The Day My Husband Totaled My Car With His Urine by Anonymous

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When my husband’s name is brought up without him being in the room, there is always a reaction beyond, “Oh, I know him.” People either laugh out loud and shake their head with what I interpret as bewildered benevolence, or they roll their eyes and say something like, “Ah hell… that guy.” As his wife of almost 20 years, I alternate between both reactions. My husband is a big guy and he processes out loud. He’ll say “oh fuck” out of the blue and if someone asks what happened, he very well may launch into a story that happened in 1992. He is known to leave long spaces between words because he’s forgotten where he is and/or also what he was saying. I’m sure there’d be a diagnosis if he went to see someone. Maybe ADHD or a big question mark or something like that. But my husband seems to like himself the way he is. And he’s ok that this is not a shared sentiment across the board. Funny thing, people do seem to appreciate him. For one, he gives people permission to try out new personalities because my husband doesn’t judge in a way that’s intimidating or demeaning. He judges in a way that makes himself look ridiculously human. So people often laugh at him while laughing with him. He’s also always there to help. In fact, the first time I met him, he thought I needed help across the street and he actually lifted me up and carried me without my having asked. I laughed, which was my natural reaction because he was smiling and singing while he did it, but it was also my natural reaction to ask him never to do that again. Which he hasn’t. He’s loyal and strong and extremely hardworking and he does his work really well. And even when he rubs people the wrong way, he gives them something to be grateful for when he’s gone.

But don’t…. and I repeat don’t… ask him to fill up your gas tank if you’ve forgotten to get gas and you’re on ‘empty.’ I made that mistake. And I no longer have that car. Several weeks ago, my husband entered someone’s driveway for a business meeting when he realized he had to urinate. Very badly. He was embarrassed to use their bathroom right away and he had no Gatorade bottle which is what he sometimes uses in these situations which I have by the way never approved of. The only thing he had was a gas can. Which he used.

So fast forward to the other day when I was that unfortunate person who ran out of gas. (I will choose not to elaborate about my own weaknesses and strengths here, as this particular piece is about my husband, not me.) So naturally I asked my husband if he had any extra gas which he often has for the various equipment he uses. And he said he did have gas.

So the following morning my child and I strapped ourselves into our respective seatbelts and we backed out of the driveway and all was fine until my car started making a very loud and very strange noise. It did not seem like it was able to drive. I managed to floor the gas pedal and make it back into my driveway. I then noticed that the gas tank was open. Which is not that strange because my husband sometimes forgets to close things like ketchup and cabinets and such things. I immediately called him and asked if he might have by accident used diesel gas because something was very much not right. He paused and said no. But it was a different kind of pause than the one I usually get when he forgets where he is or what I’d just said. It was a pause that seemed filled with anxiety and disbelief. “I gotta go,” he said.

He arrived home soon after with a bottle of that liquid you put in gas tanks to evaporate water. And as he was pouring it in, he told me what happened. “I can’t believe it,” he said. “I think I’ve been working too many hours.” I can’t exactly remember what my reaction was. But we soon realized my car was totaled. I should add that the car was not in the best of shape to begin with. But now it was ready for the smelter’s yard.

In my family we try to practice “looking for the good.” So I will let you know that all turned out better than I could have imagined. I was able to get another car that is much safer for me and my child. And on the drive home from the dealership, my husband asked me, “Do you want to thank me now or later?” I can’t remember my exact reply. But I guess the moral of this story is, if you know my husband, please, do not, under any circumstances, ask him to fill up your gas tank. Thank you.

Jessica Kane