Monday, January 18, 2010

Eternal Optimism, or Why I Don't Need AAA

So I don't know how many of you (and by you, I mean my readership of: my immediate family) thought I was either delusional or lying when I said that Evelyn goes to bed with five minutes of rocking in the rocking chair and a pacifier. I didn't MEAN to be lying. And really, it does happen! She just now got sleepy and fussed for a minute while we were playing, and I sat with her for probably two minutes in the rocking chair before she got sleepy enough so that I was able to plunk her down in her crib. I'm not sure why, but that seems to happen only for naptime, not bedtime. Bedtime, more often than not, still involves bouncing her around the living room for twenty minutes before she finally gets sleepy, and then instead of her drifting off to sleep in her crib by herself, she wakes up two or three times and we get to do it all over again.

Anyway, my point is that I'm an eternal optimist, and seem to only remember the best of everything. Like the three times that she went to sleep with no fuss at 8:30, and Alex and I got to watch bodies being decapitated and drained of blood. You know, on Dexter. Our neighborhood's not that bad. I remember reading a New York Times article about how people who are chronically late (me!) tend to be generally optimistic types, who when calculating how long it will take to get somewhere take into account days with good weather and no traffic rather than what some people would call "reality". Whatever. So what does that mean about my Dad, who usually tries to drop us off at the airport about four and a half hours early, in case the Ted Williams tunnel collapses again and we have to walk halfway there?

Which leads me to what happened this past Friday, when I ran out of gas in the middle of El Camino (a street FULL of gas stations amongst all manner of other stores and urban junk, to you East Coasty people). I had ample opportunity to stop and get gas, but I thought, gee, when the car is off, the little needle is way below the Empty marker, so that must be where the needle can go before I run out. I don't know how many ways you can say WRONG, but hoo-boy, I will not make that mistake again. Probably. So anyway, I stopped at a light, and poof, when it turned green, no go. Of all the times that I've loved the weather in California, I don't think I've ever appreciated it as much as then. Until you have to wander around carrying an infant in a carseat to the nearest gas station, it being 60 degrees in January is something that you sorta take for granted.

But it really wasn't that bad, because I was literally across the street from a gas station who sold those little portable gas containers, and it was a particularly beautiful day, and Evelyn couldn't have cared less and was as happy as a clam to be carted back and forth across the street, AND about 87 people stopped and asked if I needed a ride anywhere or if I needed help, and in fact at least two people passed me, and then turned around and came back to help out. Thanks, strangers! Maybe my karma meter was full from donating stuff to Goodwill and making a donation to the Red Cross the day before, I dunno, but it was about the best running-out-of-gas scenario ever. It was more than a little embarassing to have to put gas in the car in front of all the people driving by. I might as well have a bumper sticker that said, "Yes, I had at least two choices of gas stations way back in Redwood City, but I wanted to go to the Arco that takes cash for 5 cents per gallon cheaper, which will save me about 70 cents, total."

Anyway, the moral of the story is not that you should just fill up your dadgum tank when the light goes on and not drive for another 20 minutes to save a lousy dollar, but that if you have a realistic looking baby doll in your car, you really don't need AAA.

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