Sadly, no one knows a car has a dead battery until one is going out. Needing to be somewhere. Having stuff to do.
I had a list. Errands. Not fun, but necessary.
So when I turned on the ignition and heard that dreadful . . . nothing . . . I groaned. It was as dead as a clichéd doornail.
AAA no longer services the island. (That’s another story.) But they reimburse you, once someone defibrillates the thing.
A nice man showed up quickly. (Hooray!) He got it going. Then he told me I should drive it for a while without shutting it off.
I’d like to pause to mention this happened here a few years ago when I stupidly failed to turn the car lights off after dark. (I was still getting used to the utter blackness of the nights and was concerned, well, okay, terrified, of skunks.)
When AAA arrived (that was before the “other story”) and solved the problem, I was told to drive my car for an hour. Problem: I’d been heading for the boat. “Not with this car you’re not,” the AAA guy said. Huh? It’s only 15 minutes to the ferry, but once on board, I’d have to shut my car off. The folks behind me might say mean things when we reached Woods Hole and my car couldn’t disembark. (Not sure if AAA serviced the Island Home.) Anyway, I drove in circles around the island for an hour and took a later boat.
Fast forward to this weekend. “But I have errands to do,” I whined after the nice man echoed his predecessor. Then he added, “Well, luckily you’re on the Vineyard. Just leave it running.”
Leave it running? My car doesn’t lock when it’s left running. (Thanks for the safety factor, VW.) Still . . . I had things to do.
First, the post office. I dashed in quickly, one eye peeled on the parking lot where telltale smoke puffed merrily from the exhaust pipe into the frigid air. I made it back before car thieves could arrive.
Next stop, the pharmacy. Unfortunately, the things I needed weren’t by the window. My heart pounded just a bit, but when I returned, my car awaited, nice and toasty, as I’d left the heater running, too.
Last stop: the seafood market. The owner stood inside, peering out. “Let me know if anyone steals my car,” I said. He chuckled, shook his head.
I paid for my clam chowder. On the way out, another woman entered. She, too, was alone. As I got back to my car, I realized she had parked beside me. And she’d left her motor running. With no one else inside.
Moral of the story: This is Martha’s Vineyard, Jean.
Warning: Wherever you are, I don’t recommend trying this at home.