I hit the ground runnin’ this morning. The chores were done, bills paid and ready to be mailed, the dogs were trained. With a list of errands and coupons in hand I went outside to my car (which I’d forgotten to put into the garage last night or even to lock). I put the key into the ignition and turned it only to hear a chug, a wheeze, a cough, a gag and finally silence. I’ll bet you didn’t know that I can swear like a sailor, words learned from my Dad the sailor (US Coast Guard). Well, you know now but no one was around to hear me so I gave myself a free profanity pass.
This is the part where I wanted to turn to a man and say, “Honey, baby, lover. Fix it, pleeeasse?!” But there was suddenly no traffic on the busy road. Like a Twilight Zone episode no men were left on earth. So I did what any woman from the Baby Boomer generation would do, the only thing I know how to do. I checked the oil and maybe, just maybe someone would see the hood up and come over to help me. But no, even the male birds in the sky were gone, so I looked at the dip stick and oh, oh, it was almost completely dry. Then my emotions ran from guilt, to embarrassment to anger. Didn’t I just have the oil changed, although I couldn’t remember when? Worse still, had I just ruined the engine?
The only thing left was to call AAA for a tow and while waiting I would have to empty the car of my dog stuff: crates, wood flooring from under the crates, paper towels, poopy bags, etc. The AAA guy pulled up in a small pickup, not a tow truck. He thought I might have a battery problem. But I told him the battery was brand new. Without saying anything he got into the car to listen to the engine snap, gag and die. “Yes, it’s your battery”. “But it’s new,” I said again. He flipped back a piece of plastic alongside the battery and read the date, January, 2011. Once again, I was embarrassed since five years is not new by any means, even if it felt like yesterday. The cute young guy smiled. I’m sure his entire day working in the sunny retirement state of Florida is filled with similar Baby Boomers with car problems and short memories. I could either have the Subaru dealership give me a new battery since this one was a Subaru Pro Rated 85 month battery or he, through AAA, could sell me a new one. I chose the prorated battery for about twenty dollars less since I had to go to the dealership for an oil change anyhow. Well, change is the wrong word, since I’d used up all but one gram of oil in the past FIVE months. Again, it seemed like yesterday.
While I was at the Subaru dealership I became friends with a Schnauzer named Cody, the dealership owner’s dog. Cody, I was told, is unfriendly to strangers, unless he finds a certain dog trainer with leftover treats in her pocket. We became fast friends so to pass the time I tried to see what words Cody knew. “Want to go for a walk?” His ears perked up and he delicately put one foot on my leg. Yes, he wanted to walk so we went around the showroom together. We returned to the service area together but he quickly ran away from me. His tall, skinny owner walked briskly by on the way to the service bays. Cody ran to follow his owner like a well-trained obedience show dog, oblivious to anyone else in the room. Later, when owner and dog returned, Cody snubbed me like yesterday’s trash. His world is by his owner’s side. It was heartwarming to see.
Once again, witnessing the love between a dog and its owner, even though it was not MY dog, changed what was a bad day for me into a good day.