The other night, I stopped off at the bank on my home from work. I went to the inside ATM, conducted my business and went back out to the car. Got in, switched the key and got nuthin.
It’s happened before. In the last month or two, the car has exhibited the same sporadic behavior. Last time it happened, I’d gone to the store for milk. Same drill…came out, switched the key and nuthin.
Last time, I called a mechanically gifted friend and he walked me through the process of unhooking the cables from the battery and sanding down the copper contact lugs. Putting it all back together, I was glad my friend’s voice was in my ear…like having a personal 911 operator! I got back in, said a prayer and turned the key. Vvroom. Excellent!
So like I said, I’d been down this road before. I called home and explained what was happening; “Yes, I’ll keep you posted”. With that, I pulled out the vise-grips, popped the hood and went to work under the parking lot light pole. It struck me then, how the visual must look like the beginning of a Hitchcock episode (ha!).
The positive terminal was worse for wear since the last time we’d met. I worked and worked past the shadows, slowly wresting the positive bolt out of its’ broken threads. 20-minutes.
In no time flat, I could see the soft sheen of copper returning as the knife’s blade removed the oxidized scab of non-conducting gunk. 20-minutes. Then I put it all back, got in and switched the key and got? Nuthin. ‘Are you kidding me?’
Called home and before I could even utter a ‘hello’, I heard the worry – “Where have you been? It’s been an hour!” Having been momentarily transported back to when I remember standing in front of my mom when I was a little kid. Stop. I told myself, That was then, this is now and he’s worried about you…relax.
“Can you get somebody to jump you?” Looking around the deserted parking lot, I mumbled something about ‘I’ll try…I’ll call you back”. I was now in battle mode. If it took going out into traffic, I needed somebody to stop and help me. Catching myself smiling at having just listened to my own Dirty Harry impersonation, I got out of the car and pulled the jumper cables from the trunk. At least that way, I’d be ready if I could get someone to stop and give me a jump. But it’s sorta of an unwritten Midwestern code of conduct thing…it’s Winter in Chicago – you jump people. Being mindful of keeping the other end of the cables apart, I made my hook-ups and gathered myself to go into battle.
“Hello.” I spun around, totally unprepared to see a woman in a Honda pull up behind me with her window rolled down. “Hi. “Do you need a jump?” “Uh yeah, that’d be great…if it wouldn’t be too much trouble” “Sure, no problem. My dad always wanted a son so he made sure me and my five sisters all knew how to do car stuff.” With that, she’d popped her hood and even though I offered, proceeded to take the other end of my jumpers and make her connections. Zip. Zip. Done.
I got back in the car, switched the key and – Vvroom. I jumped out of the car and started singing the Rocky song as he cleared the top step. Laughing, she handed me back my cables and we said our good-bye. “I wish I could repay you. “You can, just pay it forward next time you see someone who needs you and we’re even.” With that, her window rolled up and she disappeared as quickly as she had come. “Hey, it’s me. Yeah, I’ve got it started. I’ll be home shortly.”
The other night, I watched Oprah’s interview with George Lucas. She asked him about the origin of his idea of ‘The Force’. He responded, speaking to his concept of the Force coming from his comparative study of myth; many of those forming into the core essence shared by the subsequent religions. The Native American understood Nature as being in all things – one and connected, ultimately, to each. They knew it in Avatar as well. Scriptures of all sort speak to the same essential idea.
I’m so profoundly thankful when guys like Wayne Dyer speaks to ‘source’ as being the one unifying energy in Life. And if ‘source’ is all, then it knows all within it…all is possible within its infinite bounds. I think the basic inside scoop on mental health is learning how to flip the equation.
Flipping. We do really well at keeping ends together…but life can come at you fast.
This morning, we were able to get a new battery installed @ Wally World – new posts and all. Victory. We paid the bill, went out and got in the car, switched the key and got nuthin. Are you kidding me?
The guys came out and after a quick consult, suggested it was a bad starter or at least one on its’ way out. And no, they didn’t do that kind of work in that garage. So I called my real mechanic, Eric. The guy is like a Robin Hood of Excellence. He has a business to run, but he has exercised kindness to us before so I wasn’t going to assume anything from him now. I trust him and his craft. So Eric, what’s the story?
“Dead starter and some other electrical touch-ups, but the battery looks brand new”. It was all I could do to keep from lunging at him across the counter. So for less than what I thought, and some related quick fix touches from his crew of mechanics, I was back on the road. It was tough and who knew there were going to be chapters…I mean, come on…enough already. But that’s when it’s time to flip it.
I am so blessed to have been able to cover things as they came up and still manage our cash flow to avoid any surprises. But stuff happens. And somehow, I’m so very grateful that the Cosmos knows me. It somehow knows how to deliver help and GPS coordinates in just the right moment and from some of the most unexpected sources. I’ve got one of those in a guy at work. I trust he’ll say something if he thinks he needs to. Cool. He’s actually performing his own act of ‘pay it forward’. Shoot, I’ll protect that any day…and so will you.
If you go through your day looking for what’s wrong with it, you’re going to find it. Wow. You are impressive…just like you predicted. Life sucks. Big deal. So what.
Today, as I sit here in my mechanics waiting room, writing you on some unfolded C-fold paper towels I had in the car, Eric’s crew is tag-teaming the Buick. They did all kinds of little things no one asked them to do. There was no mention of it on the itemized bill. I started to say something and Eric’s wife looked at me as if to say ‘just shut up…” I quickly realized it was all about respect and so I stood a little straighter and shook his hand. “Eric, I’m glad you’re on the Planet.” He smiled and said, “Good thing you got jumped or you wouldn’t have ending up finding out about any of this. Glad we fixed her.” For a nanosecond, feet fused to his cement floor, I see an amazing faith-building epic unfold around me as I go out to the car. And as I had so many times before in the last few weeks, switching the key. And this time, I knew – Vvrooom! There it was. Eric rocks!
If you go through your day looking for what’s right with it, you’re going to find it. Wow. You are impressive…just like you predicted. Life Rocks. Seize it.
It was only when I came off of what I knew to do from before, was I able to signal the Cosmos I needed help. I had done all that I could do. I prepared to wait. But she saw my jumper cables waiting. She knew she was expected. She arrived. That is, after all, what I’d been needing. Right?
Wow. Stunned moment of silence.
I’m so committed to living this next week with a renewed appreciation for all that is good in my life. For the unrealized connection to a whole chain of people who unknowingly linked together to pull me through a real jam. And all because each of them was paying their own forward. They didn’t know about the others who had come before him or after her. I hadn’t said word one to Eric about the woman at the bank. But I had to his wife while I was waiting. And she told Eric. And I hadn’t detected a thing. Wow. Another moment of silence; just sitting there listening to the hum of the engine.
“Yeah, it’s me. I’m all done; yep, nope. I’m coming home”
Photo Credits: Hood Up and 2 People Jumping Car plus a handy how-to on the subject: http://automotivepartsuppliers.com/car-battery-dies/; Copper Lug: http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/DOR4/85635.oap?ck=Search_N0365_-1_-1&pt=N0365&ppt=C0005; Car Battery: Spike Mafford/Getty Images: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/vehicles/electric-car-battery1.htm; Stunned Magnet: http://www.cafepress.co.uk/+team-stunning+magnets; C-Fold Manuscript by dan4kent.
– ## –