Friday, January 25, 2013

In the Pizza Hut Parking Lot

Once upon a time, I bought a car. It was a lovely car, with power windows and locks and cupholders and cruise control and not just one side mirror but TWO. This car was perfect in every conceivable way, except for one little problem...

The keys did not work in the doors.

Now, because of those power locks and the little button on my keychain that unlocked the doors magically from many feet away, the uncooperative locks were not such a big problem. Nonetheless, I dutifully sprayed WD-40 into each lock and onto my key, and I managed to get the passenger side working. For about a week.

Finally, after months of fruitless attempts, I gave up.

This was stupid in a legendary way.

About once a year I do something so moronic, it fills my idiot-quota for months, if not a whole year. This Stooopid Move was slow to come to fruition, but over time, it grew and blossomed into what I have decided to call A Big Stooopid.

I had gone in to Pizza Hut because they have yummy cheese to dip breadsticks into, and also they have an enthusiastic heating system.

When I was done eating, I paid and went to the parking lot, pressed the unlock button, and nothing happened. Convinced that the battery in the unlock button dealie had died, I pulled out the second set of keys I keep around for this purpose and tried them.

Nothing happened.

And then I leaned in and saw the plastic knob that controls my lights, and saw that it was cranked into the "on" position. Also I saw that I was screwed.

Knowing how unlikely it was, I still tried the key in all the locks. Not only would the key not work, it also wouldn't even go IN to two of the locks. But it slid into the passenger door, and that was a good thing. Except that it would not turn. That was a bad thing.

Fortunately, I was within walking distance from the local hardware store, so while I called work to let them know I was stranded momentarily, I walked over, and went on a hunt for lock oils of various sorts. I called Dad and asked him what I needed, and he said to use de-icer. But as my lock was  not frozen by cold...I was skeptical. The hardware man said to use graphite, so he gave me a tube of graphite powder. He told me the tube had a narrow enough opening, it would fit inside the keyhole.

It did not fit into the keyhole.

Picture, if you will, me, my hands beet red from the cold, shivering and stress-crying* while I squeeze out graphite dust onto my car key and watch as wind whips the graphite off onto my jacket and pants before I can manage to put the key into the lock.

This went on for twenty minutes.

Eventually I just jammed the lock de-icer in the keyhole and gave that a whirl, because anything was better than the graphite.

And, like magic, the de-icer worked on the first try. Whether this was because the de-icer also functions as a lubricant or whether what worked was actually the graphite dust, I don't know. Nor do I really care. I had managed to get the door open, so I jumped inside and out of the cold and turned off my lights. Not that it made any difference, as my battery was already about as dead as a battery can get. But hey, it couldn't hurt, right?

Of course, this was only half the battle, as I still had to get into my trunk, retrieve my jumper cables, then find someone to rescue me my allowing me to borrow their engine.

Because my car's trunk button operates by using the battery, I could not get into my trunk by any normal means. My car's designers, however, had thought of this, and they offered a handy method for accessing the trunk by way of the passenger seats. I pulled on the seats and crawled on my belly into my trunk to grab the jumper cables. Then I recruited a guy from Pizza Hut to save me. I had even unwittingly parked next to him when I'd arrived at the restaurant to eat, so all he had to do was inch forward slightly so the cables would reach.

And then I drove back to work, locked my car again (this time with one set of keys in the ignition as the car ran, recharging the battery and the other set in my coat pocket along with de-icer and more graphite dust), and went back inside the library to wash off the graphite dust (I was covered in it) and go back to my regularly scheduled shelving.

Mom says I should join something called Triple-A (Or is it AAA?) so that the next time I have a moment of tremendous stupidity, I can call someone to save me. But I doubt that anything less than a miracle could save me from stuff like this. Also I am getting this battery checked, because 30 minutes does not seem like long enough to COMPLETELY drain a battery. Or maybe fate drained my battery because having a dead battery led to this comedic gem. Only Auto Zone will know.

* When I get stressed, angry, frustrated, worried, or feel any emotion greater than indifference, I cry. Also I cry when I feel any lack of control. Which means I cry whenever anything goes wrong. Then I feel like I am a big wimp, because I am crying at the drop of a hat instead of dealing with my problem like an adult, and then I cry harder because I suck. It's a problem.

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