Saturday, May 15, 2010

Done in by a dead battery that wasn't even mine.

I think my sister and I have managed to irritate every single antique store owner in town. Let me explain something about the Kennedy family. Any time they go shopping, whether it's one of them or all of them, the event is a minimum three hour tour. A three hour tour. They are excruciatingly thorough. This is a fabulous benefit when you're looking for something particular. If it can be found, my sister will find it. She can spot a single thimble in a case full of antique brooches, Nippon teacups and 8-track tapes at 100 yards. I don't think the antique store owners appreciated her talents when after hours and hours of shopping we both leave the store with a whopping $6.00 purchase.

One lady said to us, "well y'all are the last of the big spenders, aren't ya?" We just smiled and said yup. Then another lady said, "I see you both found a little trinket. A little treasure. A little something to enjoy" (emphasis on the "little" part). Hey, it's not our fault their stuff is overpriced. Or maybe we're cheap.

I discovered that Shamayn and I have very different philosophies when it comes to shopping for antiques. She looks for little collectibles that will likely increase in value over time. There is not a piece of china in the entire parish that my sister hasn't turned upside to read the bottom. I've actually learned a lot from her.

When I shop for antiques, they have to meet a certain criteria that goes something like this:

1. I have to like it. Let's face it, some antiques are butt ugly. I don't give a rip how valuable they are, if I don't like them I'm not buying them.

2. It has to serve a purpose. I have enough dust catchers that sit in my house and do nothing, I don't need more. The stuff I buy will be used...maybe not for the purpose in which it was intended, but used nonetheless.

3. Anything meant to be used in the kitchen must be able to survive both the dishwasher and the microwave. This is non-negotiable and it includes fine china, crystal, silver, etc. My first set of dishes was a set of Noritake china that belonged to my great grandmother. The pattern has pink flowers on it with a platinum band around the edges and I have every piece including the gravy boat and the teapot. If I was a collector I might be really excited about that because it would increase the value of the set but actually I'm just excited about it because it means I can serve gravy and tea. Anyway, that kind of thing isn't exactly dishwasher or microwave safe but it survived both on a daily basis.

Today we cranked it down a notch and tore up the Jockey Lot. This was a little more our speed since the shop owners were dang thankful for our $6.00 purchases. We actually spent a little more than that because we grabbed a flat of strawberries on the way out. You impulse purchase. This required us to stop at the Winn Dixie on our way home to pick up the rest of the strawberry shortcake supplies. As we were loading up our purchases, the man in the car next to us said his battery was dead and asked if we could give him a jump. I asked if he had cables and he said yes. Crap, I was locked in to doing a good deed.

So Dead Battery Man goes to hook up the cables to my battery and begins to lecture me on how I really need to clean the corrosion off the terminals or I'm going to end up stranded like he is. I'm thinking to myself, I may end up stranded, but it won't be quite like you since I'm pretty sure my butt crack won't be showing.

Dead Battery Man tells me that all I need to do is pour some Coke on the terminals and it will clean the corrosion right off. Or I can mix up some baking soda and water to clean it. I'm smiling and nodding because I've heard all this before and I still have corroded terminals because I have a strict policy of never looking under the hood of my car unless it stops working. Right now, it's working fine so I can't be bothered with corrosion.

I asked Dead Battery Man, "do you want to hook those up?" because he's still picking at the corrosion and judging me because of it and I'm starting to feel intimidated by this man whose sweat pants are slowly working their way down his backside. He says, "hang on, I just want to check something out." Then he goes over to his car and re-clamps the cables to his battery for the tenth time and comes back over to my car and does the same. He fiddles some more, scratches his head and says, "hhmm, nothing's happening."

I know less than nothing about cars but one thing I do know is that at some point he is supposed to try to start his car. So I asked, "do you want to try to start your car now?" And again he replies, "hang on, I just want to check something out." He leans in his car window and tells his girlfriend to hand over her bottle of Coke and let me tell you, she was none too happy about it. Then he walks over and says, "I just want to test this theory" and he dumps half the bottle of Cherry Coke onto my battery and starts fiddling with cables and terminals again.

Shamayn doubles over laughing and I'm not sure if it's because this guy just poured a Coke all over my car battery (which is obviously something he's been dying to try all his life) or if it's because I stood there and let him. Dead Battery Man is really starting to irritate me now so I asked, "did it work?" And he replied, "hang on, I just want to check something out." This caused Shamayn to completely lose it and her laughter was causing such a scene that Dead Battery Man asked me what she was laughing at and insisted I let him in on the joke so he could laugh too. I just said, "oh, she's a giggler" then gave her the task of snapping some pictures to keep her occupied and out of trouble.
So he finally gets the cables all hooked up to his satisfaction but still doesn't make a move toward the driver's seat so I asked, "do you want to try to start your car now?" And he replied, "hang on, I just want to....". By this time I was at the end of a rope I never had in the first place. I interrupted him and said, "oh dear, I think our ice cream is going to melt before we get it home." We had no ice cream, this was a blatant lie that I still feel absolutely no remorse over. Melted ice cream was obviously something Dead Battery Man was strongly against because he quickly hopped in his car, turned the key and we heard nothing but a click.

Dead Battery Man waddled back over to my car and said he had a feeling from the beginning that it wasn't a battery problem because he didn't see any of the sparking you sometimes see when you hook up the cables. Jumper cables, and electricity in general, scare me. I made sure to stand at least 10 feet behind this guy and away from our cars this whole time. In an effort to continue to educate me about my car battery, he unhooks the cables from my car and walks up right beside me thanks to the special 50-foot long cables he has that are only available to car battery superheroes who travel the world fighting against evil terminal corrosion. Then he whacks both the clamps together and says, "see? If my battery had any juice at all we'd be seeing sparks."

The only thing I could think to say in response, which thankfully I didn't say out loud, was, "maybe you shouldn't have used *Cherry* Coke."


donnaj said...

dead battery man was actually "dead starter guy" that's why he saw no sparks. i know a few things-for instance when you hook up the cables WRONG cause you're not paying attention-even on a riding mower, you will A)see smoke coming from cables and B)kill a battery. just ask Gary. i got to witness that today~

Shannon said...

Fun times! I have an unreasonable fear of jumper cables and car batteries and really electricity in general.