Yesterday, when I got into my car, I noticed that my clock has lost time and that my radio station presets were gone. I pondered the situation briefly, then quickly reset the channels and programmed the clock. I promptly forgot about it as I went on with my afternoon. I stopped my car illegally in front of Sherri’s house, to pick up a couple of CSA green peppers that she and Matt didn’t want to eat. As I got out of the car, I almost left it running, but decided against wasting the gas. We chatted for a couple of minutes, handed off the green peppers and said our goodbyes. She went back into the house, and I climbed back into my still illegally parked car.
I inserted the key, depressed the clutch and turned. Nothing. Not even the click you associate with a dead battery. Just a straining check engine light, lackluster hazzard lights and a window that groaned exhaustedly before surrendering it’s upward climb. I tried it a few more times, thinking that maybe, if I waited a couple of minutes it would recover, but there was nothing. After a quick phone call to my parents, as well as to the woman I was supposed to pick up for latihan, I went and knocked on Sherri’s door again. Matt answered this time, and looked suprised to see me. They both came out, to see if we could jump start my car back to life, but it was a no go. I called AAA and settled in to wait.
It turns out that it was one of the best car trouble experiences I’ve ever had. I had a nice, air conditioned place to hang out, that happened to also come with extremely nice people. They fed me squash casserole au gratin, told me a story about how you don’t wear caps indoors around Sherri’s mother (and never backwards) and generally made the hour and a half it took AAA to get to me very pleasant.
When the AAA unit pulled up, it turned out to be a service and installation van, as opposed to a truck that tows. He hooked my battery up to a portable computer, confirmed that it was dead, and then said, “I believe I have the right battery for you car in the van, for $99.99 plus tax, I can install it for you.” After a moment’s thought and a brief discussion with Sherri (I don’t like to make car decisions on the spur of the moment), I decided the convenience was worth it and went for it. Within fifteen minutes of his arrival, my car was running again.
As soon as I was back on the road, I started realizing how lucky I was that the battery died the way it did. Tonight, I am driving to New York to pick up a friend who is flying back from China as I type. I can only imagine how awful it would have been to have the battery die at a rest stop, at night, someplace between Philadelphia and New York. The way it worked out, I got a little quality time with some friends, got the car repair done during the day and still managed to get to Trader Joe’s for groceries.
There was an advice column letter I read years and years ago that went something like “I feel like the luckiest person alive – I always seem to get the best breaks” and then cited things like being almost done with doing outside yardwork (or something similar) right as it’s starting to rain, and wasn’t it wonderful to just keep making thinks at just the right time. The columnist said it was no coincidence – just a worldview – that a lesser person would always be griping, like “aw, man, I didn’t get to finish the yardwork because wouldn’t you know it started raining. I never catch a break”.
Frequently when I read your entries I get a very strong sense of the former streak in you and it does make me more inclined to look for that silver lining myself – that often we choose to be blessed rather than cursed based on who we are inside and not what life gives us.
We had a similar experience this summer; we took the car on a long road trip to visit family, and then the next week the transmission blew about 2 miles from our house. Ellen put it very eloquently- it helps to be thankful of small favors
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