Looking into a man’s head with a microscope

When I left home for Bible study, my sweet Al assured me he had tightened the bolt on the battery connection, and everything was working fine.

He gave me instructions. “If the alarm beeps, it means the cable is disconnected from the battery. Pull up the hood and reconnect the battery. There is a little switch under the dash that turns off the alarm.” (When my purse was stolen, the clicker to the alarm was in it.)

I made it to town, no problem.

After the Bible study, feeling like I had met with God, I thought all was well. I jumped into the car.

It wouldn’t start.

I pulled up the hood, connected the battery. I flipped the switch under the car dash, the alarm continued to beep and the car was as dead as a doorknob.

I worked and worked, trying to connect the battery while the alarm was sounding.

A good soul responded to my distress. He tightened it again.

He said, “The connection looks like someone has taken a sledgehammer to it already. You really need to have this replaced.”

The car started, and I said to him, “I’m not going to the grocery store, I’m not going anywhere but home. Al is going to have to deal with this problem.”

On the way home, I thought, “I can do this. I’ll stop by the parts store and get the part. I’ll leave the car running. Al can put it on when I get home.”

I stopped at the parts store. I walked into a man’s world.

Three customers looked up. I said to the man at the counter, “I need a battery cable.”

He said, “How long.”

“No, you don’t understand, I don’t need battery cables, I need to replace the cable to the battery. Come out to the car and let me show you.”

I heard a chuckle from a couple of the male customers. I paid no attention. I was a woman on a mission.

I took the employee out to the car, opened the hood, and pointed to the trouble. He said, “Let me get the manager.”

The manager came out and I explained.

He looked at the situation, and said, “Oh, you just need an end. It’s called an ‘end.’”

“Do you have that part?” I went on my tale of woe again. “I live out on the Blanco, wah, wah, wah, wah. If I could get what we needed, then Al wouldn’t have to come back to town.”

“Yes, we have that part. I understand, I live farther out than you do. When I go home, I don’t want to turn around and go back, either.”

“Thank you for understanding. How much does an end cost?”

“Five dollars.”

“You mean, I’ve gone through all this pain for five dollars?”

I paid him, and I drove home.

Al was in the yard.

“Al, we need to talk.”

He said, “Oh no, this sounds like trouble.”

“You better believe it. For only five dollars, you have put me through agony. I bought an end for the battery. Please, put it on. I can’t believe I’ve driven through town with the alarm beeping, and I’ve been stranded time and again. When I leave home, I pray that I can get home again.”

Al couldn’t understand. He said, “I tightened it really tight.”

“But it only cost five dollars to fix it.”

My concept was foreign to him.

After he put on the part, I asked him if it worked.

He said, “It was so tight, I had to take a breaker bar to loosen it.”

I thought to myself, “I know, I saw what it looked like.”

Maybe I’ve lived in my own mind too long. Sometimes, I would like to choke my sweet Al, but I need him too much to live without him.

Final brushstroke: It only cost $5. He was looking through the microscope and l was looking through the binoculars. Or, was it the other way around? Who knows?

Artist’s quote

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” — Swedish proverb

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This story was posted on December 20, 2012.