Blame it on Costco

Today I wrote 116 words on my nov­el, bring­ing me to a total of 6,967 words. I fell rather far short of my dai­ly goal. I could spend some time try­ing to catch up before mid­night, but I think I’d rather tell you the story.

I did­n’t do my writ­ing (or any oth­er work) today because I have a Cost­co membership.

This may not make a lot of sense, so I will explain fur­ther. In addi­tion to my Cost­co mem­ber­ship, I have a friend who has a car that has been hav­ing trou­ble start­ing recent­ly. He want­ed to get a bat­tery from Cost­co, where the car bat­ter­ies are inex­pen­sive and report­ed­ly very good. He and I have a sort of sym­bi­ot­ic arrange­ment; he has a car, I have a Cost­co mem­ber­ship. The Cost­co mem­ber­ship encour­ages me to buy things in the sorts of quan­ti­ties that I can­not car­ry on the motor­cy­cle. Per­haps the bet­ter way to explain the rela­tion­ship is that he does not have a Cost­co mem­ber­ship, and I do not own a car.

So I was hap­py to make the trip down to San Lean­dro so that we could walk into Cost­co with me flash­ing my mem­ber­ship card at the door. All was going great until we dis­cov­ered that among the bat­ter­ies that Cost­co had for sale, the kind that go into my friend’s Mal­ibu is not one.

So we went from Cost­co over to Wal-Mart, which is very near the Cost­co. At this point I was no longer need­ed for the exer­cise. No one needs a $150 mem­ber­ship card to buy car bat­ter­ies at Wal-Mart. But we were already in San Lean­dro and — this point is impor­tant to the sto­ry — the car was real­ly hav­ing trou­ble start­ing. Get­ting the bat­tery was real­ly real­ly important.

Odd­ly enough, Wal-Mart also did not have any bat­ter­ies for a Chevy Mal­ibu in stock. Weird, huh? So at that point we gave up. My friend decid­ed he’d just get one of the expen­sive bat­ter­ies from O’Reil­ly or Auto­Zone. We left Wal-Mart with­out buy­ing any­thing and got in the car. My friend turned the key.

Noth­ing happened.

Well, some­thing hap­pened, but that some­thing was not the car actu­al­ly start­ing. The starter turned over, sort of. And then it almost turned over. And then it did­n’t even try to turn over.

We asked a good samar­i­tan (who I don’t think was an actu­al Samar­i­tan) to help by jump­start­ing the car. And you may have guessed by this point that jump­start­ing did­n’t work. It got dark and there were phone calls made to my friend’s house­mate to look at the shop man­u­als to try and diag­nose the prob­lem. A flash­light was pur­chased from Wal-Mart and a mul­ti­me­ter was pur­chased from Home Depot so that repair could be made there in the park­ing lot of the Wal-Mart in San Leandro.

After it became clear that the starter actu­al­ly needs replac­ing (and the bat­tery appears to be fine, so it’s a good thing we did­n’t find the right bat­tery any­way) a tow com­pa­ny was called. As my friend put it, he paid $85 for the priv­i­lege of replac­ing the starter in his own dri­ve­way. I think the priv­i­lege of doing the repair dur­ing day­light with his own tools and where he is only a few blocks away from an auto parts store are also prob­a­bly upsides.

We arrived back at my friend’s house a lit­tle after nine pm, both hun­gry and tired. And with­out a car to go and pick up food. I made a trip to a near­by taco truck for a cou­ple of bur­ri­tos and brought them back on the motor­cy­cle. By the time din­ner was done with, I had a choice: I could put some more time into writ­ing my nov­el, or I could write up my excuse for not writ­ing my nov­el. You know how this sto­ry ends.

Judg­ing by the length of this post, I only would have got­ten anoth­er 650 words in any­way. I’ll go back at it tomorrow.

One Reply to “Blame it on Costco”

  1. Lemon­ade
    You could put a ver­sion of this sto­ry in your book! Include Kit­tery’s bemuse­ment at being in a car that’s get­ting loaded onto a flatbed truck.

    It was actu­al­ly a good thing that nei­ther Cost­co nor Wal-Mart had bat­ter­ies, or I would have laid down $85 or so only to still be strand­ed and *still* have to pay for the tow and the starter.

    It was an adven­ture, and we watched a lit­tle clas­sic Doc­tor Who on the iPod while wait­ing for the tow truck: a sto­ry arc that start­ed with the TARDIS immo­bile and in need of a dimen­sion­al jump start.

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