amvans's Blog

Musings from a confirmed "Technical Difficulty"

Of empty gas tanks or….Not

Originally Posted by: Marie Vans on Wednesday, August 9, 2006 at 1:22am

Three days after “The Doctor Visit” I’ve recovered enough to look at the whole thing objectively and maybe with a little humor. As I said before, fear is a powerful emotion and its ability to affect the mind is amazing.

As I was driving to the doctor on Sunday, under fire, I glanced down at my gas gauge and instead of seeing it as it really was, I saw it as I did a few days before, almost empty. In fact, to my eyes it WAS empty because it was all the way over to the right with no more room to go down. I realized I had no phone and I started to panic over the thought that the car would run out of gas on the street. That we would be exposed to flying ball-bearings. I was relieved to get to the doctor’s office without running out of gas, but in the back of my mind, I was obsessing on how we would get to the gas station before running out and how we’d be sitting ducks in the car at the gas station. On the way back, I kept looking at the gauge and wondering why I wasn’t getting a red warning light, but dismissed that because the car is old and perhaps the warning light no longer functioned properly. Keep in mind that I probably looked at the gas gauge at least 100 times. I was so relieved to get to the gas station and I told the guy to fill it up. After a moment, I realized he was having problems with the gas pump. I looked down at the gauge and saw it…this time as it was in reality…completely full. My husband had filled it up in the days between the last time I drove and Sunday. How embarrassing is that? The poor gas station attendant was convinced his gas pump was broken.

We live right across the street from the gas station and all the people who work there are part of the same family that own it. Their house is right next door to the station. They are friends of our family. We go to their weddings and they come to ours. So it’s not like I’ll never see this guy again. I’m sure this incident will make me the butt of jokes for many years to come. Actually, that doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is how easily I saw truth as the opposite of reality under the influence of fear. I am not a person with much power outside the circle of my family, but it makes you think about the people who are. And that’s the frightening thing.

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