Tow Away ZoneAugust 27, 2004
I ran Lake Merritt yesterday. I parked, ran around it in 39 minutes, average time for me, and got back in my car. I turned the key. Nothing. Zip. You know that weak growl you get when a battery is close to dying? I didn't have that. I didn't even have the click. Just absolutely nothing.
Sigh. I was one of the last hold-outs to get a cell phone, but now I love mine, and thank god for it. Within minutes I had AAA enroute, I had told the garage I'd be on my way, and I had arranged a ride from my generous sister Christy from the garage.
Then I sat. I steamed. Literally. I was all damp and soggy from the run, and it was still warm out, so I felt like a tamale in my car. I could have put the top down, but by that point I was avoiding the sun. I rummaged in the back seat and god bless my packratedness, I found Middlesex by Eugenides, still in its bookstore bag. I had forgotten I had even bought it. I put my aching legs up on the dash and had myself a little read. I watched the people go by. I hung my legs out the window, where they got more breeze, and I watched the people watch my legs. They all looked suspicious of them. What? You never saw legs sticking out? I had a couple of stare-downs with children. I lost.
Then the tow truck arrived, and I fell in love with my driver. Greg. Good old Greg. Here he is:
He made me feel like a million bucks, sweaty and steamy as I was. He tried all sorts of little tricks before he gave up and hooked it up to the truck. When I told him which garage I was taking it to, he called ahead and said we were on our way.
He looked at me when we were on the freeway and said, "You know, men are dumb."
"At least you had your hood up. You had cleaned off the battery connectors. You tried. When a woman gets a flat tire, she gets in the trunk and pulls out the tire iron and the jack and at least gives it a shot. I've rolled up on guys who've been waiting for three hours for me to get there and see if they have a jack. And me and this buddy of mine, we kept track for like a year. It's mostly the guys who lock their keys in the car, you know that? And leave their lights on so the battery flats out. It's 'cause they can't do two things at once. You know...."
"Yeah. They can't do that. Women can. Men are dumb." He shook his head and then smiled.
"You're not dumb."
"Nah, I mean in general."
Well, okay then.
When we got to the garage, I was over my five mile tow limit. I asked how I would pay him. He said, "Let me think about that while I unhook." He dropped the car and then shook my hand. "You take care of yourself. How long is your ride going to be? You okay waiting here?"
"Take care. I'll see you down the road." With a wink, he was gone. I lurve Greg. I've already called AAA and sent an electronic commendation, and I've written the letter to his boss which I'll mail today.
I lurve Oakland, too. That kind of thing just happens here. Now, let's think cheap-fix thoughts. I can't afford an expensive repair right now.... Oh! And it's Friday! (Isn't it? I might have lost track....) Happy weekend, all!