The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Last night and this morning I was presented with the type of situation that would usually drive me crazy. As a general rule, big things don't bother me or worry me, but little things (like, to cite one example, getting stuck behind a slow driver on a one-lane road) make me nuts.

Taking advantage of a rare lull at work, I hopped on an earlier train and got home in time for mincha/maariv. After davening, I slid into the front seat of my new, 2008 Camry XLE and pushed the electronic ignition button.


I tried again.


The battery was dead. 1500 miles on my new car and the battery was dead.

I called AAA. My membership had just expired. Oy.

I renewed my membership right there and then and called for a boost.

It was now 7:50 p.m. They guaranteed service within an hour. Forty minutes later they promised a car would be there by 9:25 p.m. The service man came at 9:35. After more than an hour and a half in a car without heat, I was frozen.

He connected the cables to my battery. The electronic stuff in the car came back to life. I pressed the ignition button.


I tried again.


I tried a few more times and sent the service man on his way. MHW picked me up and I tried to warm up at home. It was 10 p.m.

At 7:30 a.m. this morning I called Toyota. There was nothing they could do and I needed to have the car towed to their service station.

I called AAA again. This time I only had to wait ten minutes. A very nice man hooked up the front of the car, used a trick to put the car in neutral (which I couldn't figure out by myself) and towed the car to Toyota.

I signed some papers and went on my way.

So, instead of being on the 6:52 train, I made the 8:33.

As you can imagine, I'm very pleased that my brand new car's battery went dead after 1500 miles for no apparent reason and that I wasted about four hours getting it to the service station. I did my very best to remain calm and not flip out and, for the most part, I succeeded (stewing just under the surface).

I must be getting old.



  • At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Jordan Hirsch said…

    ya know, when my 2000 Intrepid with 106,000 miles died just past the toll plaza on the Throgs Neck bridge, I had to cancel the gig I wass on my way to that night as I could not get there in time. So I was out the money. Which I need very much, especially as both my cars are old and unreliable. Usually, I don't respond to your kvetching, mostly because I know you and like you. But take a little mussar. I would gladly have traded my car failure for yours.

  • At 12:45 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said…

    ya know, when my 1974 Buick Apollo died after its transmission fell out on the Cross Bronx Expressway, somewhere in the South Bronx, on my way to a gig on the Island, and I had to get toed to G-d knows where, and eventually called my drummer on a pay phone who was nice enough to drive out there and pick me up on a friday right before shabbos and take me and all my equipment to the Shabbaton, and then spend all of whatever I got paid for the gig to patch the car together, and

    what the hell was my point...I forget.

    Anyway I'm glad I don't have that car anymore (it died somewhere on the lower east side a year later).

    The new Camry is pretty sweet, but it has a lot of electronic gizmos that can drain the battery. Do you have the GPS? I sometimes put it on just to get from shul to my house. I like the lady's voice. What was I talking about?

    Oh yeah, I don't think they've gotten all the kinks out of that model yet. Watch out for the anti lock brakes, too.

  • At 12:45 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said…

    I meant towed, not toed

  • At 2:37 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…


    I take your mussar with an open heart. I am sorry if I seemed whiny but the whole point of my post (which I obviously did not make very clear) is that, at the end of the day, it was no big deal in the scheme of things.

    And, FYI, just so you don't think I'm some kind of Five Towns prima donna, I'm totally not a fancy car guy. In fact, I just bought the new Camry after driving a used 1997 Camry since 1999. I retired it with about 95,000 miles on it.

    PT is right, though, about the new Camry and its electronic gizmos. One of them is almost certainly responsible for the drained battery. I would gladly go back to a conventional ignition but the electronic version came with the model.

  • At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Bro!

    You could gave called me last night. As you know MHW is Ms. Fix It and she always has a set of battery cables in her car trunk. As it turned out it wouldn't have worked anyway but you would have known in 10 minutes as opposed to 2 hours.

  • At 3:34 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…


    Next time I'll think of you.

  • At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Working musician said…

    Hey, why is it that the responses regarding old/unreliable cars came from musicians and formermusicians ? Hmm, Might that be because they're not always sufficiently remunerated?

  • At 6:17 PM, Blogger tnspr569 said…

    Indeed, disapppointing. I assume the Envoy is your HW's car?

  • At 8:42 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said…

    I got toed once too, but that's a different story.

  • At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Jordan Hirsch said…

    PT, the Cross Bronx is not in the south Bronx. Back in the 80's, it might as well have been, but that's another story.

  • At 11:56 AM, Blogger Abbi said…

    MoC: FWIW, I don't think you relinquish your right to be pissed off at having to wait in the cold for three hours after the battery on your new car died, just because said car is a 2008. I think the mussar was uncalled for.

    I'd gladly trade no car failure for anyone else's. Car failures suck no matter what.

  • At 12:20 PM, Anonymous psachya said…

    ya know, when my 1993 Crown Vic's gearstick CAME OFF IN MY HANDS on the way to a gig, preventing me from shifting out of drive (yes, that really happened!!), I figured it was time for a new car. I, too, had to cancel out of the gig via my then-recently-purchased cell phone. My bandleader suggested that, as the gig was in Williamsburg, I should drive there anyway, and just stop the car by smashing into the car nearest to the catering hall. (I think he was kidding...)
    Anyway, good luck with your car tzuris.

  • At 2:14 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    L'maisa, the car battery was completely dead and they couldn't even recharge it. They replaced with a new one (I hope) it after trying twice.

  • At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Reminds me of when my 67 beatle broke down on my way to a gig. I stopped at my bassist housr for some refreshments. When we got in the car the key no longer fit in the ignition. We decided that if we really wanted to get there we could fly. So we flew over all the cars got to the place in no time and played the gig of our life!. After the gig we flew back to the car and slept there. When we woke up the key fit again and I drove home. Gosh I miss the 60's.


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