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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

A Series of Unfortunate Events (That Turned Out Okay)

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

A Series of Unfortunate Events (That Turned Out Okay)

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skeleton black sails
Bobby of got-a-perfect-score-on-his-Outdoor-Emergency-Care test has been, not surprisingly, drafted into becoming an instructor with Ski Patrol. As a result, he has been teaching parts of classes at the most recent Outdoor Emergency Care class on Friday nights. We grab a snack on the way home, he goes to class, and when class is over, we meet somewhere in Westminster for a very late dinner. Since his class is an hour south in Rockville, he takes the Yaris, and I drive the truck to meet him.

Over the winter, we had some problems with the battery in the truck. It was supposedly "new," but who knows if it actually was. Used car dealers and all that. Since the weather warmed, we haven't had any problems.

Bobby is also working to establish a nano-reef tank. It is right next to the couch where I sit and work on the the computer. On Friday nights, I take up my post and put my phone on the aquarium stand so that it's on hand when he calls, and I don't have to worry about it sliding off the arm of the couch.

Last night, he called, and I got up to get ready because I was still in gym clothes, and I left my phone on the aquarium stand. I started down the hill toward Westminster, and the gas light came on in the truck. I hadn't even realized it was so low or I would have stopped after the gym. So I turned into town instead of toward Westminster when I got to the bottom of the hill to stop at the Sheetz in town. It is overpriced and the parking lot is weird and someone was busted for having a brothel out back when we first moved here, but hey, when you're desperate, it's better than walking a few miles for a gas can. And I figured it would only make me five minutes late for meeting Bobby.

I have never put gas in the truck before and couldn't find the release for the gas door, so I had to look it up in the owner's manual. (Only to discover that there is no release!) So I had the interior lights on, plus my headlights, while sitting at the pump doing this. Then I put in 10 gallons of gas, which took a few minutes. You might see where this is going.

I got back in the truck and went to start it. clickclickclickclickclick ... NOTHING. I may have then said a few four-letter words of Anglo-Saxon origin. I thought, well maybe because the gas had been so low, it needed fuel in the lines, so I pumped the pedal a few times and tried again. Nothing. The thought never crossed my mind about the battery because I couldn't imagine that the few minutes I'd had the lights on while reading the manual could have drained it.

So I went in my purse and guess what? No phone because, of course, the phone was still on the aquarium stand at home.

By this time, Bobby was probably arriving in Westminster. All I could think about was him worrying over me. I wouldn't show, he'd call, and I wouldn't answer my phone. Eventually, he'd go home, and I wouldn't be there either. He'd never think to look at Sheetz because we use that gas station maybe three times a year.

At this point, my options started to look like a decision tree, and I was down amid the leaf rot at the roots. I could see two options: 1) I could maybe find someone in the gas station who would loan me their phone, or maybe the gas station would let me use their phone, or maybe they even still had one of those dinosaurs of communication, a pay phone, on premises. Or 2) I could run the mile or so uphill back home and maybe get there when Bobby did.

The first seemed the better option. Only I don't have Bobby's cell number memorized. Brilliant thought: I'll call my parents! Even if they don't answer, I'll leave a message, and maybe they'll get it and be able to contact Bobby!

Except that my parents are in Vegas right now.

So I started to riffle through first the glove compartment, then my wallet, looking for anything with a phone number on it. I found insurance information and an old prescription from one of Bobby's injuries. Both had our address but no phone number. I started on old service receipts, hoping they had maybe recorded a contact number. Meanwhile, I'd started some honest-to-goodness Positive Self Talk about the possibility of running home. "Dawn, you can do it. You're strong and in good shape. It's all uphill, and yes, that will be a bitch, but this is why you go to the gym!" (It's not, but you're allowed some little white lies during Positive Self Talk.) "Yes, you are wearing slip-on Toms shoes, and your feet will get torn up, but your feet get torn up regularly on account of being shaped oddly anyway, so that's nothing new, and you'll be fine; it won't hurt while you're doing it! They'll be mostly healed in time for Ocean City next weekend!" I was worrying very hard about Bobby worrying about me. I didn't even dare look at my watch to see how late I was.

And then a guy walked up and asked if I needed help starting the truck. Cue tempered relief. The problem wasn't solved yet but maybe ...

He told me to try to start the truck again. He said it sounded like the battery or the starter. I'm glad he knew! I started hoping for battery; that we could solve here. He said he'd try to jump-start it and see if that worked, so he drove his truck over (of course he drove a truck! white knights in Carroll County always drive trucks!) and we had a good laugh over the series of unfortunate events that had placed me in this predicament.

And the jump-start worked.

I thanked him about a dozen times, and he said, "No problem. If it was me, I'd hope someone would do the same." Remind me of this when I'm rolling my eyes at my fellow county citizens.

I well exceeded the speed limit driving home, and as I ran into the house and picked up my phone from the aquarium stand, it rang in my hand as Bobby called me for the umpteenth time. He had just left, fearing I'd broken down on the road and knowing me well enough to know that I'd probably forgotten my phone.

Moral of the story: He picked me up and we had an even later dinner than usual. And we're getting a new battery for the truck.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • I'm glad all turned out well. I'd write Bobby's number down if I were you.
  • New battery - GREAT IDEA! At least Bobby knows you well enough to realize that you would (1) probably have left your phone behind, and (2) might be having problems with the truck.

