South Park Self

mourning borders

I left my gosh-darned car lights on yesterday morning, and the kindly passer-by who noticed and told the traffic services only did so around mid-day: when they phoned me and I dashed up the hill to rectify matters, it was too late. I got into the car to go home, turned the key, and was rewarded only with a sort of tragic, gasping whirr. (So much for lack of karma. I've made a "they left their lights on" report twice in the last year, you'd think the Cosmic Wossnames would have a stronger sense of justice). Fortunately our campus security runs a jump-start service; once we'd sorted out the communication issues (I said "Library Road", they heard "Rugby Road" and I consequently twiddled my thumbs for an hour before phoning them back in plaintive complaint at their non-appearance) they started me up and I tootled merrily home. The Evil Landlord is a useful sort of person who has things like a battery charger in his Giant Workshop of Doom, so we hauled the battery out and charged it up overnight, and I slung it back in this morning before I went to work.

I haven't uninstalled and reinstalled a battery for years, and kept on thinking vaguely that having to do so now is just what I might have expected after incautiously writing microfics about spanners. (Didn't drop it once, for the record). I'd forgotten how incredibly pervasive engine grease is. There are still black borders under my nails, after four separate bouts of scrubbing. And the smell lingers for days: I lay in bed last night being both weirded out and obscurely comforted by the smell of grease on my hands. One of those childhood nostalgia, back-brain memory-triggers, all about farm upbringing, and various fathers, grandfathers, cousins and uncles, mostly now late and lamented, under various motors. Also, now I really miss my Biscuit Tin. I used to fiddle with her engine a lot more than I fiddle with the Mermaid's: the Biscuit Tin had a ridiculously simple engine which even a liberal arts major could understand. I was in the habit of adjusting her idling speed myself, she had a simple screw-turn mechanism which the mechanic always set too high.

The basically straightforward principles of installing a battery notwithstanding, there's always an insecure corner of my psyche which subliminally expects the car to burst into flames when I switch it on after such an exercise conducted solely by me. It didn't, of course, the engine leaped into life first go. I feel empowered. And, still, faintly, covered in grease. In a good way.
  • Current Mood: calm slightly smug