Over on TikTok, there's a 13-year-old pug named Noodle with over 2 million followers. Every morning, Noodle's owner Jonathan wakes the sleepy dog on camera and stands him upright. Sometimes Noodle stays aloft -- but more often than not, he collapses back into bed like he's made of Jell-O, leading Jonathan to declare it's a "no-bones day," where laziness and comfort win out over productivity and stress.
The other night, I left work after an exhausting day of professional newspaper-ing. I was dragging hard. My brain was mush, the yawns were plentiful, and I was utterly wiped. As I walked out the door, I thought to myself, "I should have listened to Noodle. Today is definitely a no-bones day."
I was right. I just didn't know my car thought the same thing.
I pressed start and my car just sort of... wheezed. Chug... A... Chug... A. Uh oh.
I suppose I should be grateful. Just days prior, I was in Fulton County, scenic-driving down roads less traveled on gravel paths a hundred miles from home. I should have been thankful my battery died in the office parking lot and not along the banks of the Spoon River. After all, roadside assistance can only assist when one knows which roadside one is stranded upon.
Yep, I was grateful that day. So grateful, in fact, that I decided to scream grateful profanities into the open air and slam my grateful head into the steering wheel for dramatically grateful effect.
Strangely, it worked. Suddenly, my car started. It certainly didn't sound happy about it, but it started. While a rather loud voice in my head told me to go home and pretend it didn't happen, a louder voice in my head told me to go to a parts store right away and have them check my battery. That voice was my dad's, because I had him on hands-free speakerphone within seconds of getting the car started. I'm not sure why I called him for advice. I already knew what his advice would be, and I knew it wouldn't be to go home, eat a hot dog, and watch bad TV (which was MY plan.)
Instead, I wheeled into an auto parts store and had them check my battery.
"Oof," said the kid testing my battery. "It's not holding a charge at all. Game over."
He then recommended an expensive replacement battery they had in stock, but then told me I'd have to go to a mechanic to get it changed out. Apparently, my car puts the battery underneath some kind of hard-to-remove housing doohicky that's more than just an amateur swap-out. Great news.
Suddenly I worried that instead of needing a tow or a jumpstart from the parking lot at work, I might need one from the parking lot of an auto parts store. Thankfully, it started up again (barely,) and in desperation, I tried a different auto parts store down the street. Heard the same story from them - my battery was toast, but due to the housing, it would require a professional install. Noooo.
"Good thing I'm a professional," the guy said with perfect comic timing.
Huzzah! And that place just won all my future automotive business. A few minutes later, I left with a dented pocketbook but a shiny new battery and a fully powered car that was no longer wheezing to life.
I wanted to go home and eat that hot dog. Instead, I sat in my driveway for 20 minutes on hold with the satellite radio people, trying to order a signal refresh. When my battery died, so too did all my radio presets. When it came back to life, the radio kicked on to Celine Dion -- and let's be honest, I'd rather walk home. But I eventually got sorted and was soon back to my usual playlist of Music To Irritate My Friends With.
Still, the whole escapade has made me a little jealous of cars. Wouldn't it be nice if the next time it felt like a no-bones day, we could just walk into a store, change out our battery, and suddenly have a recharged lease on life? Unless, of course, we all started singing "My Heart Will Go On," in which I think I'll stick with no bones, thanks.