Thursday, July 27, 2017

How Many Writers Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

I noticed my tail light was burned out last week. I have never replaced a light on any car I've ever owned. But heck, I fixed my washing machine twice, my dryer, my disposal, my sink, and my toilet all by myself (and I only sawed through one pair of jeans in the process) so I should be able to handle this, right?

I was feeling pretty proud of myself for knowing to stop at an auto parts store for a new bulb. I walked in and was greeted by a guy behind the counter.

"Hi. One of the back lights in my car burned out. I need a replacement bulb, please," I stated confidently.

"Sure thing. What kind of car, ma'am?"

"It's a Toyota Sienna. It's a Toyota Sienna LE," I added for good measure, and to show off the amazing breadth of my automotive knowledge.

"Okay, what year is it?" he inquire as he typed my information into his computer.

"Ummm," I stammered, feeling a little less proud. "Umm, hang on just a second," I said in a small voice as I tried to nonchalantly back out of the store as if he wouldn't realize I was leaving if I walked backwards.

I hit the door then quick turned around and trotted over to my car. Yes, I trotted. Because even embarrassing situations like this don't call for running.

I opened my car door and called to Lexi who was waiting in the car with Clay and Brooklyn, "Quick! Open the glove compartment and tell me what year this is! No, it's on a paper. No, not that paper! Look over there. It should say on the registration. Yes, that one! 2006? Good!" I closed the door sauntered back to the store.

"It's a 2006," I declared.

"Great. Is it the tail light or the brake light?"

"Uhhhh . . . It's um, in the back. On the driver's side. It's red. I think. Or is the bulb plain and the plastic thingy that goes over it red? Hmmm, I totally never thought about that  . . ."

He looked at me like this.


"I don't know," I admitted sheepishly, slowly backing away to the door again.

Shaking his head, he followed me around the counter. "Let's go see."

I led him to my minivan. My van that was rocking. I didn't sense any seismic activity in the area so I correctly assumed it was probably a bad idea to have left the kids in there. I opened the door to the 3 kids bouncing around like they were on hippity hops while Alan Walker's Alone blasted through the speakers at ear shattering decibels (or at least the highest decibels available on a minivan.)

The guy's eyes widened as he took in the scene. I just shrugged. 

"Drive the car into the shade over there so I can see which one is burned out," he instructed as he pointed to a parking spot under a tree. "Now step on the brakes." He looked at the back of the van and informed me it was the brake light that was out, then he returned to the shop.

Armed with my new lightbulb, I drove home, opened the back of my van, looked at the bolts holding the plastic thing in place, and realized I didn't have any tools to remove it. I posted a picture of the bolts and asked for suggestions on Facebook. As always, I got myriad suggestions that overwhelmed me so I looked around my tool box and found the nut driver (still can't believe that's an actual thing) I had to buy when I fixed my washing machine so I tried to use that. I was pretty sure it was the right tool, but it was too small for these screw/bolt/nut things. I didn't want to spend money on more tools when it could be better used for lipgloss or cute purses, or you know, rent, but I also didn't want to spend money on a traffic ticket for having a burned out light so I went to Ace to get a different size nut driver.

When I entered Ace, I didn't sense all the employees making hasty retreats like my presence usually instigates. I think living in an apartment now and not needing to do any home repairs myself has eliminated my trips to Ace for the past year so the employees had probably let down their guards. (Now the maintenance guys at my apartment, on the other hand . . .)

Anyway, I found a nut driver in a size that I figured might work based on my scientific method of eyeballing it, then I flagged down an older gentleman, showed him my find, and asked, "Do you think this might work to take off the bolt thingies on the back of my car so I can replace my brake light?"

"Well, I dunno, darlin'. Let's take a look," he drawled as he walked out to my car, tool in hand. [Sidenote: I usually detest it when guys address me as darling, pretty lady, honey, etc. It makes me throw up in my mouth a little. But somehow, old Southern guys who move as fast as Tim Conway's old man character are exempt, I guess. I only find it mildly irritating with them.]


Anyway, I'll spare you the details of the next 30-some minutes, but this gentleman went back and forth from my car to the store 4 times while trying to find the correct tool. He ended up presenting me with the exact same 10mm nut driver I had picked up when I first walked in. See? (My eyeballing method may not be scientific, but it works!) He kindly offered to change it for me, but alas I had left the bulb at home. 

The next day, before picking up my friend Cindy and leaving for the beach, I decided to tackle the light bulb changing project. (I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere.) Before I started, I had the brilliant idea to see if Cindy's husband had a tool I could borrow so I could return the one I just bought and feel better by not having to spend money on some stupid thing I'd likely never use again. Why I didn't think of this in the first place is because I'm old and frazzled and don't always use my head.

When I got to Cindy's, her husband changed the bulb for me. I'm pretty sure he just didn't want me messing around with his tools, and really, who could blame him?

So the moral of the story is: know what year your vehicle is  learn how to do simple car maintenance  keep some basic tools on hand  find a guy (or gal, DeeAnne) who can fix stuff and do whatever it takes to befriend him/her!


D Baker said...

Or just never live far from your brother who will help you out in an emergency. Thanks for the laugh today (not laughing at you, but with you)

Purple Quilter Queen said...

Pretty sure the guy at the parts store would have changed it too. :-)

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