. . . bend to left and right

February 8, 2013


[continued from previous blog post]
The day turned into yet another chapter in the cars-with-PaCharley novel: first thing in the morning, I had to ask him to rescue me from what I assumed to be a dead battery. Instead of heading straight for the jumper cables, however, my grandfather suggested we try another fix first, the battery being as new as it was. We unscrewed the connections and scraped off ashy corrosion before re-hooking the wires. When I asked why, PaCharley explained that sometimes corrosion can interfere with the battery’s firing. Sure enough, the car started right up after that. As I laughed at the unexpected fix, he said, “Now I normally require something for my service. A hug will do.” That was an easy payment to offer ☺
Waylaid slightly from my intended schedule for the day, next stop was the grocery store. I jump on any chance for a deal. As my mother always says, “It was on sale—I had to buy it!” This was a day on which my creativity could garner shopping points: the invitation to make a valentine for the store translated, in my mind, to an excuse to write a silly poem. I did so, “making the day” of the store clerk and getting a dollar off my purchase.
Hopping back in the car, I turned the key. Click. Oh no. My heart sunk for a moment, panicking at the thought of being stranded. Then I caught my own reaction. Wait a sec, I thought. What’s the big deal? I’m in a very safe place right now, in a country of ease and accessibility. Besides, it’s a beautiful day—I can just happily soak up the sun if I have to wait a while . . .
Self-talk done, I began to make a plan. Popping the hood, I poked around and wondered what I could do with no tools handy to try the same fix as earlier in the day. I peered closely at the offending bits of corrosion. Then I blew—hard—on the battery. I got back in the car. It started.
Now, I thought it was probably unwise to put too much faith in my lung capacity, so I headed straight for the battery mechanic my grandfather uses. The fellow there immediately saw the problem, put a new clamp on the positive charge, and waved me away. I hesitated. “But I haven’t paid yet . . .” I began. “Oh no, honey, you’re fine,” he replied, in a slow drawl. “You have a nice day now.”
I smiled as I carried on with that nice day. All things considered, I pretty painless process of car-repair-interruption. And certainly more pleasant than the day of Visa issues and flight-booking difficulties that was to follow . . .
This morning, during our cemetery morning walk, I confessed to B my most recent moment of irrational panic: an encounter with a police situation that triggered my “Danger!” physiological response. There was a relief in the voicing of it. B interrupted our train of thought to point out the strange contortions of a tree beside us. She said it looked like it had its head stuck in the ground, legs to either side, and one arm up in the air. I tried to imitate the pose. It didn’t work, with my torso [or perhaps my neck? being too short to manage getting my head down that far. This action, like the conversation, was also a relief :-)


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