So you can imagine how uncool I was on Monday when my car battery died. It had been sluggish for awhile but I chalked it up to the cold, forgetting that it has been powering my car for SEVEN YEARS. Still, I knew I was pushing my luck when I drove it to work on Monday morning, so as soon as I got to my desk, I made an immediate appointment to get the battery replaced that afternoon.
At like 2:45, I walk out to my car and turn the key: nothing. I swear loudly at the car: nothing. I apologize for the swearing, promising to be better to the car: nothing. I was out of answers.
I texted and called Geo at his grown-up job repeatedly and when he answered, he was obnoxiously calm. "Okay, you're fine. Relax. Can you have someone jump it? Do you just want it towed to the car place?"
I responded, as any sane woman would "UGH! I DON'T KNOW! EVERYTHING IS THE WORST AND I'M COLD AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO AND I SHOULDN'T HAVE DRIVEN THIS MORNING AND THIS IS PROBABLY PAYBACK FOR THAT SUMMER I KEPT KILLING ALL THOSE BIRDS WHILE DRIVING!"
Needless to say, he doesn’t LOVE talking to me when I’m in this state, and I certainly don’t blame him. But after some reassurance from him, I got my car jumped and it started up.
This wasn’t good enough to calm my nerves. I asked the guy who jumped it how long the battery would last. Could he just reassure me that I would make it the 3.3 miles to Firestone? He shrugged and said, “Probably. I mean, I don’t see why not.”
So I turned off the heat, the radio and made a mental note not to use my blinkers (I don’t know what batteries power and what they don’t) and headed off to Firestone. I was a headcase the whole way there. Some choice words I spoke out loud in my silent car included “Come on, baby. Come on. You can do it. If I can run a mile without stopping surely you could keep going. I’ve never said a bad word about you, Subaru. You OWE me this. Clear eyes, full heart, car.”
On the way there, my phone — providing me the directions — ALSO died. I couldn’t charge it in the car because again, I didn’t know if it would drain the battery. So I tried to remember the directions I had looked up earlier and found myself on this road with 1,000 cars, 12,000 driveways into multiple strip malls and a dangerous hesitancy to hit the brakes.
Finally, after turning around 8 or 11 times, I saw the Firestone sign. I pulled up to a garage and slowly drove in circles in the parking lot. I gingerly rolled down my window an inch and started yelling at a gentle man who I’d learn was named Herb, “I CAN’T STOP OR MY CAR WILL DIE! I HAVE A 3:00 APPOINTMENT TO REPLACE MY BATTERY! WHERE DO I GO?! WHAT DO I DO!?”
There were several problems with this scene. One: I think I would have been fine stopping my car and talking to Herb like a human. Two: Even if my car HAD died, I was in a place more than equipped to handle such an incident.
Three: It was the wrong place. It was another battery/tire/auto place next to Firestone that I just drove into out of sheer panic. I had no appointment, Herb had no warning that this nightmare was about to befall him. Only, I didn’t even realize it was the wrong place until about 15 minutes into my wait when I noticed nothing around me said Firestone…except the sign about three storefronts further down the road I saw through the window.
But like the hero that he no doubt is, Herb replaced my battery and I could drive home in peace. Except my tire pressure light is still on, and so’s my Brake light. But that’s a panic for another day, I guess.