October 7, 2001
Adventures in Beckyland
This has not been a good day in Beckyland. But it could have been ever so much worse. I was able to run my errands before the car decided she was ailing.
I will not say nasty things about that car; she has been my faithful companion for many years now and is very much loved. Her name is Katie. Well, it's really Kathryn, but her friends call her Katie. And she has not had many problems. But today she just couldn't start.
We were in the parking lot at the grocery store. Funny thing, I had almost walked to the store this afternoon instead of taking her, because it was such a pretty day and that's a nice walk. Well, I got my walk in, anyway. Due to the time of the late afternoon, and the crowd of people who decided to spend their time lurking near the pay phone, I decided the better plan was to come back to my apartment and call AAA from my own phone.
That turned out to be a really bright idea. I was able to calmly describe my situation to the nice dispatcher, who totally understood that I did not want to be put into a position of having to walk home again in the dark, and that it would take me about ten minutes to get back to the car. She told me a little more about what to expect than I have been told in other calls to them over the years, including the name of the local company that would be responding to the call.
On my way back to the car, I grabbed something resembling supper, since I was potentially going to have to wait an hour from that moment for the mechanic. Again, a good idea, but one that turned out to be unnecessary. The mechanic arrived in the parking lot at about the same minute I did. I waved him down and asked if he were looking for me; he was, and we were in business.
Except the car wouldn't stay started. The best guess is that there's an alternator problem. But luck was still with me---I had asked the mechanic to please follow me home to make sure if I did have more trouble I wouldn't be stranded. (The drive from that parking lot to my parking place in the complex is a mile, so he wasn't going far out of his way.) Good thing he was watching out for me, because when I turned on the headlights, Katie made a sound that was car-ese for, "Oh, shit!" and died. No restarting this go-round.
The mechanic didn't bother to try, since we both knew it was likely the alternator was the culprit. By the way, the battery is less than six months old, so that's an unlikely cause. He just started the process to tow Katie home for me.
It was fascinating to watch the hook-up. The only other time I've been around Katie being towed was a few years ago, and that truck was one of those where the towed vehicle rides with two wheels up and the other two riding on the road. This time, Katie got to be gently lifted up the ramp to ride on the flatbed. I enjoyed watching the pulley and seeing which lever did what. I admit being geeky at weird times, thanks!
And we got home without further ado. Katie is resting comfortably in her usual lot, and I am planning to take the bus to work tomorrow.