So I’ve arrived at Cunningham Park with the group just about to leave on their 85-mile ride. At about the rubicon of my drive, I decided on a plan of attack. As long as I kept the car moving, the battery wouldn’t die so I’ll continue on to Queens, not stop the car, grab a cue sheet from Dennis our ride leader and then head back up to Westchester to find my wallet and deliver my car to Harstdale Mobil, which is where it should have been fixed the first time. In my imagination I figured that I could turn around and do the ride on my own. By now I’m pretty disturbed, so when I make the left turn into the parking area and the car dies, I realize that my plan isn’t going to work out the way I thought and getting the car jumped is not a viable solution because the car feakn’ died WHILE I WAS DRIVING IT! I’m no auto expert but I’m guessing that this is an alternator problem and I’m a little perturbed that this wasn’t addessed when they had the car for the past 4 days. I try calling Cindy to have her read me both the phone number for AAA and our membership number, but by now Cindy thinks I am the devil incarnate so she’s not even answering her phone. Ben, who in the photo is wearing a NYRR race backpack offers to lend me his AAA card and suggests that we ride and deal with this when I get back. Now maybe that is a viable option as an individual, but I’ve already gotten Cindy up to go hunt through a parking lot for my wallet, so calling her up and telling her, hey I’m just going to ride for six hours and I’ll have you come and get me later in Queens isn’t a viable option, unless I want to be coming home to an empty house. So I do the responsible thing and call AAA from Ben’s card and this is where the technology story really begins.
Adam: Good morning, my name is Adam Krajchir and my truck has broken down and before we go any further I need to let you know that I do not have any identification on me nor do I know my AAA membership number.
ACSC Operator: That’s no problem Mr Kraeycherr we have all of your information right in front of us. You’re calling from 310-991-XXXX and we show that you are a AAA Premier member.
Holy crap, I think to myself. I remember in years past when I’ve locked myself out of my car, I’ve called AAA to let me back in and they wouldn’t come because I didn’t have my AAA Card on my person when I called. I remember vividly trying to persuade them by logically suggesting that if I had access to my car keys or AAA card, which were both inside the car, I wouldn’t need to call them, now would I? After a few similar situations, I simply learned how to pick locks and open car doors with a slimjim – I think this is a prerequisite of any solid youth upbringing in Southern California.
But it wasn’t to be an issue this time, the operator I spoke with was a Southern California operator, which means my own phone was used to route the call to the specific region, even though I dialed a number that was on Ben’s NY-AAA card and then she routed me to a NY operator who took down my information, as my phone began to chirp that it was running out of juice – I usually get about 20 minutes of talk time on a full charge – go figure, it means I saw more with less time.
Voila, a tow truck arrives and The Basher is delicately loaded up onto the flatbed for its trip back home to Hartsdale. Pretty cool.
So as blown away I was at how efficient and effective the technology was at AAA, Cindy calls me back and tells me: “Adam, you’re not going to believe what happened at CVS.” She goes on to explain that she looked around the parking lot and then went inside and talked to the manager and the security guard. The security guard promptly went back into the back and came out saying:
Security guard: “He was in here at about 10:00PM last night?”
Security guard: “He was wearing a plaid hunters shirt, over a grey t-shirt and blue jeans?”
Security guard: “He bought two bottles of Gatorade and a bottle of water?”
Security guard: “Well, I watched him pay for the items. He swiped his credit card and then put it back into his wallet and then put his wallet back into his right hand pocket of his pants. He then picked up the bottles without taking a plastic bag and walked out of the store.”
Holy crap! They saw all of that? Cindy asked him if they knew where Osama bin Laden was hiding. The security guard laughed. Big Brother strikes again, but this time he scores one for the good guys. I felt like Will Smith in a Disney version of Enemy of the State. What’s the tag line in that movie “It’s not paranoia if they’re really after you.”
What this told me is that my wallet had to still be somewhere at the house because I never would have gotten to the car, reached into my pocket with my hands full and placed the wallet on top of the roof. And as we later found out, iot was in my office, only it was in a place I never would have thought to look. Apparently, in my thoroughness to make sure I had everything ready for the next day’s ride, I put my wallet down in the bookcase by my Garmin 205 when I had to reach down and charge it back up.
Riding back to Hartsdale in the tow truck, I was inspired by the productive uses of technology that I had experienced today. The perfect storm of personal technology had revealed a great swell of ridable waves of confidence in the stuff that I often take for granted. At the same time, don’t be surprised if I cover my head with a hoodie any time I go into a CVS, just in case I’m back on camera for the wrong reasons.
Sorry Kai. No Osama, but this one was as close as I could get. My name is Cornholio, I need TP for my bunghole. Because after all, It’s not paranoia if they’re really after you. Oh, and by the way, I never did get the cue sheet. Dennis, I’ll leave that to you.