You really should run out of gasoline sometime.
It is an exhilarating and oddly empowering game. How low can it (my gas gauge) go? My experience says about 2 gallons below “empty”.
Before the day I actually ran out of gas, I would worry when the gauge hit what I now know to be an entirely false alert. Today I see truth.
“Empty” is just a suggestion: hey driver, consider refueling in the next 30 – 40 miles…but certainly, don’t go out of your way for it.
Disregard conventional thinking and search for that place, where “empty” truly lies.
I found my empty late one day, driving home from law school, six or seven years ago. Back then I had to choose between gas and weed, and I usually chose the latter because, obviously, it took me farther. I ran out of fuel in the worse possible location, at the worst possible time, and I came out without a scratch. A police officer somehow showed up within 10 minutes to keep cars from smashing into me, and my older brother came to the rescue another 20 minutes later with a small tank of gas to get me over the hill and back home.
I liken the experience to another momentous achievement of mine – sleeping through a final exam. Technically I didn’t sleep through it, I was awake through it. I thought the exam was on Wednesday, when in fact, it was on Tuesday. This is the stuff of suburban nightmare. Yet, even then, I wasn’t struck down by the almighty. I called my professor, told him I blew it, and he gave me a “C”. Painless. My dad was relieved to know that his son didn’t actually earn a below average grade in Macro-economics. Better to sleep through the race than get your ass kicked. I think.
Whether you run out of gas, miss an exam, or endure a real trauma, the experience helps frame your perspective. Same thing with mind-bending drugs. After a weekend imbued with mushrooms, or an acid trip, petty office politics don’t rise much higher than your ankles. Survive one bad trip, survive them all.