Friday, September 9, 2016

Roadside Assistance

Thirty years ago, I used to go "tubing" with friends. One gets the inner tube of a truck tire, inflates it, and then floats down a small river. There is little excitement, except where there may be a small rapids, but it is a pleasant amusement on a hot day. Ideally the party has cars at both ends of the route.

A friend reported a mishap from a trip after I had ceased to go. They were at Harpers Ferry, where some locals made a business of inflating tubes and driving the tubers up the river a couple of miles. On this trip, one man, who had in his trunks a pocket that zipped closed, volunteered to take the party's keys. At the downstream end, he discoverer that the packet had zipped back open, and that two or three sets of keys were now at the bottom of the Shenandoah River. He and perhaps another couple called family or friends for help.

My friend was not sure what do, but then remembered that Lexus offered roadside assistance to owners and leasers. He called to find out whether his case qualified, and, sure enough, a flatbed truck presently turned up. The driver winched the sedan onto the truck and drove my friend, his wife, and the Lexus the sixty or so miles back to their driveway. After that, it was a matter of retrieving a house key from a neighbor. I was impressed at the service.

Today, I got a call from home: our car would not start. Google suggested various problems, one being a blown fuse. It seemed to me that a dead battery was more likely, though the car is not four years old. Unfortunately, though we certainly must have neighbors with jumper cables, it seemed unlikely than any had cables long enough to jump a car parked nose-in to a narrow garage. After some discussion, I started considering how to get to the parts store on Georgia Avenue for a new battery.  Then it turned out that the dealer would send a truck that could either jump start the car or retrieve it. The trucker hooked up the cables, the car started, and all is well, with many thanks to the local Acura dealer.

We don't know which of us left the dome light on. We've both done the equivalent once or more. When it was a compact car with a stick shift,  I could roll start it and be OK. This car has an automatic transmission, it is not compact, and even with the car we had twenty-five years ago, I'm not sure that the grade of our alley or the state of my back would suffice. No doubt we should have jumper cables, preferably long ones. And I suppose that it will be a while before I get out of the car without checking the dome light.

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