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Small Talk: Assault of the battery

Do you feel like everyone and everything is just moving too fast? I have discovered an antidote.

Just leave your car door ajar overnight and kill the battery. For the next two hours, everything will happen in slow motion. You first discover the rear hatch is locked and won’t open without power. In a Prius, the auxiliary battery is in the rear of the car. You then get to spend quality time searching the owner’s manual looking for an override. Finally, the plumber, who was also scheduled at this time, arrives, and suggests you Google it. You have plenty of time now to feel like an idiot for not thinking of that first.

You discover how to manually unlock the hatchback, after watching a very chatty guy slowly wander through his video. The solution requires crawling in from the back seat, removing the heap of detritus stowed in your hatchback and then digging down, with copious disassembly required.

The hatch is now open and the battery accessible. After lengthy discussion on where to hook the jumper cables, you find your very-well-meaning husband’s old banger of a car too weak for the jump. He is sure there is a bigger problem. You call roadside service.

In your slo-mo time warp, the tow truck takes twice the normal time to arrive. The also-well-meaning technician then explains precisely why he was so late. He does not realize you just don’t care. He finally, successfully jumps your car. That should be it, yes? You should be able to hit the gas and get to work. The car is running, but he spends another 10 minutes watching some diagnostic screen and telling you that your battery seems weak. He can’t know that you have had so many dead batteries in your lifetime, you know exactly what needs doing.

Still feeling like you are swimming in molasses, you point out, politely, that you really do need to get to work. He seems surprised. Holding one’s temper and biting back one’s impatience apparently makes you seem like a lady of leisure.

Remind me not to do that again.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer wishing for cars with solar panels. Contact her at [email protected]