150th time. This time, I was greeted with a perfectly smooth side of a vehicle.

I immediately assumed that at some point, without me noticing, the door had been knocked off. From my seat behind the steering wheel, though, I couldn’t tell. The designer of the 1992 Ford Explorer apparently saw no reason you would need to peer at this particular area of car while driving. I contorted myself about in my seat, finally finding a way to see that region of my vehicle. Surprisingly, it was still there.

The only logical explanation as far as I can tell was such: while I was speeding down the highway in my rickety vehicle, having left the lid to my gas tank hanging open like the goon that I am, another driver spotted this. He then sped up, most likely driving 70 so as to pass me. While this was happening, his passenger hung his torso out the window and, aiming very carefully, shut the lid before speeding off into the distance.

So thank you, kind strangers. While your good deed could easily go unnoticed by most people, it did not this fine day. You are true heroes.

If you want to be really heroic, though, you could save us all some trouble by just filling my gas tank up for me while I’m sleeping. Everyone knows I can’t be trusted to get gas in the morning.


6 thoughts on “Warning: Pumping Gas and Morning Do Not Mix

  1. I’m sure that’s exactly how it happened Nathan.

    Don’t feel too bad. My husband recently did this too, except he also left the gas cap hanging open, and then drove through the car wash. And nobody went by and slammed it shut while he was in there. And, it was my car…


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