I was in The Junction this afternoon for a meeting, a part of the city which is not far from where I live and where I go to from time to time, but strangely has no photos from me in my Toronto collections.
To rectify this odd situation, I took along my Chinon C3-4 film camera, which I checked to see was loaded with film. I noticed the indictor beside number 14, which is unusual since I usually shoot off a roll at a time and take that roll immediately to get developed rather than split a roll with different shooting locations and dates. But then again, it’s been about a year since I shot with this camera, so I might’ve forgotten about it.
When I went to start my car, I found the battery completely dead. It had been sitting for days (I’m not fond of winter driving), but I knew I hadn’t left the lights on. What would drain the battery? I didn’t have enough time to find out right away. I didn’t take transit to my film lab as I’d planned (Pikto is on the other side of the city) or call CAA to diagnose/replace the battery, I headed directly to The Junction by streetcar, subway, and bus. It’s a good thing, too, because transit took me about 45 minutes, 35 minutes longer than it would’ve taken to drive.
My meeting was in a coffee shop, and I discovered what happens in Toronto when the temperature reaches a record-breaking 15C on a January afternoon: everyone goes to a coffee shop. (Coffee shops in The Junction apparently dispense wisdom along with their beverages.)
I was the first one at Crema Coffee Company, and it was full. (The last time I scheduled a meeting at one of their other locations it was cancelled. Chances are if I ever want to try this cafe it had better not be for a meeting.)
The Junction is full of coffee shops, but after finding many of them filled to the brim, I finally found a mom-and-pop-style cafe with outdoor seating, which was surprisingly empty. While I was waiting for the others, it was amusing how many people saw me sitting outside with my coffee and smiled at me, walking by. One lady even stopped to talk to me about what a good idea it was to sit in the sunshine with my coffee — which begs the question: why is everyone else sitting inside?
After the meeting, I brought out the Chinon CE-4 to shoot off the roll, and took a few shots with my Android before the battery completely died. Yes, another dead battery. But no matter, I thought, I have a second handset and although it’s showing only about 25% power, the Blackberry’s battery life is much better. (Can you see where this is going?)
After reaching #24 on the Chinon CE-4′s frame indicator I wasn’t feeling the usual tension after pulling the frame-advance lever. Hmmm. I usually buy 24-frame film, not 36-frame film. I put the lens cap on and shot off a couple more. Still no tension. I pressed the film cartridge release button on the bottom of the camera and tried to wind: no tension, no film. As if there could be any doubt it was empty, I opened the back of the camera to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. Nope, no film. All those fantastic shots I just made in half an hour were only in my mind.
No film shots, only a few phone shots, one dead phone, and one almost-dead phone. Can’t take pictures, might as well head back to the dead car and deal with it.
I got to my car and called CAA about the dead battery, which I bought from them in March 2011 and was still under warranty.
I was the (un)lucky customer who got stuck with probably the worst customer service from a CAA guy in my entire 14-year+ history of membership. Let’s just skip over him to get to his diagnosis from three battery tests: the battery is fine, check your alternator. He gave me the three test printouts and away I went, wondering if I would stall at an intersection. Thankfully the garage is very close by.
My Portuguese mechanics at the 24-hour garage have never let me down, and today was no exception. I filled out the work order form and put in the phone number of my second handset because it was the only working phone I had left. They took one look at the battery tests, then promptly ignored them by testing everything themselves. The problem? A broken wire, which they showed me.
It’s a good thing I didn’t leave the shop while I was waiting because in the meantime, my second phone battery died. But I drove home in a working car. All’s well that ends well, right?
When I got home, Xena wasn’t around to greet me. She’d vomited on my bed and slunk away to another room…