Saturday, February 11, 2006

Dead Battery

My car's battery was dead last night and I blame my bus driver. A stretch you say? I think not.

I got to my bus stop with 5 minutes to spare. I was debating whether I should stay in the car for a few more minutes, or go stand at the stop in the cold wind. Just as I was thinking that the bus had been several minutes late all week, I saw it three blocks away and speeding towards me. Unfortunately, there was a green light at the intersection and the driver didn't have to stop. I flew out of my car, grabbing my briefcase and purse. I heard the car chiming, and thought it was because the keys were in it. I grabbed them, closed the door and locked it as I slid down the snow-covered embankment to catch up to the bus. The driver was going to fast that it took her a block and a half to stop for me. The other passengers said they had to yell at her that I was there, and she started to argue with them that I wasn't at the STOP. By the way, she was three minutes early.

ANYway, last night as I approached my car, I tried to unlock it with my keyless remote. Nothing. I got closer and hit the button. Still nothing. Then in the back of my mind, I remembered that as the door was closing that morning, I STILL heard chiming. Damn. Fine time to remember THAT.

I got out my AAA card and my cellphone and made the necessary call. The operator wanted me to give the EXACT address where I was. Like I knew that! I told her the name of the parking lot, next to a Steak'n'Shake, across the street from a Harley Davidson store. I gave her the cross street. She wanted the street address. WHO KNOWS STREET ADDRESSES OF PARKING LOTS?!?!

I told her that any local tow truck driver would know where I was located. She reluctantly gave in and told me it would be 45 minutes. I gasped, as it was cold and she said, "maybe sooner."

As I hung up, a nice looking guy (but much younger) approached me and asked if help was on the way, and I told him I had just hung up with AAA and was OK. He said he worked at the Harley Store and noticed my lights on all day and was wishing he knew who to call. He then apologized for not having jumper cables and said he should have thought to get some, knowing that someone was going to need them. I will admit I thought that maybe he should go back across the street and get some because SURELY a Harley store had them. But my dad's voice was in my head warning me about explosions when people do that without knowing what they are doing. But you'd think a Harley dude would know what he was doing.

Isn't it interesting how I had that little argument going on in my head while talking to him? I'm talented that way.

And a side note to the Great Dane, I DO have jumper cables.....somewhere in the basement. Yeah, I know. I should dig them out. But I do have all of the other winter pack stuff in the trunk.

OK, back to the story at hand. I was getting bored (and REAALLLLYYYYY had to pee), so to keep my mind on other things, I dug out my cellphone and started to call people. After that, I started e-mailing them.

Forty-three minutes later, I saw the tow truck aproaching. I wanted to make sure he knew which car I was, so I honked. Horns don't work in cars with dead batteries. So I flashed my headlights. Yeah. It's a lot like flipping the light switch when you walk into a room when the power is out.

Less than 5 minutes after he got to my car, I was on the road. He told me to be sure to let the car run for 15 to 20 minutes before shutting it off. I live 1.3 miles from there, so when I got home, I let the car run (locking it of course.) I went in the house, started dinner, and returned a couple of phone calls. Quite some time later, I received a reply from friend I had e-mailed in San Diego who said she assumed I was home now. Suddenly, I thought MY CAR!!! and rushed out to shut it off. Fortunately, I still had gas, but not a lot. That would have been real cute, having to call AAA the next day.

Which reminds me of a AAA rant. I've had the service for about 6 years now. I haven't needed it much, but every year, I've paid $106.00 to them for a family membership. One year, I had the misfortune of getting a flat tire, a dead battery and getting locked out. After the third incident, I received a chastizing letter from AAA in which they WARNED me that if I used their service again before my yearly membership expired, they would have to charge me. They said it wasn't FAIR for me to use them so often without paying; and in order to keep costs down, they would have to charge.

I shot off a letter to them that I'd been PAYING them for several years and hadn't needed them until now and they DARE chastise me!?!? I know they aren't a charity, but they've made a nice little profit off of me. I never received a reply.

When it came time for renewal, I considered not paying, but thought it would be bitter revenge if Meghan's car broke down on the way home from school. So, I paid the renewal, BUT I WASN'T HAPPY ABOUT IT!!!


Jeff Meyerson said...

That stinks, sly! I mean the AAA threatening to cut you off because you used them too much. I've belonged for many years too. Some years I never call and sometimes it's a few times a year but I've never been threatened.

As to the problem you had, simple answer: buy a Subaru. This is my second one and it is IMPOSSIBLE to leave the lights on with the motor off. They will not go on, period.

Trillian DBB said...

I've gotten that threat from AAA too, back when I was driving a clasic (read: ancient POS) 1977 Impala. My Cavalier has "run down protection" so if I leave the lights on or the trunk open the lights will turn off after a while.