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Goldstein, Michael

The Self-Contained Compartment

During a trip by car I noticed a guy on the phone in a parking lot frantically trying to start his car, a kid really, a kid in trouble, just laying into the ignition while the engine was turning halfway over which indicated, to my limited capacity for automotive troubleshooting, that maybe his vehicle was flooded.

Now, given that it’s superhero-movie-season, I asked to assist anyway, even though I -knew- it had nothing to do with the battery. I asked if he needed a jump, because where logic ends, blind altruism begins and I thought it’d be a good thing, to make somebody’s day, get him on the road again. So I offered the jump which was accepted, and pulled up beside him and got the cables and gave it a good effort, though it was doomed, pathetic really, as his under-hood ineptitude evidently rivaled mine own. Which is to say, it was worthless. And I couldn’t get the brake set right and was parked on a backward incline — or maybe a decline — in any event so I had to keep gassing to keep up the appearance of being idle, all the while trying HARD not to look like the idiot who can’t use the brake, much less get another car started.

And I’m not sure what I did end up looking like that night, but I’m fairly certain that it wasn’t confused with superheroics, and that it was clear to a discerning passerby, even if that passerby were to have been the subject of tonight’s story.

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