I Can Change The Batteries
“OK. You’re a mechanic.”
“No! No! There’s a light on the car dashboard that says ‘Maintenance Required.’ Call me a mechanic!”
So goes the conversation inside my brain when one of those little lights comes on while I’m driving. It may have read “Maintenance Required” but in my head it was screaming, “Pull over immediately or you’ll die!”
Maybe I overreacted a bit.
The car is trying to tell me something I know, but I don’t know exactly what. I had the car into the Dealer’s shop a couple of weeks ago for an oil change and to get it ready for winter. They took care of everything, but the little orange light started flashing almost immediately. I wondered why. Everything should have been hunky-dory.
I checked the oil. I had oil. I had a dipstick. It was in place. The radiator cap was where it was supposed to be too. There were no noticeable gaps under the hood. Everything looked like it should as far as I could tell. The only thing that seemed amiss was that the radio was on the wrong station. I doubt that would have triggered the “Maintenance Required” light. I needed an answer so I did what any reasonably sane person would do – I Googled it.
I actually learned something useful – unlike most days when I go a-Googling.
Here is the five cent version of what I found.
When I took the car in for the oil change and the mechanic, or “Automotive Technician” if he is wearing a clean shirt, started tinkering around it set off all sorts of electronic alerts. “There’s someone under my hood!” “Somebody just drained my oil!”
The “Maintenance Required” light isn’t one of those alerts.
My intensive ten minutes of research uncovered not only the answer to the “Why?” but also supplied me with a quick and easy solution.
From inside the car, not under the hood, all I had to do was push a few buttons and turn the key and – “Prest-Brillo!” the “Maintenance Required” light went out, reset like it should have been at and by the Toyota dealer. It all made me feel so basically competent. I was tempted to go back into the house and try to set the clock on the coffee maker. But I didn’t. To quote Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry” – “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
In a world of ‘Me versus Machinery” I know that my victories will always be few and far between. I have to choose my battles carefully. I have already learned that most machinery, the newer ones even more so, are more complex than me. They have the benefit of brilliant engineering and precision robotic assembly. I, on the other hand, came into this world already dealing with shoddy workmanship, refurbished parts, and the equivalent of Commodore 64 Software. My “Maintenance Required” light was already glowing at birth.
With machines becoming more and more filled with “A.I.” – Artificial Intelligence – I consider getting my morning toast the right color to be a major triumph.
When I can sit in my chair and say, “Alexa, turn on the lights to 60%,” and it happens, I realize that my major function in life is being reduced to opening the boxes from Amazon and changing batteries.
I may be the new “Modern Man,” but I still hold the ultimate power. I know where the circuit breaker box is located.