I decided not to move my car last night (we have to switch sides of the street every other day) because I have practicum on Tuesdays and I usually leave before 8, the magical hour of illegal parking.
I got ready for today, even running a little late because I forgot to make a sandwich for my lunch. I was surprisingly awake and with it–even managing to remember to pack a DVD a professor lent me for a class. When I opened up my car and unlocked the doors so I could put my bag in the back, the locks hummed funny. They didn’t do their normal, percussive “kachunk” sound. Weird, I thought. Uh oh. I shut the door and climbed in, hoping that my car would start up despite the funny sound.
Not so much.
The most pathetic of noises came from my car when I turned the key in the ignition. If my car could weep, I’m sure that’s the sound it would make. Gut-wrenchingly pathetic. It’s just a car, right?
I called K in panic. MY CAR WON’T START! I blurted out, even repeating myself when the rush of words were unintelligible enough that she said ‘wha?’ I think the battery is dead. The locks…they…the dome lights…what am I going to do?
“Take my car.” She gave me permission to drive the car we had brought up here to school a few weeks ago–and what a blessing that we did if we were to end up with an out of comission car off campus. I did. I got in the car and started it up. “Oh no, we have to move the car before 8, Patty.” Dread washed over me. I could still get to practicum ontime, but not without the ticket I would’ve avoided by merely driving my car to school. I turned around, called my practicum teacher to apologize for my absence, and started working to resolve the issue.
We tried calling Dad. His phone’s off while he’s at a conference. We looked for jumper cables. They are undoubtedly in the new cars back home. Not here. K put a call for them on her facebook profile.
Then we called our uncle. He said he’d be over (it’s a perfect day and I have nothing to do today) soon and that I should call the police and report my illegally parked car. He called again when he was 10 minutes away and I went outside to meet him with k’s key for dead red (my car’s affectionately-dubbed name when it died on a snowy night our junior year). In those ten minutes he didn’t come–he hasn’t driven through town on a weekday in a while, and he estimated the 10 minute drive to church on Sunday would be similar…but that’s okay! The parking guy didn’t come in 10 minutes either. He did come in 15 minutes though. I saw him driving down the street blocks away. This is it, I said out loud. To no one. I moved from standing on one end of the car (in a pile of leaves the neighbor who lives there raked on sunday–and conveniently dumped alongside my car. what’s that about?) to a clearer spot by the hood. When the city truck drove by, the driver pointed to my car as if to say, “is this yours?” to which I nodded “yes.” And then he drove on down the street to give someone else a ticket. I deserved a ticket. That was grace.
My uncle and grandma came shortly after and jump started the car. It was really, really dead. The headlights were no longer turning on, the dome lights were a faint glow. After he started grandma’s car, it took him about 2.5 times to get dead red to start. But it started. He drove it to his house to work on, where I can pick it up tonight (and I need to remember to bring a check for a battery…I wonder if he can make good on the diehard warranty w/o a receipt?).
Here is how God has blessed me in this ordinary life disruption:
1. I had something I could cancel to fix the problem (practicum). Not ideal, but flexible. No midterms :).
2. K was here to give me her key.
3. My uncle and grandma live in town and were able to help me.
4. The weather is perfect today.
5. I can use the time to catch up on some work that’s stacking up.
6. The ticket guy. THANK YOU whoever you are!
7. I don’t have any hard and fast plans for tonight (all my plans for this week’s evenings have been slightly reduced/changed)…and the slight plans I have are very, very close to my grandma and uncle’s house, so I might be able to do both.
8. I didn’t cry. I didn’t stress excessively–I had peace and a lot of help.
So I’m thankful. And I’m going to use the time like I said I would :).