Tuesday, March 09, 2004


I stopped by our mailbox place after work today and the car wouldn't start when I got in to leave. This has happened to me a handful of times in recent weeks and every time I tell the boyfriend, it elicits the same response, "Well, it NEVER happens to me." As if I'm somehow doing some stupid girlie thing to the car to make it stop working. He always says, "It just means the steering wheel is locked." What?! No, it doesn't, the steering wheel moves.

Anyway, I sat in the extremely hot car futilely trying to start it and after about 10 minutes I walked back into the mailbox place to borrow their phone so I could at least leave a message at home about what was going on. (I didn't think the boyfriend would be home; I assumed he'd be playing golf and he was.) But in typical fashion, the young West Indian woman sitting behind the counter continued her personal call for several minutes, basically ignoring me. So I stepped outside and saw that the gentleman who'd been inside with me earlier was now sitting in his SUV with his A/C running, reading a magazine. I knocked on his window, explained my problem and he said, "Your steering wheel is probably locked." What is it with men? And no, it wasn't the steering wheel, which he quickly discovered. Then he said, "Your neutral safety switch must be bad. Do you happen to have a paper clip?" He got under the dashboard and jerry-rigged something with part of a paper clip. No go. He had me turn on the lights, even though I'd told him the battery was okay. He checked the battery anyway and then several fuses related to the starter, all of which looked good. Finally he said we'd have to "pop start" it. So he nabbed the services of a Paint Depot employee who was roping down some goods on the back of a woman's pickup, and they pushed me backwards and then my helper pushed me across the (thankfully pretty empty) parking lot and I popped the clutch and I was on my way. I yelled my thank you's out the window, with him yelling back, "Don't turn it off!" Jeez, men must really think we're dumb.

He was very, very kind to help me out on a hot afternoon. Do you ever wonder in moments like that how that person came to be right where you needed him to be right when you needed him to be there? I do. But I don't really try too hard to figure out my incredibly good fortune in those moments...I just try to be thankful for it.


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