Long journal is long.
Sunday night/Monday morning, at about 1:45am, my car battery died. I was downtown at the time, and the castoff rain from a Cyclone on the other side of the Great Lakes had just reached us, so it was extremely wet. I don't have CAA at the moment, but I do have jumper cables. I flagged down some vehicles and found someone who was willing to give me a jump, and that is when I found out that my jumper cables are ...let's say "not very effective."
I tried using several good samaritans' cars to get mine started, to no avail. Around 3am I tried to go to sleep, but the combination of heavy rain, the ambient light from streetlamps, and my general sense of "this is very not a good thing" were keeping me up. So I got back outside and returned to flagging down cars. This is how I learned that police cruisers are literally incapable of giving you a jump, because it is prevented by their on board computers - they monitor battery usage, and in case of a spike, such as jump starting another vehicle, problems happen. The more you know.
Somewhere around 4:30am I finally crawled into my back seat and tried to force myself to go to sleep. After laying there for some time I finally got about an hour and a half of "sleep," before my bladder remembered that it's a thing, and demanded my attention at about 6:45am. I happened to know that there are restaurants and the like in the area, so I started walking. I quickly came to an Eggsmart, which is a decent breakfast place, at 6:51. They opened at 7am. My need was more urgent than 9 minutes, so the hunt continued.
A couple false starts later, I ended up in a McDonald's. When I opened the bathroom door, there was a large black man using the hand dryer on his clothes, wearing no shirt. It was still raining, so I had my umbrella with me, but it was clear to me what had happened. I used the facilities, and as we passed each other by the sinks, I saw what looked like a teardrop tattoo under his eye. I asked no questions.
After getting breakfast at Eggsmart, I looked up on my phone where the nearest Canadian Tire was. My plan was to buy a self-jumper unit, use it on my car, and then later use it again to take my car to my mechanic. The website said it opened at 8, so I walked over, and found a sign posted on the door that said it was opening at 10 because Thanksgiving. I headed back to my car, and decided to try flagging people down again until that time. I finally found someone who had really good jumper cables, and using his cables my car started immediately.
After getting a jump, you're supposed to drive around for about 30-60 minutes so that the alternator can charge the battery. My walk to Canadian Tire had allowed me to locate its parking lot, which was gate-protected, i.e. not necessarily free. I drove back up to my area and found out the two Canadian Tire locations up here were closed, and then drove back downtown. The sign for the parking lot said one hour free with a $10 purchase, otherwise $4/30min. It occurred to me that I was way too tired to commit to a large purchase at that time, so instead I came back home, turned off my car, tried to start it up again, and it immediately did nothing. My battery, thoroughly dead.
I still had my mechanic in mind, so I made an appointment for Friday afternoon. I started my attempts to get a jump about an hour before I had to leave for the appointment, but even with other people's good cables, I wasn't able to get it to go. My battery, really thoroughly dead. Before my car was going anywhere, it needed a new battery.
I told you that story to tell you this one.
Today I decided to walk to Canadian Tire, buy a battery and jumper cables, and walk back. Canadian Tire is about 2 miles away. I'm no fool, so before I did anything I went on Google to find out how much the average car battery weighs. According to Google, it's about 15lbs. I have dumbbells in my office, so I picked up a 15lb dumbbell to test it out. It's pretty light, but heavier than I could carry in something like a canvas bag. Fortunately, I have a pretty heavy duty backpack, with a buckle in the front. My mode of transporting the battery was set. However, more planning was required.
The forecast for today called for a chance of thunderstorms. Looking out my window, the clouds were a light grey, and the thunderstorm had not hit yet. There was a chance I would get wet. My car has a foldaway raincoat in it, so I added that to my bag. There was a chance the car battery would get wet. This probably wouldn't be a problem, but I still added a plastic bag to wrap it in. Finally, 2 miles each way is a long way to walk, especially when you're hauling an extra 15lbs on your back. My backpack has a spot to put a water bottle, so I did that. I also made sure the shirt I had on was a quick-drying one, and I put on my RvBTO 8-bit hat to keep the rain out of my eyes. With all of that preparation done, I began walking.
