Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I Could Go Either Way On This

I could write a post about The Usefulness of Men, starting with the discussion a gym friend and I had about moving and ending with pushing pickups, or I could write a post on the Kindness Of Strangers, starting with a dead car battery and ending with a car that's blocked in.

I know which way Boobs, Injuries, and Dr. Pepper would go, and I know which way Gluten-Free Girl would go.

So lately I've been having trouble with leaving the headlights on when I go to work. This happens because the tunnel to Alameda is very dark and per the big warning sign, I turn on the headlights when entering the tube. There is no reminder to turn them off and apparently my car doesn't have a "you left the lights on" alarm and I have now three times come to my car after work and it's dead.

Zirpu bought jumper cables last weekend. He is my favorite husband!

The first thing I noticed about my car was a landscaper's truck parked alongside my vehicle, blocking it in. I am a pretty good judge of distance and I thought I could probably get the car angled correctly to back out of the space, but it would be a hassle. The truck had been there over an hour, parked in the street outside the apartment complex, and I figured the landscapers were inside the courtyard working.

As I approached the car I realized it would need a jump, but I figured that was all right, I was about to find the landscapers who would not only move their truck but jump the battery for me. I had the equipment, after all. I entered the complex and there was no one around. I even walked along the halls, figuring maybe a door would be open and I could ask for the guys who owned the truck. If I were parked that illegally, and blocking a private car and a limousine, I would be keeping tabs on my vehicle, especially in Alameda.

As I went back out to the car a woman in an SUV was dropping a friend off and she agreed to jump my car for me. The only problem was that neither of us had actually done it before, but I had the box with instructions and was fighting the "oh my god, what if I blow up?" feeling that was rising in my belly. I've certainly observed many men use jumper cables, on my cars and on others' cars, but I've never done it myself.

A guy came out of the complex and as I was about to ask him if he knew anything about the landscapers he offered to help us jump the car. Not about to refuse, I said sure, and he set up the cables and the car started. I thanked him and the lady with the truck with Namaste hands and they took off. As I prepared to try to get out of the parking space, I left a note on the pickup saying that this truck had been there for an hour and next time I'm calling the cops. I didn't call the cops today because I figured it would take them a long time to arrive, and hit these obviously self-employed landscapers with a huge ticket, if not a car tow-and-storage fee.

I then proceeded the careful maneuvering to get the car out of the space. You know how sometimes you park right next to the curb, but it's okay because you know you'll have plenty of room to pull forward or back to get out? I had one of those mornings today. The problem was that I didn't have enough room to turn the wheels enough to get the car re-angled, I could only pull away from the curb and back at the same angle. Once I got the right angle I would only have the tricky rolling-backwards-while-turning-the-wheel-and-not-scraping-the-
car-behind-mine move, but I thought I could do that.

While I was doing this two guys on motorcycles pulled up and parked across the street. Great, I thought, I have an audience and I'm reinforcing the stereotype that women can't park. That's not what they experienced though, as one of the guys came over and remarked that he thought they could probably move the truck because he'd noticed it was a standard shift. And they did, rolling the truck forward five feet so I could do a U-turn and get out.

I felt like an idiot but these two big inconveniences allowed me to be the recipient of kindness from strangers.

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