I am somewhat like my mother in this way. When we got a new something, especially a new car, mom would push all the buttons and pull all the levers just to see what everything did.

Never going to the instruction booklet. Oh, no. That was not in her line of sight. To some extent I do that too.

It was when I was living at home that I learned the time honored life guide, “If all else fails, read the directions.” 

I learned that golden nugget rule from her. It fits snuggly into many things in my life? I tell myself, I don’t need no stinkin’ instructions.

Then something will happen that will make me laugh because I wasn’t paying attention to the details nor did I take time to read the instructions. For instance…

Last fall I bought a “new to me” car. She is red. A bright red that my retired deputy friend called, “Write ’em up RED!” But! Yes a zooming “but.”

YIKES. I am a responsible car owner. That’s what makes this story so funny. Well to me and hopefully to you too.

I was told a long time ago when learning with my first computer experience that one of the most important things one can learn is to, “Read the screen.” That and to not spill Diet Coke on the keyboard.

Oh don’t ask. How does “read the screen” enter into the car field? Well as a girl I was all excited about this car.

Tried as many buttons and switches as I found. It has some cool bells and whistles. Has a turbo charger which I have no idea about except that it has a nice kick in the pants when passing a car.

Then it was time to put her, oh yes she is a she and her name is Ruby. I put Ruby in the garage for the winter.

She is definitely not a slip slide winter ride. She sat with a trickle charger attached just resting up for spring.

Then, ta-da spring and she came out of her hidey hole and first thing I did was fill her up with gas.  All filled up I got in and took her out for a spin.

That’s when I noticed the gas gauge didn’t register up to the full mark. The needle only went up to about half way.

I thought maybe sitting, the float in the tank was just dry and stuck. I thought as I drove and hit a bump or two it would come free and zip up to the full mark.

As a girl I thought if I zipped to and fro a little the gas would slosh around and lubricate whatever it was that was holding the float from floating to the tip top. So down the road I traveled.

The gauge didn’t move. It stayed at the halfway point.

No matter I thought. The “brain” in the car told me the number of miles I could go with the gas in the tank.

Since I knew that, I didn’t need no stinkin’ gauge. It would come free, in time. Couple of trips to town and the gauge still didn’t move from half way.

I even noticed that when I got in first thing the gauge was really slow to get to the half way mark. Man, I thought it must really be stuck and maybe even a little gummed up from sitting over the winter.

Then, as a girl, I thought about the pain-in-the-you-know-what this problem was going to be to get fixed. What it was going to cost. How long it would take. Would I have to leave Ruby and rent a car to get home since the nearest Chevy shop is 120 miles away?

All the things a girl thinks about. Then…

Just a few days ago I was on my way to town, 10 miles from my home, and on the way in I noticed again that the gauge still wasn’t going above half way.

AARRGGHH. I turned up the radio to drown out the thoughts of repairs and all that stuff.

Then I saw some little marks on the gauge. Like little dashes. Three or four of them kinda stacked on top of each other. What were they?

Okay Trina: stop, look, read the screen. 

Next to those tiny dashes was—a tiny thermometer. Yes I had been looking at the temperature gauge.

Registering half way, exactly where it was supposed to be. My eyes scanned the dash and there, to the right of the speedometer was the actual gas gauge, registering full to the top.

Yet again reminding me that yes, I am a girl. Happily so is Ruby.

Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book They Call Me Weener is available on Amazon.com or email her at itybytrina@yahoo.com to find out how to get a signed copy.