I was running early this morning, so I thought I’d go get an extra errand done on the way to work. Maine winters mean lots of salt on your car, so what better way to spend a few extra minutes than by stopping by the car wash. I merrily gave it my credit card and punched in the options, pulled forward when asked to do so, and waited while the wonders of science cleaned my car.
But wait, I thought. The wonders of science have also taught me that it is Wrong to leave your car on when you’re not driving anywhere. It wastes gas, and it kills polar bears. And while I”m sure a polar bear would kill me on sight if I ever bumped into one, I try to take the high road in these situations.
So I turned off my car.
The car wash finished, and I went to start the car. Click click click click click. A half-hearted lurch or two, and then nothing. I’m in the middle of the car wash, there are now cars behind me, I have a ride to catch in 15 minutes to go to a meeting in Augusta, I’m supposed to open the library before I go, and my car won’t start.
Why in the world did I decide to have a car wash this morning, and why didn’t I just kill those darn polar bears?
I get out of the car and stare at it for a bit, then get back in and try starting it again. Ladies and gentlemen, we now have confirmation that my stare isn’t enough to bring cars back from the dead. So I get out of the car again and go to the guy behind me–the one wondering what in hades’ name I was doing getting out of a car in the middle of a car wash when it’s about -5 outside. (On a side note, if and when you need to get a car wash in Maine, don’t do it when it’s about -5 outside and your car isn’t warmed up first. The water freezes right to the car. I won’t charge you for that tip.)
Anyway–guy behind me agrees to help me push, and we the car out. I then call my mechanic. It sounds like a dead battery, but maybe the car wash froze a line somewhere or something. I mean, I *just had it running*, so how could it be the battery? A quick game of 20 questions later, and it’s confirmed: it’s almost definitely the battery. So the next call goes to Denisa: HELP! She agrees to troop the kids out in good ol’ Tatonka (our second car). I make call #3: the library to see if someone can open for me and to get the number for my ride to Augusta. Call #4 is to the ride asking them to wait. Denisa shows up, the car gets jumped, we caravan over to the mechanic, then she drives me to work, then I go off to Augusta.
Long story, I know. It was a bad morning. But hey–I still made my meeting, my mechanic confirmed it was a battery problem, he replaced it for cheap, and I’m up and running again. It could have been worse. It could have died after one of my night shifts, or on the way down to PA one time. I mean, as long as it was going to just up and commit seppuku on me, it might as well have been at a time and place where I managed to work everything out.
But hey–my car’s clean, and the polar bears get to live a few more seconds longer, so I guess in the end, everybody wins.
Until next time, when I’m gassing the heck out of those lousy Coca Cola swigging overgrown quadrupeds.