Real Boyfriends Have AAA.

This weekend, I had no plans. None at all. It was nice, and after a long week, it was going to be relaxing. I was going to hide out with my book in my bed and listen to the rain.

On second thought, maybe I’d do lunch on Saturday with my boyfriend. Maybe that. Maybe we’d go out in Saratoga, and walk down the street like a couple, and maybe we’d run into a bunch of people we know, because that’s what happens when you walk the streets of downtown Saratoga.

And we did. We ran into multiple people, and we made the proper introductions when necessary – “Oh, Name, have you met my boy/girl friend?” Shake hands, talk about the day, plans, what have you.

So we ran into someone. An old coworker or classmate or something, I’ll keep it anonymous. 

And so the conversation began. “Oh, this is my boyfriend, Ryan.” (same time – “Hi, I’m Ryan, Janae’s boyfriend).”

“Oh really?? WOW!” With a look of shock and a shake of the head.

I think my facial twitch probably best sums up my reaction.

And I made some stuttered “Yeah, uh, this is him” while stumbling over internal thoughts of “Why is this such a surprise?”

I thought about making some comment – “Yeah, you know, I finally tricked one” or “Yeah, and the best part is he’s real!”

Or just saying, “No, I’m totally f*cking with you. This is my cousin.”

Anyway, the conversation ended shortly thereafter, and we moved on down the sidewalk.

I thought I might be being sensitive – a few steps away, I looked at Ryan and asked if it was as bad as I thought. Maybe, just maybe, the comment was harmless and only noticeable to the girl still trying to figure out if she’s datable.

But, no. It was real.

“’Oh, really?? Wow!’ – Babe, I was insulted for you.”

I’m sure they meant no harm. I’m actually 100 percent sure of it.

But that happened.

So, we went out to lunch. An early birthday lunch with my boyfriend – you know, while he’s still mine and thinks the shock of someone that I’m dating is cute and not worrisome.

And we relived those five seconds for the next thirty minutes. The surprise, the head shake, my stuttered, caught-off-guard reaction. My embarrassment at, yeah, I haven’t dated a lot. But I mean, it’s not an impossible thought… is it? Conversation alternated between laughter and sad “Really?” questions from me.

And then I had to take a previously scheduled call, which I did from the comfort of my car, and then we resumed our coffee date.

And at 2:30, he went to work, and I returned to my car. And my car wouldn’t start. Because I’d left something on after my call, something cracked, something lit – not really sure.

I try again, it won’t start. Dashboard lights kick on, it makes attempts – but no, no go. I’m parallel-parked on a crowded street in downtown Saratoga Springs, and I need my car jumped, possibly towed.

So I walk, sad and mopey, back into the coffeehouse, and tell the boyfriend that during his next break – he’s been on the clock all  of four minutes – I’m going to need a jump.

Two minutes later, after his attempt and analysis, AAA is going to be necessary and I’m calling on behalf of my car, his account.

So, I have this paranoia about loving my boyfriend and yet hating when I need him? Because you know, in chick literature – where all my relationship knowledge comes from – needy, dimwitted girlfriends lead to resentful boyfriends.

Oh, let’s talk needy. I backpacked Europe and didn’t get pick-pocketed, mugged, Taken. I felt extremely capable. But that is something that the mere survival of impresses others. They’re not skills you’re expected to know, so you figure them out along the way.

Getting your car towed? Not rocket science.

“And ma’am, we can tow your car anywhere within 100 miles. Where would you like it to be taken?”

Cue deer in the headlights look. Um. Ummm. Ummmmm.

Luckily Ryan was right there. We’re in Saratoga, I drive a Honda under warrantee. The Saratoga Honda dealership would be appropriate.

Upon hanging up from AAA, Ryan told me to call the dealership and let them know I’m coming.

Three minutes later, “Um, Ryan? Saratoga’s service is closed for the day and they’re closed all day tomorrow… um… Now what?”

“Have you called Albany Honda yet?”

Uh, no… I’m going to… now…

Closing at five, closed tomorrow. So I called my aunt and asked, because I couldn’t handle asking Ryan a third idea.

We settled on Albany’s Honda dealership – get there, taxi home, no car til Monday. Okay. Planned. I can handle this.

I’d told AAA the cross streets of my coffeehouse-location  and my car was just a block away. They said that wasn’t an adequate enough location, could I please give them the address of where my car was. I know for a fact the local AAA office is blocks away and they must know what I’m talking about. I said it was parked out front of the grey church on X Street, one block from Y Street, facing away from Y Street.

“Sorry Ma’am, I’m trying to locate the exact location of your car, is the name of the church ‘The Grey Church?”

I spend the next hour sitting on the church stoop looking sad. The sun is starting to come out, and I’m about to spend 50 minutes in a tow truck. When the tow truck arrives, Ryan steps out of work for proof one of us have AAA. I’m feeling so annoying. The car lights working suggest it’s the starter. Or alternator. Or something – these are just ideas I’d been told in the past two hours.

But the tow truck driver wasn’t having that, he was pretty sure it’s the battery.

So he charges, tells me to start the car. A slight rumble. Little more, little rumble. Little more, little rumble.

“Ma’am, you’re good on fuel, right?”

Sinking pit in stomach. No, of course I’m not good on fuel. The light came on halfway between Albany and Saratoga. Remember my weekend of reading a book in bed? When Ryan went to work at 2:30, I had absolutely no other plans for the rest of the weekend except getting gas in my car.

“Well that’s why it won’t start!” Truck driver is laughing, Ryan is smiling like I’m not going to be living this one down for awhile. My battery is dead, and my empty tank isn’t helping. The driver pats me on the back – “Don’t you worry, it happens to everyone. Hah! It happens to everyone. We’ll get you home. We’ll get it going.”

A few more seconds of charging, and my Honda Civic roared to life as much as a Honda Civic really can, and the tow truck driver escorted me to the nearest gas station. I leaned in to kiss my boyfriend a quick goodbye, and out of pure distracted mortification and by no means passion, bit his lip hard in the process.

Bet he’s feeling really good about who he’s dating today. She’s a winner. She raced home to her neighborhood ice cream shop and got herself an extra-thick large chocolate comfort milkshake. With skim milk – she’s watching her figure before that goes where her pride went.

“Oh really?? WOW!”


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