Clearing the Codes

finally legal
Reader, it's a good thing I declared a sabbatical, because I spent every kid-free moment last week trying to get Husband's car to pass the smog test so we could get license plates.

Have you been to a car fix-it shop lately? I confess, I have not. But Husband was in a pinch for time this week, so I said I'd take care of it. I had no idea what I was committing to, but soon found out.

Did you know they can plug a little gadget into your car and read the codes generated by the little gadget to find out what's wrong? So, I took the car and waited while the mechanic plugged it in. He soon began saying things like "We a got a evap system code here could be the gas cap but there's so much rust on this vehicle it might be something more serious I have no idea how those guys in the midwest can do this job - sheesh! the rust! -  and then we a got a code for the ABS and this one here's the clutch y'know that sound the car makes? hear that? that's metal on metal know what I mean I mean that's not gonna last much longer not with that sound but I do whatever the bare minimum is to get you past the smog check okay?"

I looked at him about like he would look at me if I had just tried to explain how to write a sestina.

After each round of repairs (yes, there were multiple rounds) I had to take the car out and drive it around for 50 miles to, as the mechanic put it, "clear the codes." Do you know how long it takes to go 50 miles on the Peninsula? A long time. The first morning I only got to mile 35 before I had to go pick up Sister from school. The next time, I got smart and went south instead of north -- covered a bit more ground a bit faster.

As I drove around going nowhere, it dawned on me that it would be really handy to have a little gadget we could plug ourselves into to see where we are malfunctioning. Code 5AM = not enough sleep. Code -P%&! = low on patience. Code SiS = Sinking in stress. Code CHOCDEF = chocolate deficit. Then we could take some time to clear our codes. I like to clear mine by taking walks or sitting in a dark, quiet house before anyone else is awake.

At this point, I'm very glad to be done with the whole business. But it helped me remember how important it is to read our own codes from time to time, and then to do whatever kind of self-care we need to clear the codes. Have you cleared your codes lately?


CitricSugar said...

I have not cleared my codes recently... But I should. I'm fairly certain I'd show up with a chocolate deficit as well.

Moving to another jurisdiction with a vehicle is always a gong show. I remember when I moved back from Alberta. The inspection took two hours and revealed a number of things that would have to be brought up to regulations. $$$ later and it still irks me that there are people driving around with vehicles that don't make the cut but that were purchased here and immune from inspection.

Molly said...

Love the expression: "always such a gong show." How true!