Thursday, 11 August 2011

A tale of two car owners


1.   I was down at Sarasota’s fabulous Selby Library on Monday.  There is nothing new about that.  I am there once or twice a week to return and to borrow books.

As I left the library I encountered a 50 something woman who’d also used been there.  She had an old model and beat up Ford Taurus.  It would not start. We tried to get a charge with jumper cables from my battery to hers. It did not help.

I am no mechanic, but I sussed that either her car battery was totally dead, or that her starter motor was caput.

It was a very hot day.  I was anxious to get back into my air conditioned care, and to drive home.  Part of me thought that I should drive her to a nearby “Goodyear” service station and buy her a new battery.  The other part of me thought that even a new battery would not help and that her beat up old Ford was beyond help.  I left her, uttering platitudinous good wishes.

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2.   I set out for the hospital today to visit a St. Boniface parishioner. On Beneva Road I heard a “thump, thump, thump” which made me think that the driver’s side rear tyre on my car was falling apart. 

I stopped and looked at the tyre.  I saw that a flat headed 1 ¾” screw, complete with a washer was lodged in the tyre tread, and most likely had pierced the tyre.  As “luck had it” I was about 300 yards from one of those generic auto repair franchises.

In I drove. It was a quiet day at this franchise.  20 minutes later (and 23 dollars lighter) I drove away with a repaired tyre. I went to the hospital (only to find that the parishioner had been moved to a nameless nursing home!).

$23 was a wee blip in the budget of this very moderately income retiree. I’d rather not have spent it on a tyre repair, but the money was in my account and my debit card worked.

But I wonder about the woman outside the library.  Maybe she did not have the $50/75/100 or more which would be needed to fix up her car.  And maybe without a car she would no longer be able to work.

Who the hell knows her real situation? 

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But I know that the “working poor” have to stretch every dollar, and that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats truly care. Not do they have constructive solutions which could be beneficial to our many low income “working poor”.

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