The walk was basically uneventful. Some raindrops would fall, and then they would stop. The wind would pick up, and then it would stop. I found a blue canvas bag on the sidewalk and brought it with me for future use. I encountered someone wearing a RWBY hat in the wild. He did not recognize my RvBTO hat. Towards the end of the walk, the rain became a little more steady. Nothing I wasn't prepared to walk in, but enough to take notice of. I found two young girls playing in a park, and told them they should go home to avoid the thunderstorm, and they did.
Then I got to the last intersection before the Canadian Tire. And that is when the monsoon caught me. If it had just waited 5 minutes longer, I would have been okay. There was a woman crossing the street with an umbrella, who got blown slightly off balance and had to stumble. Another woman was wearing sweats, which were absolutely a terrible life choice that day. I was caught too far away from shelter, and had no opportunity to change into my raincoat before I was already drenched. Since I was wet anyway I decided to brave it and carry on.
The rain was coming down so hard, and the wind was blowing so fast, that it was legitimately painful to be in that storm. I couldn't run, for fear of being blown into traffic. The rain was hitting me from behind, where my neck and calfs were exposed, and it felt like hail was hitting them. I quickly realized my phone was in my left front pocket, which was open to the rain, and I immediately covered the opening with my left hand, using the other to hold onto my hat - which was not pulling its weight in this endeavour at all, I might add.
When I finally arrived at Canadian Tire, I checked my calfs for blood (did I mention it felt like hail?). There was none, which was good. I immediately walked up to some employees and said "I have made a terrible life choice. Where is the bathroom?" When I entered the bathroom, I found a crappy hand dryer and no paper towels. I used a combination of the dryer and toilet paper to take care of my skin, glasses, and phone, but it was useless for everything else. I went back into the real world and was given a small towel, which I used as well as I could, and then decided to keep the remaining water in my clothes as a symbol of my shame.
Now that I was at my destination, it was time to buy things. I took my time finding the beefiest jumper cables I could afford, and with the help of an employee I tracked down the battery I needed. It has a 4 year warranty, which is nice. After the paperwork was done, I went to move it for the first time. That is when I learned that my entire plan was based on a lie.
While the average car battery may be about 15lbs, this car battery is closer to 15kg. I was not prepared for this. Still, this is what I'd come for, and I didn't have much choice but to leave with it. After paying for my merchandise, I manoeuvred the battery into my backpack along with the jumper cables, putting the new canvas bag between the front bottom corner of the battery and my back, and then hoisted the bag up onto the counter, which was conveniently at DiMono-can-slide-his-arms-into-his-backpack's-armholes height. I backed up into it and fastened the buckle, and carefully eased it off the counter. The bag was holding, as was I. Although more difficult than I'd anticipated, the plan was still a thing.
Before leaving, I decided to take a moment to discuss with the people at the checkout counter how bad an idea this was. I said something to the effect of "I'm about to walk 2 miles with a heavy car battery in my backpack. This is a terrible life choice. I'm going to die." And they did nothing to stop me. I texted Nat "I am now beginning the 2 mile walk home with a 20lb car battery in my backpack. This is a terrible idea. I am very excited for it." (I was still underestimating the weight of the battery at this point) And then I got going.
I made it to the first intersection. It was at this point that DiMono knew he'd fucked up. I decided that I'd rather get home in one piece than get home with the pride of knowing I'd hauled a 500lb battery all the way back. I chose life, and got on the bus. When I got back home, I went directly to the car, put my new purchases in the trunk, and then walked to Shopper's Drug Mart to buy kleenex. In the end, I finished my outing with a car battery, jumper cables, 6 boxes of tissues, wet feet, and no need to shower.
So how was your weekend?