Thursday, August 6, 2015

Recharging Batteries

I killed the battery on my mom's Chevy Impala earlier this year with about five minutes of radio play
and was shocked at how many people ignored my obvious need for a jump. I was parked in a strip mall in New Haven on a Friday afternoon and had let one of my kids play the radio while I ran to an ATM and when I came back not only was the battery dead, but it had started snowing, a slushy, freezing, nasty mix. Propping the hood didn't help, even with me perched with my hip against the headlights.

Not exactly come hither ;), just looking for help.

There was a different story here about how all the white guys with ginormous plow trucks ignored me (parked right next to me and avoided my gaze! For shame!) while the black teenagers who had no idea what they were doing stopped to at least offer advice and sympathy. One said "Man, I gotta get me some of them wires in my car to help people out." I'm white so this didn't seem as much of a racial bias as a class and city one; I think these Truck Guys absolutely would have taken the 5 minutes to help if I was on the highway, or at suburban grocery store. But in the city, people with older cars and run-down batteries deserved to be ignored? Or something.

Anyway, I eventually had to call one of my kids to drive the 30 minutes to where we were stuck and then...the car still didn't start. My daughter Cait thought the problem was the starter and I did have some sort of roadside assistance plan but the wait was hours because of the nasty roads and I had places to be. So we stood there together in the wet snow, looking around and looking pathetic  until an older black gentleman came over and told us that Cait's car (Phoebe, a shiny red Kia Soul) didn't have much juice so we had to turn off the Chevy, rev Phoebe and let her drain into the dead battery for a few minutes before trying to start the Impala.

I could've kissed the guy because this worked beautifully.

And ever since, I've been pondering the draining and recharging of batteries, and what it takes to bring a badly depleted one back to life.

From the Appalachian Mountain Club site on hiking Maine's wilderness

Lots of us are taking vacations this month, hoping to bring zing back to our depleted souls after many months of hard work. But whether that happens depends more on who you go with than where. There are some people who--as soon as you get together, or as soon as you pick up a pinging text on your phone--latch on and drain you. They do this in lots of ways--unreasonable requests, constant need for attention, unwillingness to help, complaints, bad mood, poor attitude--and while that's the forte of kids, with adults this gets really old.

It can also ruin a vacation if these people happen to be your trip mates.

I'm lucky because I'm going to Maine with a bunch of really great people who happen to be family so we do this a lot. We'll see mountains and go hiking, go to the beach and get on a boat. Eat. Drink. Be generally merry. Though it's work to be around a large group, there's flexibility so everyone can do what they need to be happy.

And that's the difference between those that drain you and those who fill you up. I don't need anyone else to raise my spirits; I just need to be free for a while from people who bring me down.

Here's hoping you have (or make) the same kind of luck for yourself sometime soon.

Love, Lisa