It all started when I was taking my five-year-old to Kindergarten. We were having the usual conversation ("Can I play games after school?" "No." "Can I stay home from school?" "No." "Whhhyyy?" "School is important. Look! A distracting noun of some sort that I see out the window!") when all the lights on our Prius lit up at once. The giant red triangle-exclamation-point thingy, the squiggly exclamation point, the one that has a plus and minus, the engine light, all of them. Luckily this made it so I didn't have to find a bee or a rabid dog outside to distract my five-year-old. I could point to the lights. But then again, I had never seen so many lights.
"What happens if our car explodes?" my five-year-old asked, clearly hoping to be exempt from school.
Unfortunately for him, the car stayed intact and made it to the kindergarten door with a minute to spare. Five-year-old dashed out, forgetting everything he'd just said because look! friendsrecessyay! He headed inside, and I headed for home. It's only a mile or so drive, and the many lights had dimmed to just three (including, of course, the big red exclamation triangle of potentially expensive despair), and I was just turning the fourth-to-last turn when our car slowed, the miles per hour ticking down from 15 to 10 to 5... I pushed the gas petal, but we were gentle-breeze slow at that point.
"Wheee!" said my three-year-old with absolute conviction.
"Whee," I said, pulling over to the side and hoping I wouldn't die right behind someone's driveway.
I drifted to a very slow stop in front of the house with the big star on it. I pulled out the three-year-old, who was extremely happy to have the car die because, hey, running by fences, and the baby, who drooled on my arm. We walked home. I put them down for naps. An hour later we walked back, me pushing a stroller and carrying a gas can that I hoped would let our car move.
It worked. The lights turned off. My baby and three-year-old had to go back in the car, which smelled very much like gas because of the gas can I had to carry in the back.
So. Moral of this story is that the battery in a Prius only lasts about a half-mile once you run out of gas. And school is important.