fact 161 – post-consumer waste

powered (or not, as the case would currently have it) by a battery. (X_X) flashback to: several days ago. meredeth turns her car on and the battery and brake light both flash on. great. coz she has plenty of other ways to get to work, and she always has tons of cash on hand with which to fix even the most expensive of repairs on a 13-year-old pile of rubber and plastic already held together only by the thinnest of wire and even thinner good karma. the truth: many many bills all happened to be due at the same time this paycheck, relieving me of all but $18.53 of my hard-earned wages, half of which i’ve already spent on such frivolities as groceries. i was super hoping my car would at least muddle through for another 10~12 days until my next paycheck arrives, at which point, i would have happily skipped over to the nearest trustworthy(ish) car repair establishment to have my battery replaced, my brakes checked, and my muffler put back on, thus making almost as quick work of that paycheck as my rent and student loans made of this one. apparently, however, my car had other ideas. it almost didn’t start up on the way home this afternoon, so i decided not to take the highway, thank god, and instead tranversed the city on its main streets, hoping at least to make it to a suitable pulling-over spot before my car completely exploded. flashback to: last year right around this time. meredeth attempts to drive home from florida but has A TINY SPOT OF TROUBLE… the symptoms were the same. car engine dropping out and then deciding it didn’t want to stall out after all. which, now that we mention it, it has been doing ever since then. i was stopped at one red light early on in the journey and almost didn’t make it, so i knew it wasn’t looking good for me and my battery. i decided that i would give up on trying to make it home and shoot instead for the auto parts store. i managed to hit all the lights down High St just right and even turned the corner onto 161 (the highway very near to which i live) without having to slow down all that much. but there was still one traffic light between me and the auto parts store, and sure as my karma was wearing out, i hit it while it was red. i didn’t even make it to a full stop before my car threatened seriously to cut out, so i quick shifted into the turning lane and took off during the green arrow, thinking only to keep my car going as long as possible, knowing damn well that it wasn’t gonna start up again if i turned it off. well, i turned the corner, i turned into a mcdonald’s right there, the parking lot lead out to a service road that would have taken me straight to the auto parts store, but it was just then, AS I WAS TURNING THE CORNER WITH ANOTHER CAR LOOMING LARGE IN THE ONCOMING LANE THANKS VERY MUCH, that my car decided it had had enough. the power steering cut out, the power brakes cut out, in short, the car turned straight off and staunchly refused to have anything else to do with me or my ignition key. i managed to coast myself off to a quiet berm and turn the thing off before cursing it’s mother, it’s mother’s mother, and it’s battery’s mother. i could see the auto parts sign from my driver’s seat. i could have walked there, if i had thought it would have done me any good. i called my fam(ily, that is) (awesomely functional at times like this) and had my padre come to pick me up. i described my (car’s) symptoms to him. padre: that sounds like the alternator, actually. me: oh. padre: yeah. remember my saturn, before this one? it did the same thing. i had to have the alternator replaced. me: oh. … that doesn’t sound cheap. padre: no. oh. so we head down to the auto parts store, dude says can i help you, i describe my (car’s) symptoms. dude: that sounds more like the alternator, actually. me: ah-hah. long story short, new alternator = ~$80 (which i don’t have) + self installation skills (which, seriously, i don’t have). we left the store empty handed. we headed home, we got my mom’s 1998 CR-V (a honda suv thing with amazing shelf life and a tow capacity we have been previously forced to verify) and took the long slow road back to my parents’ house. my father can do some things to cars, but replacing alternators is not among them, and so we turned to other options: option a) mom’s employer’s husband’s son. wow that was a chain. a couple more people and we could have reached kevin bacon. in any event, this young man does mechanic work and will possibly be able to fix my car. if i’m lucky (not hitherto indicated) he’ll also be willing to wait a couple weeks on payment until i get my next paycheck, thus allowing me to make my rent payment on time instead of 5 days late. option b) mechanics garage. if option a doesn’t work out, i’ll be calling around tomorrow morning to see who’s open and who’s cheapest and then choose based probably on the former rather than the later, since i have no other way to work and definitely do not have enough time off to spend the whole of the next two weeks at home. as nice as that sounds. so at the moment, i’m in a holding pattern until we discover whether or not the near-kevin-bacon degree of separation mentioned above will result in a repaired car and a rent payment made on time. if yes, we may be able to avoid any serious potholes in the road of Life ™, and if not, hopefully it will manage to confine itself to one of those nasty potholes you get after the snow, and not the guatemalan kind. ~meredeth. . flashback: this post brought to you by stage direction.

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