My wife is staying overnight with a dear friend; it’s Saturday night; it’s year-end time; I am working on tax stuff. Things are going smoothly; it’s 9:30 pm.
The telephone chirps … it’s our younger ( i.e., 45 year old ) son, Andy.
“Hey, ‘sup?” I answer.
“Sup?” he says. “I’m at Rosedale Mall and my car won’t start.”
I am stunned. “Your Infiniti? Won’t start?” I repeat as though on drugs.
“Yeah, that one,” he says. “All’s I get is a ‘click,’ nothing more. Can you come?”
I realized within 3 or 4 seconds I’d soon be heading to Rosedale Mall. But I’m hardly a mechanic and I was wandering into ‘then what?’ territory. I said, after what must have seemed to Andy like 15 minutes of deciding, “Of course I’ll come; what do we do once I’m there, though?”
“All I know is I gotta get out of here.”
“I’m leaving right now … see you shortly.”
While I’m driving out there, consider these things about Andy, his mother, and me:
- his mother and I live in the central city
- Rosedale is a shopping center in a first tier suburb, directly north of us and fairly close
- Andy lives in a far flung suburb, about sixty minutes directly west
- I had shoveled 4 inches of snow that morning, and slept much of the afternoon recuperating from that work … I’ve had an awful cough for over 3 weeks
I find him. “Well, I found that Infiniti ownership includes Roadside Assistance,” he says; “They’ll be here about 10:35. They’re confident a jump will start it, almost certainly a weak battery.”
Good news; the bad news is that we’re about 20 minutes away from 10:30. “I have cables,” I said, “Let’s try our own jump.”
We connect my good, thick, long, copper cables. The Infiniti was not impressed.
After 15-minutes was added to the ETA, the Roadside Assistant tech shows up. He gets out his portable power source and clamps onto Andy’s battery, “Get in and start it. We’ll have this going shortly.” He was wrong; I intensely disappointed. “Turn your lights on.” The lights are very bright. “Nothing wrong with your battery,” he says, “the starter is shot. We’ll have to send a tow truck, which I’m not. I’ll call it in, but I suggest you call, too.” He fills out his paperwork, makes a phone call, gives Andy his copy of everything, and disappears over the horizon. We’re as far from a solution as ever.
“Hell, no, I’m not going to wait another ninety minutes,” Andy is saying into his phone. Then, calmer, “OK, yes, I’ll put the key in the glove box, leave the doors open, and you’ll take it to Bloomington Infiniti.”
“So you don’t have to be here?” I ask.
“Right; they’ll come and get it, keep it til Monday, and take it to the dealer.”
“What now?” I ask.
“I really need to get home, of course … but … but I can’t expect …,” he stammers.
It suddenly seemed obvious. “I’ll take you home.” I started the car.
I was looking at a very short night: my wife and our friend were picking me up at 6:30 for church, and I needed to finish some of my year-end paperwork to take with.
We had a pleasant chat and Andy bought me a Mountain Dew for the drive home. I finished the paperwork and got to bed in plenty of time to catch two hours of sleep before my wife came by. I was wide awake, alert, happy.
It’s what we do for our kids, no matter how old.
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