My trusty Lexus wouldn’t start this afternoon. It just said, “click.” I said, “shit.” And it said, “click” again. I didn’t think I needed to say anything else.
The problem began a couple of weeks ago. It would say “click,” but then it would say, “vroom!” Then the problem went away for a while. It happened again last Friday and the battery connections got a thorough cleaning. It started perfectly for almost a week, until today. Shit.
Both times it said “click” this evening, a jump-starter got the car to go again. So I hope it’s just the battery. But the battery was brand new last August. The starter was brand new in 2011. And even if all it needs is a new battery, I’ve got appointments tomorrow. I’ve got a trip to northern California in a week. It’s gonna be a while before I stop dreading the “click” when I turn the key.
I hate car trouble. It makes me nervous. It makes me use bad language. It makes me question the material efficacy of the universe.
I was telling my Dad this afternoon that together we’ve been dealing with this sort of thing periodically for 38 years, when I was 16 and he was 45. Now I’m 54 and he’s 82, and having a car that won’t start and might cost anywhere from $0 to $1200 to fix still takes pretty much the same mental and emotional toll on me as it did then. (Though in 1977 $1200 would buy a lot more of a car than a starter.)
He said, “it’s an inconvenience.” And he’s right. It’s an inconvenience, not a problem and it’s absolutely vital to modern human sanity to be able to recognize the difference. But I prefer to the term, “manifest and unsettling pain in the ass.”
By the way, can anybody explain to me what evil possessed the Toyota engineers, that they put the starter under the engine’s manifold? Pernicious plot, I say.
I need a new battery, I might need a good and honest and not-to-expensive mechanic, and I probably need at least 50 minutes with a good psychiatrist.
F–kin’ Click, is my point.