Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cars, Cats, & Calls for Help

It was a week ago today, & I was leaving a strip mall, Chipotle to-go bag in hand & ready to be consumed. Nathan had deployed that morning, & I was looking forward to eating my feelings my burrito bowl in his absence. In the parking lot of an Old Navy, I turned the key in the engine of my still-sorta-new-to-me 2008 Honda Civic. Grrrrrrind. Say whaaaat?

Luckily, my grandmother purchased an AAA membership for me as a Chanukah gift. (She did it last year, too, & it was my savior when my Toyota P.O.S. broke down at a toll booth a few weeks after my move to New Hampshire.) Less luckily, it was the day of that weird solar storm, which screwed with cell signals & prevented me from accessing the Internet on my iPhone. Utilizing the text-to-tweet function, I sent out a plea:

My Twitter friends responded en masse, bless their helpful hearts: Nearly 20 people sent me the number! AAA promised me someone would be out within the hour, & I settled into my car for the long haul, digging into my burrito bowl from behind the steering wheel & calling my mother to mope. Imagine my shock, then, when the tower pulled up within seven minutes. Literally, seven minutes. AAA MIRACLE. He jumped my car, told me I probably needed a new battery, & went on his merry way. (I called AAA to file a "report of happiness" about his work, a.k.a. a compliment. I forgot the word, OK?!)

The next day, AAA sent someone out to my apartment to check my battery (best service ever) with the intention of replacing it - but when he ran the diagnostics test, it showed that my battery was just fine, so he, too, went on his merry way. But you know the story doesn't end here, right? Of course not. Yesterday, this:


This time, I had another rider with me: My cat, Stringer Bell, was riding shotgun. I'd just taken him to get his annual shots, & when I tried to leave the vet's office, my car wouldn't start. Let me tell you, nothing screams CRAZY CAT LADY like waiting for a tow truck with your cat, yowling at the top of his little kitty lungs. The AAA guy who showed up to help me had a good sense of humor, but he said my situation was a first. From his spot in the passenger seat, Stringer was quite suspicious of the whole thing:


I can't speak Cat, but I suspect he's saying something like, "What in the bloody hell is going on here, Mama? I'm an indoor-only kinda dude." The kind folks at the vet's office were nice enough to take him back into their warm office while I sat, coatless, inside my cold car, waiting for the AAA tech to change my battery, which did, in fact, need replacing. Clearly.


The whole thing took just about an hour & cost me a mere $105, which isn't bad, considering the battery has a six-year warranty, but I may be the first person to call for roadside assistance three times in six days. The moral of this story is twofold: Never travel without AAA, & never underestimate the power of cats to make you look like a crazy person in an already-stressful situation.
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