10 July 2014
Yesterday evening, I parked my scooter at the entrance to the Marbella boardwalk in order to meet up with my colleague Alex for dinner. Later that evening, we walked back to the boardwalk entrance and Alex jumped on his scooter and headed home. I did the same, but upon turning the ignition key — nothing. Second try — nothing. Great, just what I needed — a dead battery.
My chances of hitching a ride home with Alex disappeared with his taillights around the corner, and so I started the long walk to the taxi station, to fetch a ride home from there.
This morning I called the insurance company and reported my scooter’s dead battery, and asked if they could send a tow-truck to give me a jump-start. Since I was at home and the scooter was on the other side of Marbella, I told them I’d need at least 30 minutes to get there. Fine, they said.
Exactly one minute later I called Alex to see if he could give me a ride to the scooter. No problem, but he’d need 15 minutes to shower. No problem, since the insurance company confirmed that I have 30 minutes to get to the scooter.
Exactly five minutes after that the phone rings and it’s the tow-truck guy. He’s at the scooter, wondering where the hell I am and not at all happy to hear he’s gonna have to wait at least another 20 minutes.
When we finally arrive the irritated tow-truck guy asks me where the battery is located. I’m a computer guy; how would I possibly know where the scooter batter is located? Tow-truck guy shakes his head and starts poking around, unscrewing this and popping out that.
Finally figuring out that the battery is located under the right foot rest the tow-truck guy hooked up the charger and said, “Ok, start her up.”
I turned the ignition key — and nothing.
Frustrated tow-truck guy is like, “What on earth?”, looks down and starts fiddling with the charger connections again.
At the same time, Alex is frantically waving to get my attention. “What?” I say in English, so the Spanish tow-truck driver can’t understand me. “That!” whispers Alex, pointing at this:
That big red button is the manual kill-switch on the scooter. When that’s up, the scooter shuts off and can’t be started. I’ve always wondered about the justification for the existence of this ridiculous switch. You can’t imagine the number of times I’ve gotten angry at another driver, and had all the viciousness of my mean face and raised fist instantly deflated when I mistaked that button for the horn.
So anyway, it became immediately obvious what had happened; while I was enjoying Maki and Japanese Sake, some kid had walked by and flipped the switch off.
About this time, the tow-truck guy looks up and says, “Ok, give it another go.” Stealthily flipping the kill switch, I turned the ignition key and of course the bike started right up.
“Great! You did it, sir! — MUY BUENO, YOU!”
Thankfully, he didn’t detect what had actually happened. So I signed a few insurance papers, and promised that I’d immediately take the scooter to a service center to have the battery replaced.