A Bad Day in America

So everything about my day went well until about 5pm.

I went to a credit union to investigate car financing. They asked for ID, but I left my wallet at work. So I provided my passport instead (I had come prepared to apply for a loan). It turned out the dealership I talked to on the weekend had already applied to that credit union on my behalf. For $7,000 more than the retail price of the car I want. At no point in the conversation with the dealer did I mention wanting any extras. In fact I stressed on several occasions that I wanted no extras, the base model, etc. So they’ll be getting a “you lost a customer today” call tomorrow. The credit union applied internally for a better deal, and obviously less principal.

I drove home to get ready for my personal training appointment at the gym. I stopped off to get the mail, parked in front of the communal mailbox, which happens to be in the middle of a T-intersection and a fire lane (painted red, no parking allowed). I pulled the keys from the ignition, unlocked my mailbox and retrieved three useless pieces of junk mail. Yay. Climbed back into the car for the 45 second drive to my parking spot. Keys in the ignition, and nothing. No electronics, no lights, no ignition. The car wouldn’t start. I heard a fizzing noise in the steering column. Great.

So the car was immobile in a T-intersection, a fire lane, and it was blocking the mailboxes. I popped the hood (bonnet) and there was blue fuzz all over the positive terminal. Google search: blue fuzz on battery = leaking battery. Okay. It was only 6pm. I called the gym and rescheduled. I checked if Autozone (five minutes away) was open. They were, until seven pm. I still needed to get the car started. Grabbed some tools from my apartment. Blowing off the fuzz revealed the positive connector had broken off the positive terminal. I wiggled it back into place, but only temporarily. It started! Success. No way I was going to risk turning off it again. So I kept it running while I locked up my apartment and headed to Autozone.

Oh wait. My wallet is at work. So off to work instead.Fifteen minutes later, I arrived in the secure parking lot. I kept the car running and went inside. I searched my desk for my wallet. It wasn’t there. It wasn’t in my laptop bag either. Okay, it must have been at home this whole time. Whatever. I headed outside, only to find my car was running, and all four doors were locked. Things just went from bad to worse.

My car was running, and the keys were locked in it. It was time to call the locksmith I know (from my apartment complex). I didn’t have his number in my phone for some reason. So I called the insurance company’s roadside assist.

‘Do you have your policy number?’

‘No, it’s locked in the car’

‘Okay, unfortunately without the policy number, there will be a charge, for which you can be reimbursed by sending in the receipt.’

‘Can you look it up by my name?’

‘No, we can only search by policy number. So unless you can find the policy number, you will have an out of pocket expense.’

‘Like hell! I have insurance with you!’ (Yes, I lost my temper.)

‘Okay sir, let me connect with a Company representative who can help you find the information you need.’

‘Alright, thank you.’

The insurance company verified my information, and I’m returned to the roadside assist people – a young lady this time.

‘I’ll note that it’s an emergency, and send you a text with details.’

The text arrived seconds later. It mentioned a 45 minute wait. Screw that. I would rather break the window. I ask a nice dude from Security if he had  tools. We found a hammer and a sharp saw with a pointed tip.  Perfect.

‘Before you break your window, let me make  a call to our locksmith guy.’

While we waited for locksmith guy to call a more local locksmith buddy – probably the one I know from my apartment complex – security dude and I chatted a little. We hunted for a slim jim to unlock the door using an emergency unlock button. I found a suitably long and thin piece of metal, and ka-chunk, the door was unlocked. Success. I was home free.

It was now nearly 8pm, and so Autozone was well and truly closed. No chance to replace or repair the battery issue. I drove home and when I turned off the car, it wouldn’t start again. That will be a problem for tomorrow morning.

Even a bad day in America is still a good day in the world.


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