So… I walk back into the store. By this time, I have realised that my car battery is gone, kaput, dead, and needs to be replaced. Triple A does have a battery replacement service, but the recorded message about the limited services…
With doubled energy, I dial their number. Sorry, the battery replacement service is temporarily unavailable; call back in the evening for the service. And yes, a service truck will come by in two hours and jump start my car. Two hours? Two hours.
Outside it is bright and sunny. For a fleeting second, I think of walking home, a distance of 20 minutes. That indeed was a very short-lived thought. What if I lose a toe or two to frost bite? Very possible in the bone chilling, mind numbing cold. And another toe or two in the walk back to the car… definitely not worth it.
Have you ever considered how it it would be to spend two hours in the grocery store? After you have just finished your grocery shopping? Neither had I. But, let’s look on the bright side… now I know that every brand of canned fruit – Del Monte, Dole, the store brand… they all contain the same ingredients and preservatives and colourants, in the same proportions. The next time you need some peach slices for a recipe, just grab the best priced can. Not so with pie fillings though… And thanks to the two hours spent wandering through the aisles of that grocery store, I can now confidently pen a scholarly thesis on ‘Price point variations in papier mache food consumption equipment relative to spatial dimensions and considered with brand identities’. In layman’s terms, how the price of paper plates vary according to size and brand… 🙂
With frequent staring at the watch, I force time to move on. Triple A calls to inform that the service truck is outside in the parking lot. I walk out and spot the truck right away. It is the same truck and the same man who helped jump start my car in the morning. Was it only this morning?
Again, it is a matter of two minutes to get the car started. This time it is straight back home, no driving around to get the battery charged. It is past 2 pm. I haven’t eaten a thing the whole day. All I can do is grab a sandwich – ham and cheese with lots of lettuce, in case you wanted to know – and plonk myself on the couch.
My shopping is not yet done, and won’t be, till the car is fixed. Promptly at 5 pm, I’m on the phone with Triple A. Yes, a service truck will be around to replace the defective battery. By 6.30 pm.
It is already dark outside at 5 pm. The temperature has started its night time plunge into the depths of negative numbers. By 6 pm, I’m dressed in layers and waiting for the call. Promptly at 6.30, the truck arrives. This time it is a small one and has no problem getting into the garage.
The man parks his truck, gets a bunch of tools and a jump cable and walks over to my car. Opens the hood, looks at things, touches a few things. Goes back to his truck, brings more stuff over. Turns, unscrews this and that under the hood. This goes on for 15 minutes. Cold wind is blowing into the garage through the open sides. I move around to keep the shivering to a minimum. After 25 minutes of tinkering, the man declares that Volkswagen cars have special battery installed batteries that can only be detached in a workshop. He offers to tow my car to an auto repair workshop. In a display of supreme self-restraint I mutter politely, No, thank you.
While seeing him out and rushing back to my warm home, all I can think amidst the fuming is, at what point in the 25 minutes of tinkering did he realise that my Beetle is a Volkswagen make?
My car service shop is just two blocks away. Next day, despite it being a Sunday, it is open at 9 am. And I’m there narrating my saga of woes to Luke, the owner. And true to his life saver persona, he asks two of his assistants to go get my car. In two hours, I get the call to tell me it’s all done. I get there, my beautiful Beetle is waiting for me, all nice and freshly washed. And the engine purrs into life with a single turn of the key.
They say all is well that ends well… and I know that things happen, apartments get flooded, car batteries go bad, but why oh why at this particular point in time?
17 Feb 2014