    Torn up feet, although an option, should always be the very last resort :-)

    - Erulisse (one L)
    • I am a millennial--barely--but still haven't gotten used to the idea of having my phone on me at all times. Extreme introvert that I am, the idea of being reachable 24/7 on terms other than my own is deeply unpleasant. I'm trying to get better about at least having it but definitely messed this one up! :D

      Torn up feet are an unfortunate reality for me periodically. My feet are just shaped weirdly, and even shoes that I think will be okay, if I walk a long distance, will rub in places. I've sadly gotten used to it!
      • I purchase two pairs of orthotic inserts each year for my shoes, and move the prior year's pairs to shoes I wear less often like my snow boots and dress shoes. Without the orthotics, I would be crippled with Plantar Fasciitis. Since I'm on my feet 8-10 hours a day, that wasn't an option. I'm sure your foot issue is different than mine, every body is different, but if you haven't tried orthotics, you might want to consider them.

        The only reason I have my phone on me 24/7 is because the security company for the store reaches me at that phone number and I can check the store remotely from an app on it. I also read on it and I've learned to use it pretty exclusively. It's a handy little thing - LOL.

        I'm just very grateful that you and Bobby are both OK in what could have been a much worse situation. *hugs*

        - Erulisse (one L)
  • Eek! Glad things turned out okay!

    I really need to learn more about cars and stuff--car issues make me so anxious. But it's nice when kind strangers help out (even if the reason is that you're stalled at the bottom of an icy hill after a major snowstorm and the guy behind you is worried about your car causing a massive accident--not that that ever happened to me or anything *best attempt at innocent look*).

    I was just saying to my mom the other day, "I remember when I could leave the house without a cell phone and not worry about it!" (Of course, we did worry about not having a phone even before cell phones were common, but anyway...)
    • I'm terrible with cars too ... mechanical stuff generally, actually. I am very low on that kind of intelligence. (I mean, I have trouble telling left from right! I once had to ask for help at a gas station because I turned the gas cap the wrong way and got it stuck. Of course, to make matters even worse, I was going to a scribal arts demo and was in full medieval dress when this happened ... :D) I understand at an intellectual level how a lot of aspects of a car work, but to turn that understanding into practical application just ain't happening.

      I like to imagine that the mechanical part of my brain, in a fit of great generosity, donated a chunk of intelligence to the verbal part of my brain. :D

      I would like to learn the basics someday. I loathe being the stereotypical dumb woman with this stuff. I'd like to be able to jump-start a car, change a tire, get my gas cap off ... ;)

      It is strange to think back to that time not so long ago when we managed life and all the curveballs it threw at us without being immediately reachable. What happened on Friday may well have been less anxiety-provoking because the pressure of immediacy--of answering my phone when Bobby called, of being immediately in touch if I was going to be late--wouldn't have been as strong. I might have even been able to walk, not run, home.
  • lol! Sorry, I had to laugh, because the same thing happened to me, minus cold weather, plus cranky child late for birthday party. Saturday was not a good day for car batteries. :D
    • No apologies! Please laugh--I did! :D The guy who helped me and I had a good chuckle over all that had to go wrong to put me in that precise predicament.
  • Yay for the kindness of strangers and new truck batteries!

    Whenever I find myself nostalgic for the "olden days" when phones could only be used at home in the same room where it was attached to the wall, I think of how much safer the world is with cell phones.

    OTOH, I'm really horrible about leaving mine at home.
    • Me too! I'm a millennial ... barely, but still a millennial ... but have never been able to grasp the need to have my phone on me at all times. I don't want to be always reachable; the idea is actually really unpleasant to me. Of course, it backfired this time. ;) I am trying to get better about making sure it is in my purse. A few weeks ago, it would have been, as I never left it on the arm of the couch because I was afraid one of the dogs would bump it onto the floor. The new aquarium stand changed everything.

      I generally like technology, but I have also set very strong boundaries for myself (like not checking email on my phone unless I'm out of town without Internet access) to keep it from becoming a burden. I look at people who can't go five minutes without responding to something from the device in their pocket and think that must be miserable, and I don't want it to be me.
  • I'm glad your feet were spared the ordeal.
    And hooray for the white knight mounted on his truck!
    • Me too! We're going to Ocean City this weekend, so I'm sure they'll get nice and ripped up schlepping back and forth on the Boardwalk. No sense rushing things!

      People are generally friendly and helpful here, which I like. It is not the first time I've had to rely on the kindness of others because of something stupid!
  • Wow

    It was nice reading your entry. Thank you so much for keeping interested. Vegas sounds good. Cool place to visit. I need a vacation. lol.
    • Re: Wow

      I've only been to Vegas once (and I was dealing with a bad joint inflammation that meant I was in major pain for most of the trip) but I enjoyed it. I definitely want to go back. My parents go every few months.

      I always need a vacation! :D
  • "No problem. If it was me, I'd hope someone would do the same."

    This idealist smiled :D And if it makes you feel better, even after two years I still cannot remember my own cell phone nr. Hubby has one too, but he hates being called so calling him is always futile. Drop him an e-mail or a dm at twitter and he immediately gets into action (yes I know, having a cell with internet access is needed for that, but still).

    • I have trouble remembering mine too. I have committed it to memory again (for the time being) because of having to write it down so many times while setting up a paintball trip for some of my students. But then I'll go a few weeks without needing to remember it, and it will fade again.

      R sounds like me! It's much quicker to get me on email most of the time (or PM, which of course pings the email) than on the phone. I give my students my email address and tell them I'll share my cell number too if they want it, but email is faster, and they'll probably hear back within an hour in the evenings. They laugh ... then they're like, "Wait, you're serious??" :D
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