I always leave my gas tank with enough gas to allow me to drive 100 miles or more should I need to escape the region quickly. I know that my tank holds enough to drive 320–350 miles when full. Thus, when 200 miles rolls around, I fill up, period. This is usually on the way to or from work. I fill up, without fail. This is a good habit that I have worked hard to develop. Yesterday, I put myself into a really bad situation by not following my own guidelines. Over the holiday weekend, I hit the 200 mark while out doing honey-do’s. I passed by several gas stations and did not fill up. On Monday, I noticed but was running late to work so could not stop for gas. After work, I only noticed after I got on the highway and totally forgot once I got off the highway and was in my neighborhood. Tuesday morning, I was thinking of other things, so got back on the highway headed to work when I looked down and the trip odometer read 310 miles. Damn it! The needle was not on empty, so I might have stretched it all the way to work. However, I decided to get off the freeway and fill up. I know that the neighborhood the freeway passes through is not good, but it was either stop and get gas or risk running out before I got to the gas station by work. So, I pulled off. As I did, I knew I was placing myself at risk. The stores had bars on the windows and the area was generally run down. I immediately went to condition orange. I left my door open, had my pepper spray in my hand and my knife was readily available. I continually scanned the area for trouble.
As luck would have it, there weren’t people milling around at 6:45 am. I was the only car filling up and there was good visibility in all directions. Suddenly, a semi trailer arrives and parks on the street. The driver jumps out with a piece of paper in his hand and starts heading straight towards me. Not all truck drivers are bad people, but some are. As he is heading towards me, I am sizing the guy up. How big is he? Are his hands visible? Is there a visible weapon? Is he alone? So, he was about my size, I could see both his hands and there was no visible weapon. I undid the safety on the pepper spray and made my dominant hand ready to block or defend. He approaches and points to the piece of paper and asked if I know where the address is.
Knowing that muggers often attempt to distract you by asking directions or asking the time, I never even looked at the paper, keeping my eyes on him and his hands. I told him (truthfully) that I did not know the neighborhood that well and that someone probably inside could help. Thankfully, he walked off. I kept scanning the area, finished up pumping gas and got the hell out of there.
The lesson is that I violated a good practice and put myself in a bad situation. It was avoidable and something bad could have happened. Even though I was in a bad situation, I had a plan should things turn to crap. At least I had several ways to defend myself if needed. A year ago, I did not even carry a knife, much less pepper spray. Although nothing happened, it could have.
Thanks for sharing that story. It’s a shame that we have to be so careful these days and must immediately mistrust someone looking for assistance. But trying to help the wrong person could be the last mistake someone makes.
It’s no wonder people stand around and watch even horrific things happen and don’t want to get involved. :-((
I guess I don’t understand this comment. I was in a neighborhood I was unfamiliar with, approached by someone I did not know and asked for directions. I was polite and said I did not know this neighborhood and someone inside the Texaco probably did. He went inside and probably got directions.
I heard someone put it succinctly: My safety first, your comfort second.
I’m loving your site. Also, on most vehicles the fuel pump is located within the fuel tank. A common line of thought is to keep your tank full, cooling the pump and extending the life of the fuel pump.
Keep up the fine work!
Thanks for coming by, Mark… We appreciate it…