how one little part is integral in making a vehicle run? Ray and I had a small near-meltdown this morning when he suddenly died at the post office - in the drive-through mailbox lane. I deposited my envelopes and as I pulled forward, he went slower... slower... slower and then refused to move at all. When I tried to restart Ray's engine, all I heard was click, click, click. After a momentary wave of panic - and flash of deja vu to my dead twelve-year-old Expedition a couple of years ago, I took a deep breath and calmed down. This is not the worst thing that has ever happened to me, I thought. Not by a long shot.
Fortunately, I have AAA and I called them for assistance. After a fashion, that is. My cell phone, which I rarely use, was not cooperating and the AAA lady hung up on me three times because she couldn't hear me. I finally got through and then the
idiots people who had begun to congregate behind me started honking and yelling obscenities at me and poor, dead Ray. I mean, honestly, do you really think anyone would actually choose to block traffic at the exit of a one-lane postal drop off? A nice man did try to help me before the tow truck arrived, but he determined that it was probably the alternator and that I did indeed need a professional's help. I also called Ariela, bless her heart, who came and picked me up and we followed the tow truck to her husband's friend's garage. Jose said he'd check it out and to come back in an hour. We retired to the nearby Burger King for a chat and a mango smoothie - so the morning wasn't a total loss. After picking up Baby at the preschool, we check backed with the garage; it was indeed a worn-out alternator. And praise be to heaven, the battery was fine!
Payroll and piles of old files awaited me at the Tortilleria - my new weekly venture away from my cozy home office - so Ariela dropped me off. The mechanic said that Ray would be ready by three, so it gave me a few hours to get some work done and find a ride to pick up my little SUV. After sweltering for four hours in a small, poorly ventilated room with several tortilla ovens and conveyors operating around the corner, I finally threw in the towel and called Richard to hitch a ride to pick up good, old, trusty Ray the Isuzu Rodeo. A few minutes later, I saw his mini-van outside and off we went. By the time I got home, I was hot, worn out and $200 poorer, but Ray was running like a champ. His alternator worked fine for ten years - or at least for the last two he's been with me, so it was just time for a new one. Years ago, I would have freaked out at the sort of day I had today - but I've learned to be thankful for small things. Today I was grateful for AAA, for my friends who were willing to give of their time and gas, and for being able to afford an emergency car repair. Life is good.