My Day (and its trials)


Happy to have a contract with an elementary school for about five classes every Friday, I jumped in my Autozam Carol Me Lady early so that I could discuss lesson plans with the teachers at the school. I used an umbrella to take the four steps from my door because of the heavy rain. I only sat in the car for about a minute as it became clear that I had no hope of getting it started.

The car is old and cheap, but has always treated me well. I made a quick decision to run for the train station, calculating that I could get to work on time if I hurried. The rate of rainfall continued to increase. I arrived at the train station in a torrential downpour, but at my destination I would have to go with monsoon as the descriptor.

Running to the train left me sweating in the high humidity, but this was small potatoes compared to the soaking from the rain. From the elbows down, my sleeves were soaked – why I decided to go with long sleeves, I can’t say. Worse still, the rain was pouring down my pack so heavily that it was curling under and spraying my butt as I walked. I arrived at the school with a knapsack of wavy books.

The superintendent asked me if I wanted to change clothes before starting conferences with teachers. I tried not to be rude, but naturally I wanted to change clothes, yet had nothing into which to change. I used my few minutes of spare time to drink some cool green tea and prep for the first class. Everyone at the school was quite kind and professional (I like this place).

My weekend schedule included a Friday evening class, a Saturday morning class, my usual shuji class, an international exchange in the neighboring prefecture, an overnight stay, a barbecue the next day, and some potential events on Monday (a holiday). Needless to say, I needed my car in running condition to brave this schedule with the recent showers.

I left the school in the afternoon, hoping to get home and get ‘Me Lady’ back on the road. The skies had parted and I slid my umbrella into a rack outside the Lawson Station convenience store as I went in to buy a tea. Rushing out, I bought a train ticket and trotted onto the platform about a minute before a train was to arrive. Wondering why one hand was empty, I recalled my umbrella. Doh! No time to retrieve that and still catch the train. It is always fun leaving a train station after my ticket has gone through the wicket: this always requires a detailed explanation of why I want to go out and what my plan for return is.

The best advice I received was, “Go to a service station.” So I decided to push my kei car to the gas station. Well, kei means ‘light’, but when you are manually moving the vehicle, it suddenly doesn’t seem so light. On the way I encountered many odd looks and a few people who wanted to help me solve my problem. All of these folks managed to engage me in a way that required me to expend energy to stop the car, into which I had put energy to get it moving. Everyone wanted me to explain in great detail what was wrong, but nobody wanted to put their shoulder into the bumper. One wanted to help me call the station, but I had my phone with me. Another just wanted to repeatedly ask if I had (stupidly) run out of gas, regardless of my explanations that it must be the battery or the starter motor.

When I got to the front of the high school, I approached a group of boys from some sports club and complimented them on how strong they looked. When I followed with a request for help, their faces melted a bit. Then I explained what kind of help, and soon I had three young bodies putting some muscle into the rear. They refused my monetary offers to compensate them for their trouble.

The attendant brought out his fancy battery tester. The first several attempts at checking the battery resulted in 12.00V, which seemed pretty good to me. My mind shifted to how much I would spend for a starter motor, but he figured out that he wasn’t pressing the right buttons. Trying again resulted in a different number which he labeled as ‘no good’. I forked over 5000 yen and they bolted in a fresh battery.

I cruised back up to Edobashi (江戸橋) to retrieve my favorite pink umbrella and came home to do laundry and get some rest. Ironically, I had recently been exchanging comments with a Taoist who was suggesting nothing should be labeled as good or bad. Enough of that, it was bad that my books got damaged, bad that I had to fork over 5000 yen to keep my vehicle running, … however, the day turned out pretty well – I did gross a couple hundred bucks.


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