Day: August 30, 2021

I Hope You Like Surprises, Automotive Edition

Whatever happened to the human female’s car, the one with the shattered window?

Oh, child, what didn’t happen to the human female’s car!

When she started calling repair places the next day, she found that I’ve tied things up at the dealership so completely that they couldn’t do anything about it for about a week. She then called the auto glass place, and they said they could take it the following day.

Of course, I saw to it that the price was rather “ouch”, but lower than the deductible, so I guess there goes your Cheeto and stamp money for the month.

So she drove it gingerly there, losing only a few tinkling fragments along the way. When she picked it up the next day, the fellow there told her that her battery was–and I quote–“On its last legs.” The he told her that there was something wrong with her VSA (Very Sinister Acronym) and that he’d had to wedge something under her brake pedal to get her brake lights to go off. Of course, she had no clue what he was going on about, but she promised to have it looked at, paid him for the window, and drove on home—with the glowing orange VSA light on the dash shining away.

When she got home, she located the owner’s manual and looked up “VSA”. It informed her that this is the Vehicle Stability Assist System and that she! should! not! drive! without! having it fixed! She called then and made an appointment for bright and early today to, you guessed it, have it fixed.

So that is what we are doing this morning. The humans are both going to drive to the dealership so that they have the male’s car go get breakfast and run some errands. The dealership is not that far from the house, so they don’t need to leave until shortly before that 8:00 a.m. appointment.

Ehehehe! I have, of course, prepared some fun little surprises for them. Surprise number one: The human female’s key fob won’t beep open her car! She’s thinking that maybe the battery in the fob is dead, so the male is trying his. Surprise number two: His won’t either!

It’s a good thing her car is quite long in the tooth, because it actually still has a keyhole. She has now managed to get into her car (glass tinkling and falling), where —surprise number three! some weird little rubber thing is falling out from under the dash and landing on her foot. Hope that wasn’t something important! Surprise number four: The battery is completely dead. Defunct. An ex-battery, if you will. Norns know that if I’d sat outside during February’s deep freeze and August’s pitiless heat I’d be feeling a little punk too!

Cue much consternation because a) they are now going to be very late, and b) though the human female knows where the jumper cables are, the human male has not the slightest notion of how to do it. (He knew, once upon a time, but he forgot. Or so he says.) And, of courses, surprise number four: the cables won’t reach between the two cars because the batteries are on the left in each car and the cables don’t quite reach between with the cars side by side–and with the dead car and a wall of sunflowers on the left of the driveway and a fence on the right of the driveway, there isn’t any way to turn the male’s car around in the garage so they can be nose to nose. Clock is ticking!

Great Frigga’s Hairpins! Are they going to have to call the auto service, or maybe push the dead car down the driveway and into the alley so they can more auspiciously maneuver the male’s vehicle? Alas, no. They’ve now tried pulling the male’s car so far over toward the female’s that he can’t open his door enough to get out and help . The female has fetched the manual and is referring to the diagram. She can’t quite get the last connection on the specified engine bolt for a ground, but she seems to have found something metal and clipped the cable on. She’s regretting the sunflowers by the driveway right about now, because she’s having to go all the way around both cars and duck under those Asteraceous behemoths to get into her car. Which has, finally, started. Now she has to repeat the cable process in reverse, once again threading her way around both cars.

Oh, you are going to be SO late.

(a bit later, and definitely after 8:00 a.m.) The human female drove very carefully down the access road (if something was going to go wrong, she didn’t want it to go wrong at 70 mph) to the dealership. She has explained everything to the Helpful Young Man who came to greet her, then again to the other Helpful Young Man who is actually going to organize the service: check the battery, and figure out what is going on with the VSA and/or the brake light. Simple, right?

(a bit later again.)

The humans are at their favorite bakery, enjoying some hard-earned treats. (You did wash the engine compartment ickiness off your hands before you started wolfing that breakfast sandwich, didn’t you?) Surprise number five! It’s an anonymous third Helpful Young Man, sending them a video via phone, showing them that, while the air and fuel filters look fine, the power steering fluid is both low and sludgy, and the brake fluid is not looking very good either. The battery has, as suspected, shuffled off its mortal coil (battery coil, get it?). And the tires are looking none too new. What would the humans like him to do? A return text is sent: Yes to flushing and filling the fluids, along with replacing the battery. No to the tires. That is a problem opportunity for mischief for another day.

But what about the VSA???

(later, oh later again)

The humans are now back at the dealership, ready to pick up the female’s freshly refurbished car. They are armed with some coupons, hoping to save a few dollars and planning to sweet-talk their way past the “Coupons must be presented at check-in” rule. The helpful young man is going over everything that was done, and surprise number six! he’s even going to allow the coupon. Isn’t that good of him?

But what about the VSA??? Odin’s eyepatch! The Helpful Young Man forgot all about the VSA. Suddenly, there are a lot of Helpful People involved–and they all seem to remember nearly getting the human male killed earlier this month, because they are all being rather overly effusively apologetic. So sorry! Express service doesn’t usually do diagnostics like this, so we sort of forgot! So sorry! We’ll check that out right away! The Helpful Young Man’s supervisor–I think he may actually be the Head Tech–is now reassuring the humans that the VSA light was probably a result of the failing battery. It’s not on now, and he’s even going to take the car for a little test drive to see if it comes on again.

Now wait just a minute! The Helpful Young Man is now falling all over himself to honor more than one coupon and offer them an additional discount to make up for their wasted time. So sorry! So busy this morning! Come on, mortal! There’s no need to treat the human male and female like royalty. I mean, maybe shove some free popcorn from the popcorn maker at them and offer them a place to sit while everything is finished up, but have some self respect!

(a bit laterish) The Head Tech is back. No Very Sinister Acronym light. Nothing failing, nothing falling off. But wait! What about the weird rubber thing that fell on the human female’s feet? The Head Tech has no clue as to its identity. It is probably whatever the auto class fellow used to fiddle with the brake light.

Norns’ nighties! Surprise number seven! (Well, actually not a surprise if you know the human female. She can’t find the blasted car key to get in and drive home! She’s turning out her pockets and fossicking in every nook and cranny of her backpack trying to find it, while the human male is looking exasperated and the Helpful Young Man is swearing on his ancestors that he thought he handed it back.

Ehehehehe! Surprise number eight: The key WAS handed back, and human male has just discovered it in his pocket. With one final round of apologies and oh-no-it’s-all-fines, we appear to at last be done with this merry little adventure. All’s well that ends well, with only one loose end remaining.

Just what IS this thing?

If the humans manage to figure it out, I will be very surprised.

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