I start by saying that I love donuts.
I know they are bad for me. They give me heartburn, make me feel bloated and, let’s face it, they don’t make it easy to fit through my pants every morning.
So I make a compromise. I only eat them on special occasions. Like, say, the days the sun rises.
But after last Saturday’s misadventures, I’m finally starting to wonder if they’re worth it. I had “One of these days” and I invite you to come take the tour:
9:10 am: Full of coffee and semi-eager to get on with my workday, I instead decide to head to my favorite little donut store in Orland for a quick dose of sugar. It’s cold outside, but I stick to my shorts, t-shirt, and flip flops, thinking, “I’ll only be outside for a few seconds.” “
9:20 am: I arrive at Bill & Emily’s in downtown Orland, order myself a cinnamon bun and my wife a cream-filled maple bar, go out and get ready to go home. Onlyâ¦ my car does not start.
9:22 a.m .: I open the hood and notice the unmistakable sight of corrosion all around the terminals of my battery. I think a good cleaning will get me back on the road, but I have no tools in the car. So I decided, âDamn, I’m just going to go to the auto parts store and get a battery terminal cleaner and a socket set. I should still keep a set in the car.
9:24 am: A guy parked next to me asks, “Hey, need a boost? I assure him that everything will be fine.
9:26 am: Less than a block from my car, I’m starting to wish I had put on pants, socks, shoes and a jacket before I left the house. It’s cold. Suddenly I’m that struggling bald old man you see walking the streets in a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops on a blustery morning, feeling every moment of my frozen 62 years.
9:40 am: I arrive at the auto parts store. I buy what I need and start the hike.
9:55 am: Fully confident and freshly armed with tools, I open the hood – but not before I accidentally open the latch on my gas tank – and get to work. I clean the battery terminals in record time, get back in the car and try again.
9:59 am: The same guy asks âHey, are you sure you don’t want a quick start? “
âNo, I need a battery. I’ll just call Triple A, I say.
10:00 a.m. I have been calling Triple A. I have been calling Triple A for 40 years and have never had a less than great experience. This time, I am answered by a robot named Ursa.
10:01 am: Ursa and I have trouble communicating. I really want to talk to a person to let them know where I am. Instead, I get this map on my iPhone’s small screen, and I have to shoot the little “arrow” at my exact address, which is hard to do when your fingers are covered in frosting from a roll of. cinnamon.
10:05 am: I am facing Ursa, but stunned when she says “90 minutes” to me. 90 minutes? I had never waited this long for Triple A. But hey, I need a battery, and that way, my car will be like newâ¦ right?
10:06 am: The guy who asked me twice if I needed a boost leaves. I’m starting to miss myself.
10:32 am: My stepson, who must share my good taste in donut shops, stops next to me. He was keeping Hank the dog for a visit, so I ask “Is Hank with you?” “No, I have already dropped it off at home,” he replies.
It occurs to me that Hank the dog (who doesn’t drive) somehow got from Chico to Orland in less time than it took me to get to the donut shop and back.
10:35 am: My stepson asks “Hey, need a jump? I assure him that everything will be fine.
10:45 am: Patience is not my strong suit and I have a Sunday column to write. So I start typing. On my iPhone. With my fingers stained with glaze. If last week’s effort seemed below average to any of you, that’s my story, and I literally stand by it.
11:38 am: It’s been over 90 minutes, and still no sight of Triple A. So I’m trying to call Ursa back. Only – most likely because my fingers are still a little sticky – I sputtered my address book and accidentally hit an entry near Triple A.
Want to guess who I called by mistake?
That’s right – Tod Kimmelshue.
11:38 and 12 seconds: Exasperated by my latest misfire, I shouted âOh my God! I just accidentally called Tod Kimmelshue instead of Triple A, or more or less colorful words to that effect. Nothing against our Butte County District 4 supervisor, but he’s usually not my go-to guy when I have a dead battery and besides, I don’t even live in his district.
11:39 am: I call again – Triple A, not Kimmelshue – and I finally get a live person. I am told that there is “no guarantee” of what time they will show up, the original 90 minutes were “only an estimate” and there has been no update. .
“But they are working on it,” I am told. “Who works there? ” I ask. “They are. Hurry up,” replied the response.
“Can I call dispatch and ask how long will it take?” Because if it’s half an hour, that’s fine. If it’s three or four o’clock, I have to do something else.
âNo, you can’t talk to them. And they are working on it.
11:40 am: Naturally, in the middle of this discussion with Triple A, Tod Kimmelshue calls me back. I hang up without answering. He tries again. And even. You really have to admire such dedication from an elected official, especially on a Saturday morning.
Noon: I decide to cancel the Triple A call and go back to the auto parts store and buy a battery myself. The person who answers assures me once again: âThey are working on it. I said, “Well, they’ve been ‘working on it’ for two hours now, so I’m going to cancel and let them start working on something else, okay? “
What I should have said was, “Besides, since the time you’ve been ‘working on it’, a county supervisor has already called me. thrice to see what I wanted.
12:05 p.m .: I call my wife for help which, let’s face it, is the last thing some of us men want to do when we are having trouble with the automobile. She gladly accepts, says she will come right away, and reminds me to remove the battery first to save time.
12:06 p.m .: Good idea. I start to remove the battery. Alone â¦. the socket set I purchased does not have a “deep socket” which means I cannot unscrew the bar that helps hold the battery in place. So that means if I have to remove the battery before my wife shows up, I will have to go back to the auto parts store a second time to purchase the correct plug. Or I could just wait. So I wait. Besides, I’m still cold.
12:15 My wife introduces herself. The first thing she says is “Hey, why is your gas tank lid open?” I mumble “Press the wrong button” and we go to the auto parts store so I can buy a wrench or a deep socket so I can remove the bar above the battery so I can bring it in. to the auto parts store to make sure I’m buying the right type of battery so that I don’t make another round trip, which would make three trips for the same reason. Yes, it got a lot more complicated than it was a few hours ago, and that was even before I brought in a county supervisor.
I’m also thoughtful enough to ask my wife, “Hey, do you still want your donut?” “
12:22 p.m .: We are back from the auto parts store. I have all the right tools and now I even have the right battery. A few minutes later, scraping my joints, I take out the old battery, the new battery and go back to my car.
I also plug in my iPhone, which has my entire column from last week typed on the tiny screen. This battery was also almost dead. So I guess the day could have been worse. I would have hated writing last week’s boring column an second time.
12h24: I walk past my wife, roll down the window and say âThank you! “
And she saidâ¦ “Thanks for the donut!” “
12:26 p.m .: I finally called Kimmelshue back to explain to him what I accidentally called him in the first place. Fortunately, he was very understanding.
The way things are going, I like to think he probably needed a laugh.
Mike Wolcott is the editor of the Enterprise-Record. If you ever need to borrow a plug set or a battery terminal cleaner, he keeps both in his car now. You can email him at [email protected], but it’s 50-50, he’ll resend your message to you as quickly as Tod Kimmelshue.