I couldn't let 2011 end without doing something else completely and utterly stupid could I? Here's a quick story to prove that life with me is always, well, it's never dull.
So, my mom goes to this eye doctor that's in another county, about 45 min from our houses without traffic, and traffic between here and there in the morning is usually pretty awful. After having eye surgery in October, she had a follow-up appointment today, and I got up at the crack of dawn to go pick her up and have her there by 8:30.
I don't enjoy going inside this particular office, so unless she's having something major done, I've started sitting in the car and reading or playing with my phone or napping, mostly napping. This also means I don't exactly dress appropriately for going inside, which, as I learned today, is a big mistake. My outfit was actuallly suitable for public (usually, I wear pajamas), but I was wearing flip-flops, and it was about 34 degrees.
So, it's dark when we leave, and of course, I had my lights on. Once we were on our way and the sun started making its way over the horizon, I started to turn the lights off, but for some reason, I didn't.
Here's the thing: I bought my car brand new several years ago, and since about the day after I bought it, the little bell that alerts you that you've left your lights on hasn't worked. I've never gotten it fixed, and it's led to quite a bit of heartache. I've found myself stranded in parking decks in downtown Atlanta at 3 a.m., stranded in parking lots of various places of employment, and unable to leave the driveways of various family members and friends at random times. As a matter of fact, just a few months ago, after a particularly long appointment, my mom and I sat in that very office parking lot for a good two hours waiting on my little cousin to drive up and jump us off.
So, today, we got there early, around 8 a.m., and my mom went in early, hoping she'd get out quickly. I sat in the car and watched some young men cut grass, played with my phone, and tried to take a nap since I'd only managed about three hours of sleep. As the minutes and eventually hours, passed, I began wondering what was taking so long when a little noise interrupted my thoughts. It sounded like something in the car had died. I didn't think much of of it at first, but then I looked down and noticed that the lights were still turned on and had been since we got there. Never mind the fact, that I'd been intermittently listening to the radio and running the heat, as well.
The battery. I wanted to cry.
I tried some little tricks I've read about to give the battery a boost but no such luck. I called my cousins, all of whom were working. I tried to think of who I knew who lived in the area that wouldn't be at work. Just about then, my dad called. I explained to him what happened and practically begged him to come, but he couldn't... something about his boss not being there and filling in and not being able to leave. He told me to call my grandfather, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. He's 86 and while he's in pretty good shape, I just didn't want to have him drive for an hour just to fix my mistake. Plus, I was parked between two cars that obviously weren't going anywhere anytime soon, so jumper cables were probably out of the question.
I believe for the 100th time in the last five or so years, my dad also cursed me for being single, but that's a story for another day...
So, I finally gathered up my little hobo-looking self, flip-flops and all, and walked into the office. I asked the receptionist if she knew of anyone there who could help and she called the office manager over. Another lady mentioned that she had jumper cables and would be glad to help, but the office manager told her no, that she couldn't, and then she made a somewhat snide comment about how I should try AAA or something.
I went back to the car and Googled some roadside service places, but no one answered their phones on this lovely morning. I waited for my mom to call for me to come pick her up at the door. I was bracing myself for her to yell and scream about how irresponsible I am and how she can't believe this is the second time I've done this in the last few months in the same parking lot that's nearly an hour away from our houses.
But before any of that could happen, I looked up and saw an AutoZone up the street. From my work in South Carolina, I knew they offered some battery-related services, not necessarily the one I needed but still... And I mean, sure, I was not at their store, but I was just up the street. Maybe some kind dude could just come drive down out of the goodness of his heart? (I know nothing about cars and car places, so this all seemed logical to me.)
I called and the guy who answered barely spoke English, but I told him what I needed and he said, "Sorry, we don't do that" (or at least I think that's what he said - he could have just as well been screaming "Allahu Akbar") (I kid, I kid, calm down, people). I started to thank him and hang up, but he told me to hold on, and when he came back to the phone, he started giving me a phone number. I wrote it down, but I'm not sure he actually told me what the number was for. I Googled it and no business names came up, but desperate times and all...
So, I called the number and realized it was a towing service, and of course, no one answered. I hung up and decided to wait for my mom. She has better contacts and more common sense than I do when it comes to issues such as this anyway. I was just about to drift off to sleep when towing company guy calls me back. He tells me he'll charge me $45 to come fix my little problem and promised that he was just 15 minutes away. I hesitated to pay but decided it was worth it.
About half an hour later, I was standing by my car, barely able to feel my toes, listening to a lecture on battery life, and cursing myself for not wearing real shoes. Just as soon as I wrote the guy a check, my mom called and said she was at the door, waiting for me to come get her. Perfect timing. If I wanted, she could have stayed in the dark about this little incident. And part of me wanted, believe me, but I've never really been able to lie to her about things. Plus, my dad would have told her anyway.
When she got in the car, she said, "I didn't think the doctor was ever going to show up; I can't believe it took that long!" Then she looked at me and asked, "Did you get to take a nap? I guess you had plenty of time?"
I just sighed and handed her the receipt.
She still yelled at me, but I was pretty proud of myself for handling it on my own, without the help of any family members. Sure, I'm 30, but me and cars don't mix very well (if you've read my blog for any length of time you'll know this). I kind of felt like a grown-up!