Oct. 1st, 2009

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or 'How I Spent the Past Two Days'

It happened when I'd just arrived to Fadó Monday night, and the Gods of Parking had gifted me with the perfect place to leave my car for a little while. As I was backing up, the car stalled. This isn't new at all, I'm sort of used to it happening in reverse - I tend to release the clutch a bit gingerly when there's the possibility of me hitting something behind me.

'Oops', said I to myself, and made to start the car again. In response, it wheezed a bit and gave me a click when I was expecting the roar of an engine.

'...gnaaa?'

So I tried again.

Wheeze. Click. Nothing. I can't exactly say that the gravity of the situation began to occur to me then, 'cos it's never as though one half of the car was dangling over the edge of a steep precipice, and the other half was thinking of joining it. I was palpably aware that my car was stranded, slightly up in, in the middle of the street, and at an awkward angle. I was also aware that, as I'm not a set of twins, it would be impossible for me to shove the thing off the road and steer it at the same time. Never mind breaking. I knew, too, that I couldn't simply leave it there.

I got out and paced round it a bit, desperately wanting to do something useful to it, such as kick the tyres soundly a couple of times. 'Cos nothing says 'come to my aid, o unwitting heros', much in the way that Woman Unstuck does. As luck would have it, three people leaving the library next door saw me, and donned their capes and spandex.

It's not that I accepted their help begrudgingly, but rather...reluctantly (yet contritely). I tend to wriggle when people offer assistance, 'cos I tend to feel that I got myself into whichever predicament - I should bloody well get myself out of it, yeh? In a yet reasonably new place, this is rather a dangerous attitude, so I sucked up my chagrin at Putting Decent People Out, and soldiered on.

Once the car was no longer a danger to itself and others, I went into Fadó for a drink at to play a little while. This isn't as mad and irresponsible as it might seem. I knew that the best I could hope for was to have the thing towed back to the flat; it had already grown too late for me to find it a garage and have it sorted out. And the thought of being truly stranded had frayed my nerves a bit, and I went to steady them, so.

It was a wise decision, actually. The battery had gone flat; leaving the car to sit for a little while gave it chance to get a bit of charge. When I left two hours later, it argued with me a bit, but started. I thought 'I've got one shot, likely', and rather than going back inside to tell the people who knew that I'd be alright, I left. Here's to hoping they all understand, sort of thing.

Once I got back to the flat, Shaddow and I, via our lovely iPhones, went through the process of removing as much of the Great Massive Amounts of corrosion that had been building up since the last time I'd cleared it all away. Seriously, it looked as though it had been submerged in salt water for a decade. I think I saw some fish swimming by. Clearing it off gave me enough power to start it up the next morning, go in to the office, and then fetch it to have a new battery installed afterwards.

Only...there's a catch, innit? The thing had corroded to the extent that the positive terminal clamp was nearly useless. I drove home Tuesday night, but come Wednesday morning, my Ship Wouldn't Go. Shaddow, myself, and a neighbour remedied that with a slapdash combination of foil and sellotape. Again, I set off (you'd think I'd just stay in, yeh?)...leading up to one of the most annoying days I've had in some great while.

I'd worked out that some part of the battery cable wanted replacing. Either the entire positive-side cable, or the little terminal clamp thingummy, or the bolt that kept the terminal clamp thingummy snug against the terminal. Something had to go. It was yet up in the air as to which something. Knowing that most garages shut at 6, I'd planned to leave the office an hour earlier than usual - my father having assured me that the replacement shouldn't take longer than a quarter of an hour. So...half four arrives, and I collect up my gear and scarper for the train. When the train stops at my station, I scarper out of it, and up the stairs, and towards the carpark...

...at which point I realise that I must have left my keys on my desk.

So I scarper back to the train.

By the time I've got back to the carpark, keys in hand, I'm sure it's far too late for anything to be done, so. The aim becomes to start the car, and drive it back to the flat. And...of course the bleeding thing won't start. This time, I'm not even given a wheeze - merely a click. I missed the wheeze. That at least said to me 'I'm trying'. I had planned for this. Seriously, I had done. I'd brought tools along, which weren't entirely the best for the job, but they were the best on offer, so. I convinced the clamp to stay down round the terminal long enough to provide the requisite spark to start the car.

It was decided that I should at least go and find the proper tools, so that when this happened again between now and Saturday (which was the earliest I thought it likely the car could actually be sorted), I'd be prepared. So I drove about knowing that if the car should stall for any reason, that was likely It. Shaddow directed me the way to a shop (which also happened to be a garage), and after a brief chat with my father and Shaddow, I switched off the car and went in, thinking to buy a bolt to tighten the clamp.

Instead, my car was repaired. With a new clamp. In slightly less than a quarter hour's time. For a pittance, really. Now, am I a bit worried that I'm Speaking Too Soon? Well, sure I am a bit, but...I'm putting those worries aside. I do think it all got sorted out; now it's a matter of maintenance (lest the new battery become as much of a coral reef as the old one had done).

When I got back to the flat, I switched on my Wii, and pelted some 'tennis balls'.

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