Another week, another audition trip to the big apple. But this time I was also heading to Baltimore to sing some concerts afterward, so I needed to drive. That meant I needed a car. Now, we have two cars, but neither of them particularly work very well. One of them is full of dents, shakes like a mother if you take it above 35 mph, and the headlights don't work. That's the good one. That's the one I had to leave for Simone to use while I was away. The other one didn't work at all.
It worked once upon a time, but ever since we moved and towed it up to Vermont, it just hasn't started. I figured probably the battery was dead, so I jumped it with the other car, and it started right up. I let it run for about 15 minutes and then turned it off. Dead. Wouldn't start. I jumped it again and decided to drive it around a bit to really charge up the battery. I took it out and drove it to the store. When I turned it off, once again it just wouldn't start again. Luckily I have a portable battery jumper, so I used that to start the car again.
This time, when I was driving home, every 20 seconds or so all the lights would dim, the needles would all start to fall on the gauges, and the car would sputter, and then everything would kick back in. This was not good, but I didn't really know what to do about it, so I ignored it. That brought me to the morning I was supposed to drive to New York. I was packing up the car, wondering if I would make it, when out of the blue, my brother-in-law the mechanic called and said he was half a mile down the road from us (he lives and hour away) and did our cars need fixing? Thank you God.
He checked everything out. The alternator was fine, the battery was charging, the fuses looked good, but every time we jumped the car and then turned it off, it would totally die. Wouldn't even turn over without being jumped again. I didn't really have a choice at this point, as I was late already, so I thanked him for his time, re-jumped the car, and headed off in the car. All I had to do, I realized, was get to New York without ever turning off the engine.
My first stop was the dry cleaners to pick up my audition suit. I had a spare car key in my wallet, so I left the car running, locked the doors, ran in, grabbed my clothes, and got back with no problems. I was filled with hope that I might actually pull this off. I drove for another hour, stopped to get a snack at McDonalds, and once again locked the running car and I dashed in and out. Ha, I thought to myself, turning off the car is for suckers! I am saving so much time by not ever having to turn the key or start the engine!
One large Coke and two hours later I suddenly needed a pit stop. It was around this time that I realized the car was almost out of gas. Uh oh. I started wondering if the car really would blow up if I left it running as I filled the tank with highly explosive gasoline. I pulled up to the pump, still debating my next move, when I had a thought. During all of my testing earlier, the car had only died when I had turned everything off and removed the key, not when I cut the engine out. I sprung into action, turning on the headlights, the radio, the wipers, and anything else I could find. I turned the engine off and filled the gas tank. When I got back in, the car started just fine. Success! I am a genius!
I drove the rest of the way to New York without incident, and once again had the best audition of my life, even better than the LAST best audition of my life. When I got in the car, almost 24 hours after having turned it off, it once again started like a dream, with no problems. I have two theories on this. One, perhaps the battery was so low it required a very long drive to really get it charged again. Two, perhaps I am magic and I fix cars just by sitting in them. There might be a third option as well, but I haven't thought of it. Regardless, the car has been working fine ever since, so fingers crossed and knock on wood! I still have to drive it back to Vermont!