In 1994, I was a poor college student, driving around in a brown, beat up, hand-me-down, 1964 AMC Hornet, affectionately known as the “Brown Buzzer.” It was the ugliest car I’d ever seen and a bit of an embarrassment to be seen in. I pulled into my apartment parking lot one afternoon and the Brown Buzzer died as I rolled into my parking spot. I tried to start the engine, but it refused to comply. This was bad news. I needed a car to get me from home to school to one of the seven part-time jobs I was juggling. I couldn’t afford car repairs. I didn’t have time for car repairs.
I called a friend and asked if he could come take a look and see what was going on with the Brown Buzzer. When he arrived, he asked if I’d left the lights on, if I had heard any strange noises, if there had been any strange smells. No, no, and no. He tried to start the car as well with no luck.
“Could you be out of gas?” he asked.
“Well, I don’t think so.” I answered, not really remembering when I had last put a few gallons in the tank.
“Let’s try that first.” He said, and headed to grab a gas can out of his truck.
He put in a bit of gas, hopped in the car, gave the gas pedal a few pumps and turned the ignition. And the Brown Buzzer roared to life.
“I’d get to the gas station pretty quick if I were you.” He said. “The gauges on these old cars can be off a bit.”
How embarrassing! Apparently I was out of gas. And the gauge wasn’t off. I had been driving around on fumes for a couple days, always thinking I would get to the gas station on the way home, or on the way to school, or on the way to work. Every time I passed the station, I’d say to myself, “Next time.”
You’d think that such an embarrassing moment would have caused me to change my ways. Top off the tank when I started running low. Maybe promise myself to fill up at the quarter tank or half tank mark from then on. You’d be wrong. To this day, I drive around with that little orange light blazing at me for days.
I know that when that light goes on, I have about 2 gallons of gas left in the tank. I know that my car gets about 20 miles per gallon in town. I know that it is 5 miles to the grocery store, 3 miles to the gym, and 4 miles to the kids’ school. I tally up the miles and have a running countdown to empty in my head. I watch as the gauge sinks lower and lower until sitting almost right on top of the E line before I finally relent and find a gas station.
Someone asked my recently why I wait until the last possible minute to get gas. I don’t really have an answer other than it is one of those life tasks that I hate to do. There is no reason why that I can think of, I just really, really, really don’t want to do it and I put if off as long as possible. I can’t be the only one who this this, can I?
I did a quick search for most hated tasks and found a site called Ranker, where you can literally vote on anything. They have a list on this very subject titled, “The Tasks You Loathe The Most,” detailing the most loathsome tasks and chores in our everyday lives. This list has more than 1,000 voters, more than 16,000 votes, and lists 44 tasks that people find most objectionable. Surely I could find some like-minded folks here.
The 44 items include: unclogging the toilet, cleaning the toilet, unclogging the drain, picking up dog poo, changing diapers, cleaning the cat’s litter box, going to the DMV, scrubbing the shower/tub, paying bills, crawling under the house for any reason, washing dishes, putting away laundry, doing your taxes, cleaning the stove, going to a car dealership, calling tech support, exercising, shaving, talking to salesmen at the door, moving, cleaning out the garage/attic, shoveling snow, weeding, cleaning out the gutters, taking down Christmas lights, ironing, dusting, jury duty, picking up an unused room, raking leaves, mopping, mowing the lawn, writing thank yous, taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, studying, washing windows, removing cobwebs, going to the post office, swatting flies, putting away groceries, going to the grocery store, and replacing dead smoke alarms.
Not one mention of filling up the old gas tank! I now believe I’m most definitely alone on this one.
What are the stupid little everyday life tasks you dread and put off as long as possible, and why?