Friday night I let out a big sneeze that made my chest feel as though someone had punched me as hard as they could. The pain was that intense. Saturday morning my chest began having this tightness that was different than the usual allergy stress. And, of course, it was the one Saturday that required me to get up at 5:30 a.m. Typically I never mind getting up early, since it's a part of my daily routine. But this particular morning I felt like I'd been hit by a truck.
"Sarah," I whispered. "We have to get up. Your Mom's train gets in soon."
"Mmmph," she answered, burying her face in the pillows. Sarah's Mom was coming in on an Amtrak train that was scheduled to arrive at 6:30 a.m. She was planning to stay until Sunday afternoon, a quick visit to give her a chance to take a break from her regular routine in PA.
"I'll give you 5 more minutes to sleep, but then you have to get up," I said.
"M-kay," she mumbled.
As I got dressed, I noticed that breathing was getting a little tougher. I can't be getting sick, I thought to myself.
20 minutes later we were in the Xterra, hurtling down the Mass Pike toward South Station, Sarah dozing in the passenger seat. We arrived at the station at 6:25.
"I'll go in and wait for Mom," Sarah said. "Are you okay with the car?"
"Sure," I said.
5 minutes went by... 10... 15...
Finally Sarah came out of the station and over to the car. "The train's delayed by 30 minutes," she said. "I'm going to buy a coffee. Do you want anything?"
"Sure," I said. "Can you get me a bagel and water?"
As she walked away I turned the car off to save gas, pressed the button for the hazzard lights, then turned the key up one notch so I could listen to the radio. Sarah returned 5 minutes later with a dutch apple bagel and a bottle of water. "Thanks, Sar," I said.
"Your welcome," she said, getting in the car.
She sat with me for about 15 minutes and then decided to return to the station to wait for her Mom. 10 minutes later Sarah and her Mom emerged from the station together. I got out of the car to help with the bags.
"Hi, Liz!" Sarah's Mom gave me a big hug.
"Good morning!," I said. "How was the train ride in?"
"Oh, it was long," she sighed. "But it's great to finally be here!"
"Good," I said. "We're glad to have you."
I shut the back door and got back in the driver's seat. Turning the key in the ignition, I was greeted with a horrible rapid "click-click-click-click" noise.
I tried again. "Click-click-click-click."
"Is the battery dead?" Sarah asked.
"I guess," my heart sank. "But it seems kind of odd. In my old truck I used to leave the car like this with the lights and radio on for a lot longer than this and the battery never died."
"Do you have Triple A?" Sarah asked.
"No," I said. "I got rid of it after owning my old truck a few months, figuring I wouldn't need it with a new car."
"Don't worry," Sarah's Mom said. "I do. I'll call them and we'll just get a jump."
"Okay," I said, relieved. How humiliating. And at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday.
The AAA guy showed up 25 minutes later and basically laughed at me. Yeah, yeah. As I watched him hook up cables to a battery box with a sh*t-eatin' grin on his face, I wondered what the penalty would be if I hooked the other end of the cable clamps to the crotch of his pants and flipped the switch.
"Ooooops!" I'd say. "It was just really early... I couldn't see what I was doing..."
Anyway, after a few minutes, we were good to go. I was still plenty embarrassed, but Sarah's Mom didn't seem to care.
Luckily Sarah and her Mom had plans for the day that didn't need to include me. I did have dinner with them at Ole in Cambridge, but by the time we got home, I started to feel pretty strange. I was sick alright. Great.