You know when you’re sitting at Peet’s Coffee somewhere, letting the caffeine filter into your bloodstream, as you slowly reach equilibrium and can begin your day, and then you are rudely shaken from this near perfect scenario because some bozo can’t turn off his car alarm, and his car alarm is right next to your outdoor table?
We just wanted to go swimming this morning, and then Chuck’s car battery died in the parking lot of the aquatic center (far away in the East Bay), with very little warning, and all we wanted after swimming was to go to Peet’s.
But we couldn’t go to Peet’s because we had to wait for the AAA Jump Start Guy, who arrived an hour later, and did his thing and drove away, without realizing that the operation had also jump started the after market alarm system, which was never going to stop, ever, because Chuck’s battery in his fob had died, and you can’t call AAA to jump start that, you have to drive around town until you can find a place that sells batteries.
If you’re in this particular town in the East Bay, you have to drive for several minutes at a time between traffic signals. Only at a red traffic signal are you safe, because the alarm stops functioning then, to give car thieves a break and to keep the fight fair. Only when the car is in motion does the alarm sound again.
When you drive with a car alarm sounding, you get the sense that you are irritating to other drivers, unless you a car thief. Probably then you don’t care. There is no way you can hide in these situations, even if you are high up in an SUV, because everyone else is in an SUV, too, so they are eye level with you, and they can look you straight in the eye and stare at you as if to say that they think you are a terrible person.
I thought the best thing to do was to sit in the passenger seat and pretend like I wasn’t noticing the disruption, maybe tap my fingers on the door to the beat, to give the appearance that this was enjoyable.
I thought this was funny in the beginning, especially when the lady in front of us jumped around in her seat and shoved her fist in the air at us to express discomfort. I wondered if she might call the police to alert them of this possibly stolen vehicle cruising down the avenues of this East Bay town, and then I wondered what we would say when stopped. Would the officer be able to stop the alarm? Probably not, I reasoned, because after several blocks of this, I realized that we might never get pulled over, because no human on this planet would be able to willingly withstand the volume, with the exception of car thieves, probably because by now they are all hard of hearing and don’t care anymore.
When we pulled into the Peet’s Coffee parking lot, I was conflicted with emotions. Would the coffee taste nearly as good with this pulsing beeping bouncing off of my ear drums? Would we even get service? Or, if we did, would the caffeine cause further harm to my slowly eroding brain neurons and synapses? Would I collapse into convulsions?
There would be no answer to this, as Chuck drove straight past Peet’s to the Home Depot at the other end of the parking lot, several miles long. I sat in the front seat of the car, to ward of potential thieves who might hear the alarm as a call of the wild, paralyzed from the sound, unable to think complete thoughts, wondering when this nightmare would end.
He soon returned with a battery for his key fob. I do like that word, “fob.” Where the heck does that come from.
With a press of the button, we were enveloped in silence, and I haven’t heard much of anything since. Did you say something?