I’m the only person I know who always keeps a jerrycan in their car. I’ve run out of gas on the way back from the farmer’s market, going to the comic book store, and on the Italian motorway. I’m notorious for breezing by filling stations, deciding that the little gas light on the dashboard hasn’t been on long enough to merit a stop. I know the telltale knock of an empty gastank, and have coasted a car nearly a mile, praying that I won’t hit a red light or have to brake for pedestrians.
I’ve been making an effort on this trip to try to refill on gas at around the quarter-tank mark, but as with all new tricks, this old dog isn’t taking to the new regime very well. I still think I’ve got better things to do with my time than stop for gas, and I’m loath to fill it up sooner rather than later, thinking that all it’s going to result in is a shorter time lapse between the next visit to the pump. The fact that without gas, car-no-go doesn’t seem to stop me from the rather silly thrill of riding this very impractical line.
It’s pretty clear to me how much this reflects the general way I live my life. I tend to find whatever edge I can and make a home there, whether it’s starting a restaurant with no money, travelling without a map, or getting on a bus without knowing its destination. I’m just never content to play it safe, a trait that has gotten me into trouble, and that has also resulted in some of the most rewarding and exciting moments of my life.
I’ve come to believe, real or not, that inspiration, opportunity and clarity seem to find me only at the times when I’ve been the most vulnerable, lost or out of options. As much as running out of gas is not a fun experience, the tantalizing question is always: where will I find myself when it happens?