My car tried to eat me this weekend. Well, it tried to trap me in its bowels, which is close enough. It was definitely a Stephen King moment in my life which is typically devoid of horror movie motifs. I prefer to think of my life as an offbeat comedy, somewhat lacking in major plot developments, but featuring lovable characters, not killer cars.
Last Saturday around seven I got in my car to grab some dinner, turned on the engine, and suddenly heard a horrible CHUNKA!-CHUNKA!-CHUNKA! sound, like squirrels were pelting my car with walnuts, which would have been just one more reason I’d be glad to be moving out of this neighborhood already. After I took about two seconds to FREAK THE HELL OUT, I turned off the engine and the sound continued, which is when I finally figured out I wasn’t being attacked by the local wildlife. Instead, my power locks were having an epileptic seizure.
To make things worse, turning off the engine and removing my keys from the ignition did nothing to stop the problem, which makes sense if you think about it. If working locks depended on having your key in the ignition, we’d all have to become a locksmiths to get back inside our cars. And if we were all locksmiths, why bother having locks at all?
So, there I was, sitting in the parking lot on the weekend at an hour when most mechanics were probably closed, in car that was both locked and unlocked like some twisted Schrodinger’s cat experiment I did not choose to be a part of. My first instinct was to ignore the problem and deal with it later, because that’s always my first instinct. But I couldn’t really abandon my car in this state. Someone could break in and steal my collection of CDS from the 90’s! Also, I was really hungry, and I didn’t want to drive to Panera like this.
So do you know what I did? I READ THE MANUAL. I know. Horrors! As someone who works with computers, reading the manual is looked down upon with scorn. It’s like admitting you don’t already know the answers to everything. It’s awful. But I did it. I figured there must be a fuse somewhere that I could yank to disable the power locks, hopefully without disabling everything electrical in my car because I really didn’t want to lose all my radio presets. I was able to locate the fuse box on the passenger’s side of the main console, find the fuse pullers velcroed to the back of the fuse box panel, and I pulled the right fuse (on the second try, sorry, cigarette lighter). And the seizure ended. Yay!
At this point I wanted to give myself a round of applause for exorcising the devil from my car without having to call a priest. There really is something empowering about fixing a problem you’ve never encountered in a field you know next to nothing about, all while listening to a horrible CHUNKA!-CHUNKA!-CHUNKA! sound. I owned that car! Which is only proper, because I actually do own it. Self-reliance is a powerful drug.
Now let me speak the question I’m sure is on your mind, “Jennette, are you still able to unlock your door with your key fob?” The answer is, YES! By some miracle I am still able to unlock the driver’s door with my key fob, though the same can’t be said for the rest of the doors. But who cares about those doors? After I pulled that fuse I was struck with the terror that from now on I might have to unlock my car door WITH A KEY. How awful that would have been! I might as well start getting off the couch to flip through the TV channels.
I should probably take the car to a mechanic to make sure this incident isn’t the first sign that something is wrong with my entire electrical system. Thankfully I can drive there without my car beat-boxing the whole way.