I rarely carry any cash to speak of – maybe a twenty dollar bill, which, once it’s broken, it’s gone in a flash. The rest is all paid for in plastic. But today I happened to have five singles and a ten dollar bill in my wallet and for the first time in many years my car battery died. I was waiting to find a parking spot on East 58th Street in Manhattan (one of the only streets in this Upper East Side neighborhood where parking is permitted before 6 or 7 p.m. during the week.) So it’s a popular hangout for cars hoping to nab a coveted spot. Once I got there, I gave myself 20 minutes before giving up and going to a garage. That’s my routine. Sometimes I’m lucky, most times not. I set my iPhone for 20 minutes, put on the car’s emergency flashers and read a book while waiting. Mildly startled by the alarm, I then turned the key, only to hear a repetitive clicking sound. What?! Tried again, and again, the clicking. After a few more futile tries, I called AAA and miracle of miracles, a truck arrived in under ten minutes!
The mechanic jump started the battery in no time and gently asked me to step out of the car so he could point something out to me. What an idiot I am! I had left the headlights on in addition to running the emergency flashers, thereby draining the battery. He told me not to turn the engine off for about an hour so the battery can recharge. I handed him five bucks (a dollar for each minute he was there) and we both went on our merry ways.
Keeping the car on for an hour could pose a problem because I had a date to take my 94 year old mother to lunch at 1 p.m. (it was 12:30) and we were meeting her friend at the restaurant, but I decided to ask the garage attendant to run the engine. I handed him ten bucks – and so, my cash was depleted. New Year’s resolution: to carry an emergency $20 bill at all times.
Happy New Year to all of my friends out there and may you keep all of your resolutions for 2016.