Monday, July 18, 2011

It's In The Car

Remember my plans to do a little photo op in Whately? Let me tell you how that went.
I left late Friday afternoon because I had a plan. I was going to do a little shooting and make it back to Turners Falls in hopes to catch the hot air balloons that drift through almost every time they hold the Green River Festival at Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, MA. I had a place in mind for my first Whately outing. A vista of rolling hills, Mt. Sugarloaf, fields, farms, and groves of trees. I stopped, got out, took a few pictures, went back to the car, grabbed the door handle and...found I had locked it, running and all extra sets of keys and i.d. IN THE CAR. It's habit, I open the door, set the lock, get out and shut the door. 99.9% of the time I have my boat of pocketbook on my shoulder. You know, the one with my extra key in it. My cell phone you ask? Yes. In my pocket (for once) but, even though I had grown up nearby, I had no idea of the street name. As a teen, I called it "the back road to Whately out by White Birch campground." EVERYBODY knew where that was.
I looked around and there was only one house with vehicles in the yard.  I walked over, rang the bell. Milo the chihuahua created a terrible noise and its owner yelled at him. And that's all he did. He would not or could not answer the door. I said goodbye to Milo and started walking down the road. A cyclist stopped and asked if I needed help. I asked her if she new the name of the road. She was not from the area but had a phone that did more than lack service and run the battery down so we determined it was North St. She asked me what happened, dialed dispatch and was kind enough to let me use her phone to retell my sad story. After I hung up from dispatch, who was going to send out an officer right away, I handed the phone back to cyclist Wendy and off she went. I went back to my car and waited.
And waited...and waited.
After 20 minutes I felt I had waited enough and knew I was driving the traffic going by me crazy. They thought I was looking at something interesting out in the field. In reality I was listening to my audio book blaring away in the car. (I love Robert Parker's Spenser mysteries. I was listening to "Sixkill" before I got myself in such a pickle.) One car pulled up and actually asked what I was looking at. They lived nearby and see bear and deer all the time. I laughed and said no, I was just waiting to be rescued. They moved on. As I said,  I was tired of waiting and called dispatch back hoping what little cell service I had would work. They answered and it happened to be the same guy I talked to using Wendy's phone. He told me he had tried to call me back but the other girl answered and told him she was no where near me any longer. Seems the Whately police either don't unlock doors or were not available. Not sure which but dispatch said they would call a tow truck company for me. "Ah" I said, " I have AAA". He asked if I had the phone number and I said, "of course not. It's in the car. But that would be smart to put on my phone." He agreed. He asked if I had a pen and paper to write the number down. "No, everything is. in. the. car." He offered to do a conference call with AAA. He disconnected me. I called him back. He said he would call AAA and they would call ME back. They did. I explained the situation. They asked me for my card number. I'm a little frustrated at this point and say, "It's. In. The. Car." They took my name, vehicle description, license plate and asked if I had any children or pets in the car. I told him no, just my book on cd which was now playing for the third time. Then he asked me for my phone number. "Are you serious? You called me!" and then I apologized for semi losing it. I think the comment about the bear siting was sitting in the back of my mind. I have no problem with wildlife but I like the option to get away from it if possible. He assured me I would be a top priority because my car was running. (with or without children/pets, wow.) We ended our conversation and I sat down and leaned up against my car. The flies were biting but I was thankful it was a gorgeous day. As I was thinking how fortunate I was it was not raining, a large grey cloud loomed in my direction. I continued to listen to Spenser and beat away the flies. About 15 minutes later "Bob" (He had "Bob" emblazoned on his work shirt so it must have been him.) rambled up with his tow truck, got out, grinned, and told me it was more embarrassing when he had to answer these lock out calls for folks on interstate 91.  I'm assuming these folks got out to make a pee call. Yes, that would be embarrassing.) He opened my car door within seconds. I said, "Bob, will you be needing my AAA card?" He said he would and so I fetched it for him. We filled out all the paperwork and went our separate ways.
I got maybe a mile down the road and in the field was a fully deflated hot air balloon. UGH! I missed it. I could have completed both projects I intended to do in one place. Whately and hot air balloon. Discouraged, down a quarter tank of gas and fly bitten, I went home.
Now I'm paranoid. I open the car door, do an inventory; car off, keys in hand, purse exiting with me. The experience is not something I want to repeat any time soon. It was a frustrating 2 hours. I did put AAA in my phone directory. I can be taught if I put myself in enough situations like this. Have I done something similar to this before? Why yes, once a long time ago, but that time I had my extra key, and my friend Andy letting me know I had left my car running. Of course I thought Andy was yanking my chain, as Andy would do occasionally, but when I looked for my set of keys they were not in their assigned spot. That. was. funny. This was funny. Even the  people trying to help me asking silly questions like if I had my card when we had established my whole existence was in the car was funny. Everything except for the bear.

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