Lessons Learned From My Dead Battery

tab_sigAlertI woke up this morning, after four snoozes, rolled out of bed and got ready for work. Then I slumped out of the house, in full zombie mode, stepped into my car, checked Sig Alert, a must for LA people, and planned my route to work. I was all set, 405 to the 101, quick exit at Van Nuys, then take Riverside down to Colfax and finally a left onto Venutra to ride all the way to work. Boom! Here we go, I just turn the key and, nothing. Huh, that’s strange, must be some morning dew.

Let’s try again, and here we, damn it. After a dozen or more attempts to start my car I finally had to accept something was wrong. The battery must be dead, so what next. Oh yeah, those jumper thingies. Those all come standard in cars, right? I’ll just go to the trunk, it is got to be by the spare tire. Let me see here, what the H? No jumper cables? What do I have to buy them or something? Where the hell can I get them now?

My roommates are gone cause they only snoozed twice. There’s a Mexican landscaper working on a yard. He’s a handy guy, must have a jumper cable. No? I’m starting to get desperate now, I guess I have no other choice, but to knock on one of my neighbors’, whom I never speak to, doors and see if they have one. First up, the old lady next door, actually I had no idea there was an old lady next door that is how little I interact with my neighbors. What are the odds she has a jumper cable? Yeah, about what you’d expect.

I'm going to have to remember this diagram.

I’m going to have to remember this diagram.

Alright, well I tried. Yes, I gave up on the idea of knocking on neighbors’ doors very quickly. It’s time to just sit in my car and hope some magic voodoo spell gets my car started. Wait, what is this? The old lady from next door is coming up to my car. She is offering to call AAA for me. Is this the sweetest woman in the world? I’m going to go ahead and say a full Daniel Bryan Yes! Yes! Yes! on this one.

Twenty minutes later a mechanic arrives and tests my battery. He lets me know, what should have been obvious since the battery has not been changed in five years, it is dead. This is where my complete lack of knowledge hits me like a ton of bricks. Confessional time, the battery had actually died on Sunday and I called Volvo roadside assistance, which I discovered I had forgotten to renew and it ran out last December. Since my renewal had yet to go through, I was hesitant to call them before my angel of a neighbor saved the day.  I was worried that a dead battery meant that I could not drive the car for a few days till it got a new one. The mechanic chuckled and said he would be right back.

He brought back a new battery and proceeded to change it in what seemed like 30 seconds. And I experience something taking 30 seconds a lot. Then he explained to me that it is important to wash my battery with water on hot days in order to avoid gunk building up. This was a shocking revelation, especially as he demonstrated it to me. I always assumed that pouring water into a car engine would result in much the same way as Rob Lowe taking a piss in Tommy Boy, extreme electrocution. 

My entire morning taught me how little I know about cars, but in a bigger sense how ill-equipped I am to handle any crises that arise in my life. I’m lacking in a lot of key survival skills, I have no idea how to make a fire that does not involve flipping a switch. I’ve never been hunting, hell I’ve never been camping outside of staying a nice warm cabin. Thank God I’ve never gotten a flat tire because it would end up exactly like this. I need to start learning these skills, not only for myself, but to be able to pass on to whatever fruit is produced by my loin. Pretty disgusting way to say children, I agree.

I want to learn how to rewire a light switch, hell I want to learn how to paint a room. It would be nice to be able to re-tile my own roof or fix my own garage door. And it’s not just about feeling like more of a man. These skills could all help me save money by being able to do it myself. What is that thing they say about teaching a man to fish? Ah. who knows I never much liked fishing, too boring. The money I save could be used to buy some nicer jewelry, help pay for a vacation, or in the future get nicer presents for the fruit of my loin.

This morning was an embarrassing situation for me, but instead of running from it, I’m going to learn from it and use it to inspire me to improve myself. We all do embarrassing things, but the only way to become an embarrassment is to never learn from them.

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