Friday, August 15, 2008

You're Not Dying Yet, Bitch

There was a sense of foreboding leaving work yesterday, even though I knew I was headed to BC to drink with my friends from school for one last time before I leave for a semester in Italy next Friday. Well that's a pretty gay way to start a story, let me re-phrase that: I was mentally committed to grab a sub from Quizno's in Newton on the way to BC (I'm trying to eat at all my favorite American staples before my 4-month hiatus) but I forgot to print out Google Map directions on how to get there from work. I knew the it was on, however, and didn't want to look like a douche and go back into my office after leaving for the day, so on I went to my car.

I got off the highway at the Newton exit and onto the rotary and then drove into this kind of crazy part of Newton I'd never been to. One of those semi-urban neighborhoods with a lot of traffic, shops, and clutter. I frantically looked around for the Quizno's but after going through 3 sets of lights I realized that I'd missed it. At the next light, I banged a U-turn and started to head back towards the rotary.

My iPod shut off after I made the U-turn. I tried to turn it back on a made sure it was plugged in but I noticed the radio had turned off and wouldn't turn back on. The car was eerily quite. All of a sudden, the radio turned back on and my iPod started played again. I rolled to the next intersect and was the first in line at the red light. The radio turned off again. This time, I realized that the engine had turned off too. Removing the key and trying to start the car again, the engine choked with a grinding hiss-like noise. After freaking out for a few seconds while cars behind me honked angrily while they missed their green light chance, I got out of the car.

Conveniently, there guys on the median next to me holding signs to promote a local political candidate, so I got them to push my dead, shitty ass '99 Ford Windstar while it was in neutral. They gave me a good thirty-yard boost and started to walk back. I waved and thanked them and turned to pull into a Staples parking lot, the only lot I'd be able to reach with my car's quickly fading kinetic energy. Unfortunately for me, getting into this parking lot required going up a slight hill. My pathetic van lost all its momentum about ten feet up this small incline and started to drift backwards. Fuck.

With my van parked at an angle to completely block the entrance/exit to this parking lot, I asked a Staples copy kid who was taking a smoke break if he could help push my van into the lot. He got a couple other copy kid who generously obliged, but seemed to be in a tremendous amount of pain pushing me about 50 feet to a parking spot. After thanking them I called my dad, who works in the area, and AAA. They both said they'd be there in 45 minutes, so I hung out for a bit until AAA won the race.

Some weirdly-accented guy with a tow truck from a nearby auto joint suggested trying to jumpstart the battery. He attached a power source to my battery and told me to turn the ignition. The car turned on and stayed on as he immediately removed his power source. He told me that my battery would be fine to drive on, even as far as 45 miles back to Westford, as long as I didn't stop my car. I questioned him, saying that my car had stopped in the middle of a road with the engine running. He said he didn't know why it would do that (oh that's just super) but that he was confident that I'd be alright. I called and told my dad, who was almost at the Staples, about this, after which tow guy asked if he could leave. I thanked him and said that he could. Thirty seconds after he left the parking lot, the engine cut out and the battery died.

I should mention that this van has got about 145,000 miles on it and has been on the verge of death for roughly 2 years. I was amazed it didn't die on me earlier, having put about 4,500 miles on it this summer, but for it to go on my second-to-last is just being a prissy bitch.

Once my dad showed up, we went a bought a new battery and some wrenches. After about twenty minutes of tedious loosening due to the fact that one of the bolts needed a ratchet wrench to loosen it easily, some Staples guy came out with a toolbox for us to use. We got the new battery in and my dad and I went separate ways. Three hours had passed since my breakdown.

Heading back to the rotary, I saw the Quizno's. I pulled into the parking lot, ordered a large Chicken Carbonara combo, and got the fuck out of Newton.

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