13 February 2005
We were on the approach to the Bay Bridge, heading to San Francisco to meet Walt's sister, her boyfriend, and some others to celebrate his sister's 60th birthday at a nice restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf. Traffic had been heavy ever since we were about 6 miles before the approach to the bridge. Now that we were near the toll plaza, it was tight bumper-to-bumper traffic and we could see up ahead that it continued like that all the way across the bridge.
Just before it was our turn to go through the toll booth, I became aware of two things:
1. The gas light had come on. The gas light doesn't come on until you've been driving on "empty" for some time and we haven't yet discovered (fortunately) how far you can go after the gas light comes on. I also didn't know how long the gas light had been on. Ned was in the car with us and we had been chatting with him and neither Walt (who was driving) nor I had been paying attention to the dashboard.
2. My bladder was very full.
There was no turning back. We were shuttled like cattle through the toll booth and into the pack ahead of us and we inched across the bridge. Walt was wondering if we could make it across the 4-mile span. I was wondering what I'd do if we ran out of gas because I was going to need a bathroom very soon. I didn't want to be faced with having to pee in the middle of the Bay Bridge with 4 bazillion cars watching me.
I suggested that he should pull to the right lane so at least if we ran out of gas we wouldn't be as in the way as we would if we were in the middle lane.
The silence in the car grew very loud, as only a silence born of tension can be. Slowly, slowly, slowly we crept up the incline, through the Yerba Buena tunnel and across to the suspension portion of the bridge. The closer we came to the first offramp, the more hopeful I was that we would actually get off the bridge before running out of gas.
I was concentrating so hard on getting off the bridge that I was able to temporarily forget my increasing need for a bathroom.
There was modified relief when we actually got off the bridge and came down the offramp into the city. But the offramp puts you smack dab in the middle of the financial district, where there isn't a single gas station to be had.
We knew where there was a station several blocks away, but the traffic was so heavy that we were unable to move into the left lane to make the turn, so we had to turn right and then try to maneuver around the crowded parts of the city and all the one-way streets that were all going in the wrong direction, trying to get to where we could turn in the direction of the gas station, all the while hoping that the gas could last just a few more blocks.
I'm sure we were coasting on fumes by the time the first gas station came into sight. It was a 76 station and we have no 76 card. It also was charging $2.19 a gallon for regular gas, where it is under $2 here in Davis. But we didn't care. We had made it and were able to fill up and continue on our way to Fisherman's Wharf to meet the others.
Now the problem was whether my rising fluid level would hold until we got inside the restaurant. There had been no restroom at the gas station.
Thankfully, it did. We met the group and I made a break for the bathroom and finally got some instant relief.
It's too bad the car doesn't run on urine. I'm sure there would have been a way to solve both problems at the same time if it did.
Feeling puppy deprived? I created a (long) slide show for myself,
but it's on a web site that wants to sell you software. You don't need to buy the
software, but if you'd like to see the slide show, you can find it here.
A lot of the pictures were already on this journal, and it's a lot of sweet
sleeping puppies pictures, but I like it anyway!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
It's amazing how long this bridge seemed tonight!