There’s almost nothing as inconvenient as turning the starter in your car only to hear a dull clicking sound. No purr, no wooshing of the engine warming up and getting ready to take you to work.
Just click click click.
When most everything has been replaced at least once in your 15 year old car, and it has been at a higher cost with each new problem, this brings a pit to your stomach. Not now. Could something else break instead? The blender, perhaps. We can do without that for a few days. That’s easier to replace.
I applied for four internships this summer. I started looking for them in December, totally prepared to use my summer to gain experience in the field I want to be in. I’m ready to take a step forward, to have a job that fits my goals. And today I was kindly informed that another applicant has been chosen. For the fourth time. I am so very sick of rejection right about now, of being told to apply again. Why not me? Why not now?
There’s always a big sigh when I tell my parents that Audrey is malfunctioning again. It’s a collective sigh because that means we need to find a time to drive her down to the trusted mechanics, to leave her there all day, and somehow get all the places we need to go with one car.
How much will it be this time? What is broken? Is it the alternator? How much is that?
The two I had interviews for even went well. I thought they liked me. They seemed to like me. I think I like me. I liked them. I got my hopes up because all that liking was a good sign. My mom always reminds me that I don’t know what it would have been like. Maybe I dodged a bullet. Maybe there’s some other connection yet to be made, even this late in the game. But all that effort expended with no yield just makes me tired. There have been other “no”s in my life lately, too. Where are my yeses?
Yes, I have jobs. Yes, they pay. Yes, they give me experience. But it’s not the kind I want. Yes, I can use the extra time to write more, to read more, to see more friends and be freer with my time. Those are good yeses. But gosh, I wanted one of those others to be yeses.
My dad always calls the car fixers to schedule an appointment. When they talked about the problem, the lady on the other end said it could be the battery. Sure, it’s only three and a half years old, but that could be it. Extreme temperatures, something about charging too quickly… maybe it’s the battery.
That would be good, my dad tells me. That wouldn’t be expensive. We could put it in ourselves. Hope rises.
When I text my mom that I didn’t get the last one, she emails a friend who she just remembered used to work in the industry. I remember talking to someone the day before at work who seemed to own a company in that realm. It’s not a yes, and it means I might have to send a bunch of emails, but it could be something. Hope is still a deflated balloon right now, but we might be able to find a helium tank somewhere.
Dad picks me up at work last night. Neither of us have had dinner because we worked through dinner time. He tells me what the car fixer lady said, in more detail, and I – in the spirit of efficiency – ask if there’s anywhere open that we can get a battery and try it tonight. He’s game, so we go find one. And it’s heavy. But it’s a possible solution.
We go home and eat dinner then put on our jackets and shiver in the misty, cold night. I don’t feel completely inept because I do remember how to pop my hood and am able to unscrew some of the screws holding the battery in. I only drop the nut once, but it falls through to the rocks under the car, so its retrievable.
We get the battery in (and by we, I mean mostly my dad), and I get behind the wheel to try it out.
I don’t know if I’ve ever loved the sound of my car more. And I really love my car.
We get all the wrenches and pliers put away, and I take her for a spin around the block. It’s 10:30pm, which isn’t the best time to get your car fixed, but it’s fixed. Not a complete overhaul. Not a pricey, day-long trip to the car doctor. Just a new battery.