Thursday, April 23, 2009

Time for a Crash Course on Cars

Let me start by saying that Jared and I have become good friends with jumper cables the past 2 weeks.  The battery died in the Jetta, so we had to borrow jumper cables from some friends in order to get it to Wal-mart to replace the battery.  So $100 dollars later we had a new battery + an oil change.  The very next week, I went out to start the car and it was totally dead.  We couldn't get the Bean's cables to work, so I used Jared's car to go to Wal-mart and buy some tougher jumper cables.  Jared jumped the car and got it going, but as soon as he turned off the engine it died again.  So it wasn't a problem with the battery-- which is too bad because that is still under warranty.  Jared jumped the car again in order to get it to the mechanic where we learned what Jared (and also 2 women that I'd talked to) thought-- that we had to replace the alternator.  You'd think with all that jumping, I'd have learned how to do it, but no.  I just sat around or revved an engine and basically let Jared do all the work.

I remember one time during college (I was having some kind of car issue that I refused to take control of myself) and my dad said something like, "Do you just think there's always going to be a man around to take care of you?"  I was totally flabbergasted that he would even ask that question.  The answer was so obviously "Duh!"  I mean, I'd never even pumped a tank of gas until college.  My dad or brother always did it for me.  Know how to change a tire?  No.  Check the oil? No. Understand any of the words a mechanic says to me? No.  I'm an easy target to rip off.  But pathetic as that is, it never really bothered me until today.  (That's not true.  Once I felt bad when I paid way too much to have the car fixed.)  

Anyway, today I got a knock on the door.  It was a girl from the ward who lives in a building right behind us.  This was my first time EVER actually speaking to her.  As the story progresses, you'll see that I made a GREAT first impression.  Okay, so she told me that her battery was dead, and she wanted to know if I could help her jump it.

Um...well, I'm not this girl.  Or maybe I would be.  She looks pretty confused.  

I told Rebecca I'd be happy to lend my car, but that I was completely clueless so she'd have to do all the work.  I think she thought I was exaggerating until I pulled up next to her car and DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO POP THE HOOD.  I walked to the front of the car and stood there staring at.  Then I bent down and tried to feel under it until Rebecca kindly said that there's usually a button that you push near the driver's seat.  (There is?)  Well, she didn't see it right away, so I seriously had to pull out the owner's manuel and stare at it like an idiot.  Where do you find instructions for "how to pop the hood"?  I went for the index, and luckily there must be other idiots like me because I found it listed under hood release (booklet 3 page 34).  After we got the hood up, Rebecca asked if I could help her hook up the cables.  By my look of terror, she figured that was a No, so she just had me stand and hold one pair while she hooked up one, then hooked up the pair I was holding.  She told me very clearly not to touch them together.  (How dumb did I actually look???  Maybe she should have told me not to put them in my mouth.)  As a glorious finale, after her car had started, I slammed the hood down right on top of the battery cover that I hadn't replaced and cracked it.  Wow!  How do YOU think I did on a first impression?  Didn't look clueless, did I?

And as a final humiliation, an hour later, I went to the bathroom and saw a BIG, DARK smudge that illuminated most of my nose.  Was it car dirt?  Make-up?  No idea.  How long had it been there?  Again, no idea.  Which makes me wonder...  How bad did I REALLY make myself look today?


Greg and Michelle Andersen said...

I love this story, Stacy! Don't worry because I don't know how to hook up jumper cables either. (But I do know how to pop my hood, sorry.) I used to get ripped off whenever I took a car in until I learned to say, "Thanks, but I'll talk to my husband about it." It totally works. Good luck with the car!

The Beans said...

Perhaps I should teach Hayley about a car so she does not find herself in a similar dilemma . . . but then how would I get to hear such a great story after my wife herself went through it? Hmm . . . I will have to think about this one.

The Beans said...

Oh, and sorry our jumper cable sucks . . . that's my (Greg's) fault for being a cheapskate.