A Night Cap*

Several years ago, long before we had kids, Luisa and I were driving to Kansas City and stopped somewhere in Iowa for gas. Luisa pumped the gas while I sat in the car doing whatever I usually do when Luisa pumps the gas, something productive like sorting my Skittles by color. Anyway, she finished gassing up the car and we headed out. We turned to get on the highway and heard something skitter across the top of the car. We looked at each other and said, "What was that?", shrugged and kept going. Then, we heard more skittering and I caught sight of something flying off the roof of the car. Before I could finish saying, "HEY! I saw something fly off the roof of the..." Luisa interrupted with, "OH SHIT! The gas cap!" and pulled the car over to the side of the road. It was dark. We had been going pretty fast. Gas caps are small. I told Luisa that there was no way we would ever find the gas cap and there was no point in getting out of the car to look for it. I offered her Skittles which she declined. She calmly (and by "calmly", I mean quietly with her teeth kinda clenched) explained to me that we could not drive the rest of the way without a gas cap because that would not be safe. I said, "Of course not. We'll just put one of our t-shirts in the hole and it will be fine. Skittles? No?" She blinked. She blinked again. She then said, "Are you crazy?" as if I had just suggested stuffing a live squirrel in there. She said, "You can't put a t-shirt in the gas tank. You need a cap." I pointed out that there was a shortage of roadside gas cap vendors and, even if we found one, it would likely be closed. So, I told her that we would do what many a Kansan had done before us - stuff a shirt in the damn tank and be on our way. She asked one last "Are you serious?" and then got out of the car to look for the gas cap. Of course, I then had to put down my perfectly sorted Skittles and go help her because I didn't want her wandering around in the dark on the highway. A gas cap is not worth Death by Semi. Well, I don't know how she did it but she found the gas cap in the ditch. I declared it a miracle but she was all, "Well, we were going approximately 30 miles per hour when we saw it fly off to the left in a downward trajectory. All I had to do was to estimate the distance..." Yeah, whatever. The t-shirt totally would have worked. A couple of days ago, I told Luisa I was going to write about the gas cap story as an example of cultural differences and she said, "Are you serious about that t-shirt thing?" Apparently, she still doesn't believe that it's been done. I insisted that, before gas caps came with that little piece of plastic that attaches them to the car, there were many cars and trucks driving around with t-shirts or rags stuffed in the gas tank. She claims this is not so much a cultural difference as a common sense difference.


*Hey...it's almost midnight. I am entitled to a bad pun.