There Have Been Better Days

Friday, 13 April 2012
I rushed back from Columbus on Monday to make it to my favorite class, Social Media 660. Along the way I hit the traffic from the massive rock slide on 75 South. I knew about it from a friend and read about it on the TDOT website. Oh well. Still didn't plan enough time for the back-up but c'est la vie. Rolling on, I texted a cohort member asking her to let our prof know that I might be late.

Cool. I pull into the Hertz store parking lot and quickly unloaded all of my things (including furniture I gathered in Columbus) and went in to drop off the key. The office was very busy. No worries. I still had time to make it to class and only barely be late. I check out, head to my ride and crank the key. Nothing.

Again, crank. Not even a cricket had the decency to chirp. Awesome. I fear my battery is dead so I go back inside, and calmly ask the nice man behind the counter if he has a set of jumper cables. He does but he has to help two other customers and take two phone calls while I wait. No worries. He is very busy. He gives me the cables.

I pull the rental car around and pop my hood. I remember. There's no stand that holds the hood up and there was no way I was going to be able to use jumper cables while simultaneously holding the hood up. Hmmm. Improvising, I unload one of the gorgeous bar chairs that would hopefully be soon sitting in my kitchen and prop the hood up by placing the chair in the engine portion of the car. I hate to use the word "ghetto" because it implicates such stereo-typifications but I was definitely "ghetto-ing" it up right there in the Hertz parking lot for God and everyone to see.

Keep going. I attempt to draw on any and all knowledge I have of how to jump a car. I've seen it performed before but have never personally done it. Oh well. It can't be that hard, right? It wasn't - but it didn't work. (Later, my father told me that sometimes older batteries need to sit hooked up on cables for a bit before trying to fire it up).

Okay. Now what? I check my rental car out again and go to Walmart - just down the road. A nice gentleman helps me pick out the correct battery and suggests an expensive ($12) ratchet set. "Are you sure this is what I'm going to need to change the battery?," I ask. "Yip. This one 'ere 'll do it." Confident in his mechanical skills, and wary of mine, I take my purchase out to the rental ride and go back to Hertz. Quickly watching a YouTube video on how to change the battery, I pop open the hood again. Insert chair.

You knew this was coming... the ratchet set did not include the right size and thus did not work to loosen the bolts on the arm which holds the battery on the tray. (Usually at this point someone with more intelligence would take a few deep breaths and call a tow truck for help but I'm not your average gal and only very occasionally exert stubborn tendencies.) I went back inside the rental car store. At this point, I could tell the guy behind the counter was getting weary. He looked up from the computer behind the desk with the phone to his ear and a flash of hope danced across his eyes. He was undoubtedly praying that I would soon be taking the bar stool out of the front of my car and driving off of his lot, but no. He saw my face and became visibly disappointed. Refusing to be daunted, I mouthed, "Do you have a wrench?"

He nods, finishes his call, helps another customer and finds a wrench, actually smiling when he hands it over. Bless his heart. I know he was putting on a brave face.

I get the arm off of the battery and without the proper tools (thank you, dear Walmart auto shop employee) just cannot loosen the bolts to remove the connectors. I was SO close! At this point, I truly would have asked someone for help but strangely at that moment, there were no other customers and Brad (rental specialist - we were on a first-name basis at that point) was busy with phone calls and cleaning the cars that had just arrived. (Read: He was avoiding me.)

Deep breaths. Positive thoughts. I walked around the left side of the car to check the glove box for any other tools and that's when the straw broke the camel's back. I had a flat tire. Surprisingly, I've become much calmer in my older years and I did not cry, throw a fit or kick the tire. (Full transparency here: I did curse like a sailor in my mind.)

Going back into the rental shop, I smiled at Brad, handed over the wrench and said sweetly, "Is is possible that I can have the rental car for one more evening?" He breathed a sigh of relief and said, "Of course!" I unloaded my things from my car, packing them all back into the rental car and drove home. Of course at this point I was defeated, exhausted AND had completely missed class. Why me?

Luckily, the next morning a wonderful man (with the correct tools) changed the battery in less than 15 minutes and also had an air compressor (!!) with which he boosted my tire. I was ready to roll and the car fired right up. He made it look so easy. Too easy, really. I guess you can't be good at everything. Hope your Monday was better than mine. :)

2 comments

The Wolf said...

What a day! Congratulations on not swearing out loud.
Some say misery loves company. If you would like to indulge a non-writer to share a story of another crazy day.

http://givenmark.blogspot.com/2011/10/superstition-long-story.html?m=1

Cincychili said...

I hope your week goes better, Denae.