Monday, May 13, 2019

Jump, now Jump Again!

I typically describe my job as 'cushy, except when it's not'. Of course, Murphy's Law being the operating principle of this particular universe, when things happen, they tend to happen simultaneously. Yesterday afternoon, I arrived on the job around 4:30PM, and the first thing I do when I arrive at this particular site is to lock the entrance gate to the parking lot. We close at 5PM, and nobody needs to deal with some person who shows up in the Visitors' Center at 4:40, only to find out that tours are over and it wouldn't be worth it to buy a grounds pass. As soon as I locked the gate, I received a text message from the Manager on Duty, who told me that one of our visitors had mobility issues, and would have problems walking up the slope of our pre-ADA main access path. I parked my car and bid goodbye to two of my co-workers who were leaving, and walked down to the Visitors' Center so I could confer with the family of the woman with mobility issues and arrange to meet at our handicapped/emergency/service gate so they could drive up to the Visitors' Center and arrange a pickup. I had a brief conversation with the woman, but her family was still doing touristy stuff, so her son, the designated driver, wasn't around to plan their exit.

At this time, one of my co-workers walked down to the Visitors' Center and told me that the other co-worker who I had bid adieu to couldn't start her car. She had left her headlights on, and her battery was drained. We walked up to the parking lot, and I confessed to this co-worker that I didn't have jumper cables in my car because I hadn't had a battery issue in years, I drove stick shift, and I lived on a hill in a city of hills and parked on a hill. Luckily, she had a set of jumper cables in her car, so I pulled my car up to the stricken car. Coincidentally, both cars are the same make and model, so I made a joke about our two cars each giving birth to a new car, then attached the cables. I gave the car some juice and asked the driver to try turning it over. It was then that my other co-worker noted that she still had her headlights on, so she told the driver to turn them off so as not to drain power unnecessarily. I am going to firmly state here that the driver, who I love to pieces, is an extremely intelligent woman, an educated, cultured woman who is aces when it comes to discussions of the humanities- she can speak authoritatively on matters of history, art, philosophy, and the philosophy of art history. I'd be tempted to call her, as my mom would put it, a 'disembodied intellect', but she is well-versed in the practical skills of an earlier time... she can use a spinning wheel, knit, even weave, she just isn't up to date on 21st Century tasks.

She turns off the headlights, and a few minutes later, she has enough juice to start the car. The car battery being jumped, she turned off the motor, right after I had disconnected the cables. My other co-worker shot me a look, and we both gave a rueful chuckle. After all, we both know our co-worker well, and we know that she was born two centuries late. She told her that she needed to let the car run after it started, and I gave her a quick 'alternator 101' talk so she knew how the battery normally charges. I hooked the cables up one again, and finally got the car jumped again. I advised my co-worker to get on the highway and drive at a sustained, somewhat rapid speed until she got to one or two exits beyond her usual exit, then turn around to go home. I also told her to wait half an hour, then start the car again to make sure that the battery held its charge, and to give her enough time to call her husband to tell him to take a cab home from the train station if it didn't. Luckily, the charge held, and she was able to drive to work today with no incident.

Then it was back down to the Visitors' Center to meet with the family who needed the handicap/emergency/service gate opened, tell the son how to get to the gate, then open the gate and wait until the family was exited so it could be locked again. Of course, Murphy's Law being the operating principle of this universe, it was raining the whole time.

Thankfully, the rest of the night was, as typical, cushy. To tell you the truth, though, the cushy times don't make for such amusing reading.


Ali Redford said...

That sounds- busy. It was definitely a Murphy Monday yesterday!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Some days you're the windshield, some days you're the bug. It was a bug day.