There is no E in Amanda | June 3, 2021

You may have read about the gas situation in South Carolina a few weeks ago.  When that happened, a friend posted a meme on Facebook that read something like, “Women aren’t panicking about the gas shortage…we ride around on E all the time.  We have been training for this.”  To which my dear Kyle accurately commented, “There is no ‘E’ in Amanda.”

Right after I got my driver’s license, my father spent an evening teaching me how to change a flat tire and confirming I remained the best parallel parker in the world (still the case, no big deal).  We were walking back into the house when he said in the voice usually reserved for big-time trouble, “Never, ever let your car go below a quarter tank.”

In hindsight, he probably said this because he didn’t want to have to rescue me from anywhere, especially the side of the road during a forty-below blizzard.  However, my fifteen-year-old mind translated this statement into, “Something bad’s gonna happen if you run out of gas.”

“I never, ever will, Dad,” I replied.

Kyle and I dated for about an hour (three months, same thing) before we got married, and so much of our engagement was spent in the polite relationship phase in which one half of the couple leaves the room in order to fart.  We were bugspray-deep into summer 2005 when we hopped into Kyle’s white Grand Am and hit the highway on route to a birthday party in Fargo – fueled by the sweet mix-tape in the CD player, and passionate, coochie-coochie-coo love in our hearts.

It turned out that was all we were fueled by, because we were barely on the Interstate when I leaned over to kiss Kyle on the cheek and realized the gas gauge hovered just above the bottom hashmark, smack-dab in the center of the letter “E.”

“Oh, you need gas,” I said, alarmed, but not panicking.  We were within visible distance of three gas stations gleaming like lighthouses in the sun.  Kyle must have just gotten distracted by the bar exam and his lurvvve for me, I told myself, and had forgotten to check the tank.

Kyle glanced at the dashboard and moved to kiss me back.  “No, I don’t.”

“You’re on Empty,” I leaned away, now concerned.  Had he hit his head getting in the car?

“Nah, it just looks that way from over there,” he said, patting me on the leg.  “I have a good 80 miles left.”

“Fargo is 80 miles away.”

“Like 70,” he shrugged.  “Listen, I burned that song you wanted.”

For the first time in a decade of driving, I freaked the heck out.  How DARE he put me in such danger?  I imagined us stranded in an unexpected summertime blizzard on the side of the Interstate.  I took a deep breath.  It was up to me to save us now.

I turned off the CD player.

“What’s going on?” Kyle asked.

“Gotta conserve gas,” I said, looking around for things to throw out so as to lighten our load.  “We don’t need to bring a birthday present, right?  I can just write a check.”

“We’ll be fine,” he said, moving to pat me on the leg again.  I pushed him aside.

“You need to focus on coasting,” I said.  “Tap the gas pedal, just tap.”

“Amanda,” he said.  “It’s fine.”

We didn’t actually need gas because I burned all the way to Fargo with the fury of a thousand suns.  I spent the drive planning on who I would call for a rescue – not my father, of course, because I couldn’t admit to him that I was marrying a guy WHO LET THE CAR GO BELOW A QUARTER-TANK – and then, when the E light inevitably turned on just after Hillsboro, waiting with bated breath for the engine to stop and whatever to happen that was expected to happen when a vehicle was void of fuel.

I wish I could tell you that Kyle learned a valuable lesson that day, but we made it to Fargo and still got married.  In retaliation, I upped my minimum gas level to a half-tank.  That birthday party was a long time ago, and now Kyle will get gas if he thinks I’ll be using his vehicle.  The rest of the time, he drives around on E.

To prove I’m not messing around, I went out and snapped a picture of my own gas tank directly before posting this story.  That photo is above.

This week’s news has penguins, ‘Prizm’ers, and parties.  Read on.

Bismarck’s Dakota Zoo is about to be the home of eight warm-weather African penguins. (KX Net)

A Williston dance studio named Prizm has created a scholarship to celebrate their hardest-working dancer: thirteen-year-old Gigi Goulet, who was born with Down Syndrome. (KFYR TV)

Devils Lake students got to learn how to use fire hoses to put out a “fire” at the NDSD Pond. (Devils Lake Journal)

The Grand Forks Red River Class of ’01 had to cancel their 20-year reunion last year due to the pandemic, and so instead they channeled the would-be funds into hosting a weekend of activities for this year’s graduating class of ‘21. (Grand Forks Herald)

Classmates of Bismarck’s Brandon Thomsen decorated the lawn of his mother in memory of Brandon and in celebration of their graduation. (KFYR TV)

Minot’s Sue Hamilton has published her third book, entitled “Every Day Simple: Living a Life of HOPE in a Complicated World,” which details finding peace in her complicated life. (Grand Forks Herald)

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