A GOOD DAY TURNED BAD

Everyone has these days. Work is set; chores and errands are planned. A schedule is roughed out with extra time for delightful diversions. And there will be time to be productive, keeping my ears open, my nose to the grindstone, my eyes on the ball. It’s a day to hope, aspire and innovate. My being is in God’s hand, moving under the will and direction of the gods and advancing into heavenly pantheons.

 Next something occurs, and immediately the question becomes: What worse can happen? 

I shop quickly. I made five stops, some stores miles apart, shopped and was out of the stores within an hour. It was a warm day, 100 degrees plus but not as humid as it has been. Store five I brought my purchases out, put them securely in the trunk and got in. The car wouldn’t start. The battery came to mind. AAA had replaced the last battery a bit more than three years ago. That mechanic said, “You have a three year guarantee.”

I can count and take a joke: Three years is three years. It’s only money.

I called AAA, and cooled my heals in the heat of the shade while they arrived: Hot weekend day, everyone’s out, cars are breaking down – this man was busy as he arrived within the time frame they had given me. He looked at my card, got my comments about what was wrong, popped the hood and attached stuff to the battery. The battery was fine doing everything it was designed to do. The AAA man didn’t say it, but I thought, It’s probably good for three years.

He went onto another trouble spot on his list, and determined the starter wasn’t working. He returned to his truck and came back with a two-foot length of one inch galvanized pipe, open at each end. He put it against the starter and didn’t tap but jabbed: THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. He handed me the key and said, “I need you to turn the ignition while I’m hitting the starter.”

This seemed inappropriate. Whoever got an iphone to work after hitting it with a piece of pipe?

I did as requested without result. In fact he continued to hit after I quit. He finally went to the driver’s seat and turned the key, getting the car started after many attempts. 

I was delighted. 

He next informed me to drive to my mechanics to get the starter replaced. “If you turn it off, you may never restart it.”

Given the beating the starter had taken, I believed him. But I wondered, “It’s Saturday, who’s open?”

I drove the car seven miles to the dealer where all the work had been done before. I could take the bus back and huff the last mile home, uphill carrying my purchases. 

The dealer was open, and so was it’s service department! It took a while to get the car in. The intake man said that banging on a starter was the usual way to get a car started. The work would be finished on Monday. 

“Do you have a bus schedule?” (Bus stop half block away)

“We can give you a ride. We have a valet service.”

I waited int the air conditioned Customer Service room, with the TV turned to the Oregon-Virginia game loud. An Asian guy was trying to sleep; his wife was enduring. A Latina behind shades was looking out the window at the street. I watched the game. Oregon, a quick team, was ripping up Virginia but lost its MO by a quick Virginia touchdown at the end of the first quarter. That seemed like other Oregon teams – an explosive offensive force but no defense. I saw no more of the game, but Oregon had a sluggish second quarter and during the second half ruled the field. Oregon won 59-10.

I had seen the shuttle return, but the driver disappeared. I went out and asked. It took 15 minutes to find the driver. He drove well, dropping a woman off and driving seven miles into a new neighborhood to drop me off. I had arrived with my purchases, but thought, Do nothing. Don’t risk going out. Do no work today. Hence, when the dealership called three hours later and said, “Your car is ready after 5:00 p.m. Will you pick it up today?” I considered: It was a waste of a day. I may as well fritter away the remainder of it doing something. No shuttle. I had two hours to walk seven miles. I declined.

The car will be picked up Monday.

Some days have to play out and end in their ruin. So long as I understand that the time was wasted, sometimes for good purpose (the car was repaired fully), I won’t be affected. 

 

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