October 20th, 2009

Just in case you thought losing my debit card while participating in wicked gambling (i.e. cashing in a winning lottery ticket if you haven’t read my last post) wasn’t bad enough for the week, the next day was even better.

I believe I’ve disclosed that I used to work for a retail company that was aimed mostly at women. Now, I’m working for a company that is aimed mostly at men. (For you social scientists in the audience: I know, I know, I’m perpetuating stereotypes but hey: they’re stereotypes for a reason.)

Without getting too specific on whom the company is that I’m working for, I’ll just say that they sell a lot of guy things, including tools, stuff for cars etc.

The day after the debit card incident: I stop at the mailbox on the way home from work. We live in a sub division that has a mailbox tree for about a dozen houses.

I always feel slightly lazy as I pull across into the wrong lane of traffic in order to get to the mailboxes. I can’t even be bothered to park on the correct side of the road and walk the 8 feet to the mailbox.

Because of an earlier incident of locking myself out of my house, my house and mailbox keys are firmly attached to my car keys (and you might recall that my husband lives in another state and therefore is no help in said situation).

While this is very annoying in the winter when it is 50 below, it beats the heck out of walking out of your house with car keys in hand only to realize you’ve just locked yourself out of the house in the before mentioned 50 below.

That was one funny story: when it was over. Maybe I’ll get motivated to retell it at some point.
But I digress.

I’ve turned off my car, glanced stealthily around to see if any of my neighbors are watching me be so lazy, quickly open up and retrieve my mail, depositing it onto my passenger seat and then slip the key back into the ignition and start to get excited about spending the weekend with Mr. J.

I turn the key. Nothing.

Nothing.

Nothing.

WTH?

Now I’m really looking around: sure enough, here are some neighbors wanting their mail. Which of course, I’m blocking access to their mailbox.

Because I’m so lazy that I couldn’t be bothered to do anything but roll down my window, I can’t even get out of the car on the driver side. I’m calling out apologies to the neighbor lady while digging in my purse for my cell phone. Thankfully, Mr. J is home.

After wiggling over the gear shift, and shuffling my coffee cup, the mail, my purse, trying not to do permanent damage to me or the car, I manage to shimmy out through the passenger side…..if shimmy means: sweat with anxiety and curse up a storm, of course.

Thankfully I had the forethought to pop the hood (and every other door on the darn car as well).

As I raise the hood, I am punching in the numbers for our house phone. I barely give Mr. J time to say hello when I bark, “Car’s dead.” And looking down at the white and green corrosion on my car battery cables I say, “I’m out by the mailbox. Bring a diet Coke.”

Did you know that Coke would clean away battery corrosion?

It is one of the only things I know about cars other than where to put the gasoline.

Let’s just take a moment and think about how clean my insides should be since I sport a two-can a day habit. I’ve been told it doesn’t quite work that way but I’m going to pretend it does.

“Do you have battery cables?” I ask.

The silence on the other end tells me Mr. J does not. I know I don’t have any in the trunk of my car.

Again, I’m going to blame my father (see Lottery Ticket fiasco): “How on earth did you let your daughter (never mind that she was 35+ years of age) move into the snow belt without a set of battery cables?”

See, this is what happens when you don’t have children: you remain a child in yours and your parents view. It might sound strange, but it is true.

Now the neighbors are half grumbling, half offering to help. Luckily someone in this state is smart enough to have jumper cables and Mr. J pulls his car around and after the diet Coke drenching we are ready to try and jump the car.

It starts within a few minutes and within an hour it has been fitted with a brand new battery that will surely last longer than I intend on having her.

When I had shared with my parents the new job opportunity my mother had said, “you’re in an industry you love: women’s apparel, jewelry, etc. And you’re going to move into men’s products instead?”

“Hey,” I’d responded, a tad flippant. “I’ll have one tricked out beater! And besides, the money I’ll save from NOT shopping will be like getting another pay raise!”

Of course, as I’m pulling into an auto parts parking lot I’m struck by the irony that I’m having to buy auto parts when I’ve just accepted a position with a company that in two weeks would have afforded me a 20% discount on the battery: which would have been just about enough to buy a set of jumper cables.

Go figure.

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