Life is an adventure.
Sometimes the adventure is one I readily seek out and at other times it just seems to happen.
In college, my roommate and I would go for groceries every week. Sometimes, we would look for new routes back to our apartment.
I figured as long as the car had gas in the tank – and we had food to eat – we were good to go.
Sometimes we found a new avenue home and sometimes we ended up back tracking. A little adventure that was somewhat planned.
Not the case, when Dad and I recently traveled to Altoona.
We were going out for a ride, to eat dinner and I hoped to do a little shopping. We stopped at the Logan Towne Center. It was a sunny day with the temperatures reaching the high 50s.
Dad decided to wait in the car while I shopped. So he put his window down and picked up his newspaper.
About an hour later I returned to the car. I turned the key in the ignition and watched all the lights flash across my dashboard and heard click click. The battery was dead.
I had mistakenly thought when I turned the motor off that the lights turn off. It’s not like the older cars when one had to make sure to turn off the lights whether the motor was off or not. I guess with the key in the ignition, an electrical connection was made.
Dad said he hadn’t realized the lights were on until it started to get dark. “The side window went up very slowly so I took the key out of the ignition. I just put it back in when I saw you coming” to the car, he said.
I tried to take the key out of the ignition. It would not release.
Check to make sure the gear is still in park. Try the key again – no luck.
“Try stepping on the brake. Maybe that will help release it,” Dad suggested.
OK, stepping on the brake. Turn the key in the ignition and pull ... dang. It won’t budge.
I popped the hood and get out. Dad comes to the driver side and tries to remove the key. He’s still very strong. He succeds, thankgoodness.
“I don’t think my jumper cables are in the trunk,” I said.
So back into the store I go to seek help. The consensus of the saleswomen is that none of them had hooked up jumper cables before and only one thought there was a chance she had a set in her vehicle. One then suggested calling security to see if they’d come and assist.
I immediately said yes to any and all help.
The saleswoman who thought she might have a set of cables was leaving the store and walked out with me. As we stepped outside on the sidewalk she looked down the road and noted the security car. But wait, it stopped at a different clothing store, several storefronts down.
“I’ll go down and tell him you’re up here,” she said, and headed for her vehicle. The fleeting thought of “there goes my backup possibility for jumper cables” went through my mind and I prayed that I wouldn’t regret her leaving.
Thankfully the parking space on each side of my car was open. The security guard pulled in on the passenger side. My battery sits on the driver’s side.
He got out and I told him my battery was on the other side of my car. He said he had to check to see on which side the security car’s battery was located. He got back in and pulled the hood release.
He tried again, still nothing.
He got out and pushed down on the hood of his vehicle. Then, he once more got in and tried the hood release. Nothing again.
Dad walks over and pushes down on the security car’s hood while the guard keeps trying the hood release mechanism. The hood gives a little quiver as if it might pop open, but no.
The guard finds a screwdriver and attempts to pry the hood open. After a few tries ... success! The hood is open. The battery is on the passenger side of his vehicle.
The hood is gently lowered and the guard drives his vehicle to the parking space on the other side of my car.
Jumper cables are soon hooked up but he remarks that not even a small spark is seen during the process. In other words, the battery might be really drained. A couple of minutes later I try the key in the ignition and my car starts right up.
The guard cautions that we may want to get the battery changed, as it was very corroded on top. I go back to the saleswomen and find out where to go to get a battery changed.
Now, I’m driving in the dark, five lanes of traffic, all of which seem to know where they are going. I however do not.
This is definitely an adventure.
An auto parts store is spied nearby and while we can’t get a battery changed, we do get more directions.
We finally pull into a Sears Auto where thankfully they are still open. “We just changed the hours at the end of last week,” the young man behind the counter says. “If this was last Wednesday, we’d already be closed.”
We told him of our need to get the battery changed. He checks the inventory on his computer screen and says, “Well, it says I have one left.”
A quick look at the batteries on display in the showroom, does not find this one lone battery. But a check of those in storage, brings the answer to our prayers.
It takes no time at all for the switch to be made and we’re soon on our way to dinner in State College.
As I tell of our adventure to several friends over the weekend, they ask “where were you going to dinner?” To Olive Garden, I tell them.
“You do know that there is one in Altoona? It’s not very far from that Sears Auto you were at,” my friend Diane says. “You could have eaten and been on your way home instead of driving all the way to State College...”
Well, now, what would be the adventure in that?