Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
Oh how I love the sound of a dead battery in the morning.
After losing sleep due to a forty minute low at midnight (which resulted in a near breakdown and needs an entire post of its own to explain) and a mad rush to get out the door after over-sleeping, I turned the ignition with eager anticipation of another Peet's coffee and marionberry scone to this. A dead battery. The second one in as many years.
Unbeliveable, I sigh. Both parents gone. Both cars gone. To my advantage, my younger brother's friend was expected to arrive shortly, so I sent off a quick email to my PGE supervisors letting them know I wouldn't be in until "probably around 9:30."
The Friend of Younger Brother arrived and after a quick phone call to my father to verify jumpstarting instruction (just to make sure we didn't accidentally kill each other in the process), Buffy (my car, not the Vampire Slayer) was up and running again. I grab my stuff and off I go, into the morning Oregon rain.
I decide not to risk losing the electricity so I keep mosing down Hwy 43 into Portland. Since it's only 9:00, I decide to drive a few surface streets to give Buffy a bit more time to warm up before I park in my usual parking garage.
At approximately 9:13 a.m. on Monday morning, Allison attempts to drive into the parking garage when the motor vehicle also known as Buffy suddenly sputters and dies. On the sidewalk. With an big, black, scary-looking SUV right behind her.
Panicking, I try furiously to start the car or to push the wheel to get the car to move. Nothing.
BEEEEEEP!!! screams the Scary SUV. I get out of the car, put my hands on my hips and yell:
"My car is DEAD!" ("F-ing idiot!" is what I think to myself). I get behind the car and in my gray slacks and beige Gap peacoat attempt to push my car out of Scary SUVs way. Two nice men come up and help me push it to its final resting space, illegally parked in that "yellow zone" next to the curb. They say sayonara and I'm on my own.
I immediately call Dad (one of the benefits of living at home). He's pissed off that my car's dead but he gives me the phone number for the Allstate Roadside Assistance. I make arrangement with Allstate and they tell me someone is on their way.
Twenty minutes later and I get a phone call from a guy who says he was told to come jumpstart my car.
"Uh, I don't think that's such a good idea," I say. "We tried jumpstarting it this morning and it still died." The man agrees and calls Allstate to get a tow truck. Enter second conversation with Allstate, who again wants to verify all my information and where I am and what kind of car I have, etc.
Then I wait. I hate waiting. Waiting was probably the worst part of it all. I tracked down a phone book and called PGE. The car was illegally parked so I didn't want to leave (though not once in the two hours it was parked there did a police officer or traffic person come by to question me. Eh.). The wind and rain were soaking me, the creepy parking attendent guy kept leering at me, and my elegant Franco Sarto flats just weren't cutting it anymore. But the waiting gave me ample opportunity to draft this blog post in my head.
Just when all hope seemed loss, Emerald Towing arrived. How they managed to hook up my car while directly in front of the garage entrance is beyond me. Even though I watched them do the whole thing. I tried to stay as far away from them so no one would think the car being towed was mine.
They dropped the car off at an autobody repair shop on the East Side of the River. I made arrangement to come back later that day after class to pick up the car. I take the bus back, and with my lousy little umbrella walked a few blocks to PGE for my remaining hour and a half of work.
I looked like a wet rat when I got there.
I left a bit before 1 p.m. because I test at 98 mg/dl but feel a slight ache in my hands (my indication I'm about to bite the big one) . While eating Chinese food across the street, Gordon, the guy from the autoshop calls me.
"So, um, did you leave us your keys?" Pause for moment. Put down the fork. Jaw drops.
"No." Feeling the pocket and hearing the jingle-jangle of one Very Important Key. "I must have forgotten."
At this point I'm positive my head needs examining. I hop on the first Bus 14 I see, but we're heading in the wrong direction. It ends up taking me twice as long to get back to the auto shop than it should have. The bus drops me off on the Hawthorne Bridge, four blocks from the shop. My little umbrella can barely take the strain of the winds and one of the metal arms snaps in two. Now I have to hold my broken umbrella over me with two hands. But with 40 MPH winds and rain, it's not like I stayed dry for long. I arrive at the shop at 1:40, which is precisely when class starts. I hand him my key, but take the rest because he says he doesn't think he can do anything until tomorrow. I hitch a ride back to campus from a gentleman who is dropping off his car as well.
An hour and a half into class and I get a phone call from Gordon. He tells me the alternator is fine (we thought it was the alternator since it died while moving), but the battery is completely useless.
Faaaaab-u-lous. I can hardly contain my joy at having to buy a battery. Mr. Gordon wants to charge me $99 for the battery, but my dad says he'll put the battery in as that price is severly overcharged.
After class I purchase a new umbrella and wait at the Borders while the monsoon hits Portland. Changing a battery at night during a rain storm. Can't get much better than this. (I believe I was channeling Julia by this point.)
While I wait outside for my dad, I hum "Raindrops keep falling on my head..." I have no idea what the words are or even what the tune is, so I could have been making up the song entirely.
My dad picks me up around 5:30 p.m. and we head to the East Side to buy battery and go the auto shop. Mr. Gordon is still there and we're able to change the battery underneath the covered area in front of the entrance. So that was a nice bit of karma.
In the end, Buffy's battery transplant was a success and she was alive and well approximately 10 hours after her initial collapse.