Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Plumbless Depths

I know less about cars than any male of the species currently alive.  To be fair I know less about cars than most - if not all - of the females of the species too.  Actually, to be really, really fair I know less about cars than any human, either currently alive or alive at some time during the past century or so.  On Sunday night, I learned yet again a little something that I had previously not known about vehicles of the motorized persuasion.  And in absorbing this particular nugget of knowledge, the bottomless, plumbless depths of my ignorance acquired a bit more depth.

In the year or so that I have owned by present vehicle, which is a 2010 Volvo S40 that I purchased from a local Volvo dealer, I have never had to put a key into the vehicle's ignition to start it or into a door to open it.  Big whoop; right?  Well, as someone whose previous vehicle was affectionately dubbed "Skate" due to its utter lack of anything "fancy" aside from air conditioning and a CD player, this upgrade is fairly state-of-the-art.  For six years prior to buying my present car, I had piloted a vehicle that was decidedly VHS in a DVR world.  I was happy.  It was happy.  Yet I somewhat foolishly decided I wanted something more - as if I have an iota of sense about what constitutes "more".

Do not misunderstand.  I am quite fond of my present car.  I am most fond of the fact that when I depress the accelerator with "enthusiasm", the car does in fact accelerate.  And it does so in a manner that can fairly be described as enthusiastically.  It turns out that while I am quite fond of my car, I am wholly ignorant of the seemingly benign way in which I had been slowly killing it for the past several weeks.  Or I should say I had been until just about 6:45 PM on Sunday night.

I was parked behind Margaret on the driveway so the Missus and Gidg were going to use my car to go run an errand or some such thing.  Margaret came back into the house after taking the keys to report to me that my car was deader than dead.  Given that it runs like a tank - and had in fact run with no difficulties earlier in the day - I was quite surprised to learn of its demise.  I called AAA.  A young man, Bill, whose arrival had been promised within 45 minutes of my call arrived within 20.  Upon his arrival Bill diagnosed the problem with my car - which thankfully was only that it had a dead battery as opposed to a problem with the alternator or the starter (I do not fully grasp what either does although the latter has a name that at least suggests its purpose).  After running a series of tests on my battery, Bill replaced mine with a new one.  Happiness abounded. 

What I had failed to grasp - being a dolt - was that the sensor inside of my vehicle's keys, which obviates the need to unlock the vehicle's doors as long as the keys are on my person, is not powered by magic or some such other mystical force.  So when a certain someone had - on multiple occasions over the past several weeks - left his car keys inside of his vehicle for hours at a time while he and his wife moved things out of their soon-to-be former home that certain someone had unknowingly placed a constant, consistent drain upon his car's battery.  Being a true genius, I did it enough that I sucked the life right out of the damn thing. 

Kudos to the good folks from AAA and most of all to those from DeFalco's in Chatham and the young man, Bill, whose mission on a hot, steamy Sunday night was to tutor Captain Incompetent on the finer points of automotive logic and common sense.  How good a student I am remains to be seen but Bill was an excellent teacher.  For one to explain something car-related in a manner that I can understand is no small undertaking, I assure you.  Yet he pulled it off.  And did so quite seamlessly. 

Class dismissed.  Well, until the next time.


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