Last week, I had a relatively productive day at school.  I accomplished my goals for the day despite numerous distractions and left school at 2AM.

If I were a body image-conscious supermodel, I would have just gone home.  But since I am not, I stopped by McDonalds 24-hr drive-through.  I ordered 2 breakfast burritos and 1 hash brown.  I may not be very conscious about body image, but because I am an environmentally conscious citizen, I turned off my car while I waited for the has brown to cook, rather than to let the greenhouse gases pollute the air.  Then I got my food and turned the keys… and then the car wouldn’t start but the car alarm went off.  Interesting.  Awkward.  Terribly embarrassing, as the McDonalds lady looked at me with her widened pupils.

I use my car remote to turn off the alarm and try again.  Same thing.  Just alarms going off at a lonely McDonalds drive through at 2:30 in the morning.  I try a couple times, check under the hood, etc. with no luck.  Thankfully since my car is less than 5 years old I could call “Hyundai roadside assistance.”

“Are you inside your vehicle and at a safe location?”  she asked.

“…Yes… I’m in a very safe place.”  I replied.

I spend several minutes explaining that I was stuck at a very safe McDonalds drive-through and give her my information and etc.  During this time I’m getting more and more anxious, not because I’m afraid for my life or anything, but because my phone battery was at 5% and this lady at Hyundai roadside assistance was very very calm and … not rushed.  Thankfully my phone survives the conversation and the lady assures me that someone will be over “soon.”

Meanwhile I knocked on the drive-through window and asked the McDonalds lady if I could charge my phone.  She took my phone and charger, and I became probably the first non-employee to charge my phone via the outlet next to the McDonalds coffee machine.  Then I sat in my car (since only the drive-through was open, the restaurant itself wasn’t open) and ate my burritos and hash brown because I had nothing else to do.  I thought of studying (oh the disease of being a medical student) but I was too cranky for that.

In retrospect, I could have called my apartment-mate to come jump-start my car.  I also could have asked the McDonalds lady or other customers (who I learned start coming around 3:30AM) to jump start my car.  However, I was dumb and didn’t think it was the batteries because the lights and my alarm (especially) worked really well, and because I hadn’t noticed any leakage in the battery when I checked.  It was also 2:30AM and I had faith that someone will be over “soon.”

The person finally got there around 3:45AM (the person for some reason was at the Wal Mart across the street instead of the McDonalds and tried calling me but my phone was charging next to the coffee machine when he called).  But somehow I got in contact with him and he brought a portable battery starter and got me going in 10 seconds oh my goodness.

If I had known that a portable battery starters existed, I could have walked over to the Wal Mart across the street and bought myself one and gotten out of McDonalds in less than 30 minutes.  Instead I suffered alone in the car in the cold (it was less than 20F that night) for an hour and a half, occasionally blaring my car alarm in the middle of the night and ruining everyone’s 3:30AM McDonalds experience.

Anyways, I got home around 4AM and went to bed as a cold miserable and cranky man.

Simeon Koh

P.S.  Why does the car alarm go off if my batteries are no good?  There must be a gentler way of letting me know.