At the end of yesterday’s engagement party in a suburban Melbourne park, Chris and I got into the car to find that the car would not start. Even the side-view mirrors, which usually turned all the way out when you unlocked the doors, only turned out half way when I pressed the button. Fortunately, we weren’t too far away from home, and Chris’s parents hadn’t taken off yet and called for roadside support. We found out that the battery had died, which we suspected, and that while typical batteries for this type of car last only four years, Chris’s mother (who owns this vehicle) had this battery for going on seven years now. So, it was just lucky for all of us that this happened near home and with the family present, and not at a critical time for transportation needs. This morning, Chris’s dad called Lexus to come to the house to replace the battery, and everything now is as good as new.
As Chris’s dad explained all of this to me, he spoke with a smile, saying how happy he was that it happened yesterday with everyone present, that this was a blessing in disguise and how fortunate the car was to have had a battery that lasted seven years and not just four. The entire time as he is speaking, I am standing there slightly in awe, again wondering what would have happened if the same situation happened in my own family. It’s hard to get away from it, but I always have these “what if that happened in my family?” thoughts when things go slightly awry in Chris’s family.
In my own family, I could imagine how the scene would have been very different. Even in the calmest situations, my family manages to create tension and stress where it doesn’t even exist. So when real problems arise, it’s literally like hell breaking loose.
If it were me driving my dad’s car (I got shudders thinking about that), I’d be asked… did you make sure to shut off the headlights or running lights (well, that’s irrelevant in this case because with this model, the lights shut off automatically when you shut off the engine)? Did you have the AC going too much? What other bad things could you possibly have done to have caused this to happen? Why did you not see this coming? Did you have anything plugged into the car that could have drained the battery? All of this would be yelled in an accusatory tone. In other words, all of this is your fault, and you caused this to happen. In my family, someone is always to be blamed, and it’s never my parents. It’s always Ed or me. And now that Ed is gone, it’s pretty much always me.