Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On electronic automobile locks, etc.

The battery in my car keys died again

And why, come to think of it, is there a battery in car keys in the first place? What automotive engineer first came up with the idea that it was too much work for us to insert a key in a lock and turn it? A battery. And two computer chips, of course – one for the key and one for the car.

Here’s a question that keeps me up at night: Are there more computer chips or coat hangers in the world today?

But the real question is why does the battery in my car keys die three times faster then the battery in my wife’s car keys? I think I got a clue while leaving for work this morning.

BAGMAN: “Oh DO tell us. It’s probably more interesting than more stories about dogs. I’m just wondering if we’re ever going to start noticing women again.”

BUTLER: “My calculations are that there are currently more coat hangers but computer chips will catch up and surpass coat hangers by 2012.”

Anyhow, I had more stuff than usual because (1) I had to attend a County Council meeting which meant wearing a jacket and (2) Karen had books for me to drop off at the library and letters to mail at the post office. Plus my usual insulated lunch bag, my camera bag, and my backpack stuffed with stuff.

Does anybody remember George Carlin’s monologue on “Stuff”? I’m the poster child for stuff. I bring home stuff from work so I can do it at home and bring stuff from home to work so I can do it at work. Say that sentence three times fast. In 30 years I’ve probably done work stuff and home and home stuff at work a total of…let’s see…twice.

BUTLER: “You just used the word ‘stuff’ six times in one paragraph.”

BAGMAN: “Zzzzzzzzz. Snort. Yawn. Zzzzzzzzz”

Plus it was trash day.

So first, I lugged my backpack, camera, and lunch to the car, clicked open the trunk, stuffed it in the tiny trunk, shut the trunk. I got the library books, clicked open the car door and put them in the front seat.

I rolled the big trash bin out to the street, went inside, got last trash bag from the kitchen, took it out and put it in the bin. Fortunately, the bin does not have an electronic lock I have to click…yet.

Oh yes, can’t forget my jacket! Back inside, I put it on, ready to go, and noticed, on the steps, the small bag of detritus from the cat litter box.

BAGMAN: (Waking up momentarily) – Did you just use the word ‘detritus’? Have you really become too proper to say ‘cat shit’?

Walking past the car, I realize that I might want to take a picture on the way to work so I click open the trunk, remove the camera, put it in the front seat. Seeing the library books, I realize I’m not passing the library until my way home so I take them out, click open the trunk, and put them in it. I walk out to the garbage bin and can’t remember why I’m there.

Oh yes, cat shit. Where is it? I go back and look in the front seat. Not there. Click open the trunk and see that I was about to take the litter bag to work with me. Take it out and put it in the bin.

By now, Charleston’s July humidity has got to me and I realize I don’t want to wear my jacket all day – just to the Council meeting later. I take it off, click open the trunk, fold it carefully and put it on top of everything else in the trunk. I get in the car, start it up, and realize I’m not only sweating but dying of thirst. Get out again, click open the trunk again, rummage under the jacket for the lunch bag, pull out a soda and put it in the car’s drink holder.

But I’ll need one for lunch, I remember. Run back in the house, get another soda out of the refrigerator, run back to the car, click open the trunk again, rummage under the jacket again, and place the new drink in the bag. Shut the trunk, get in the car, back out of the driveway, and the thought hits me. I’ll bet with all the rummaging, my jacket is now stuffed in the trunk and I’ll look like a wrinkled, homeless bagman at the Council Meeting.

BAGMAN: Hey! You’re getting personal now!

So I stop the car, get out, click open…click open…click click click… so why does the battery in my car keys die three times faster then the battery in my wife’s car keys?

The rest of the way to work, I obsess on whether or not I accidentally threw the library books in the trash bin. But my worry is interrupted by my cell phone. Karen is calling to remind me that I forgot the letters to take to the post office.

I tell her not to worry. That I think I mailed the cat poop instead but since it had no postage they’ll return it.

After hanging up, I stare blankly at my cell phone and wonder what telecommunications engineer first came up with the idea to put a camera in it. And can I take the battery out and put it in my keys.


  1. Mark, you are the master of portraying the busy mind. Do you meditate?

  2. Now I am sure I don't have alzheimer's. I understood every bit of that.

  3. hum, this is what I see, I never want to hear you say you have to wait while Karen gets ready - that it takes her an hour to an hour and half to get dressed while it only takes you 12 minutes,- cause now I know that you take 12 minutes to get dressed and 1 hour to get in the car and stay there....

  4. Call me crazy, or call me Ishmael, but did it occur to you that there is likely a trunk release somewhere inside your car (like that button in the glove box you always thought was a catapult seat botton, ala James Bond)?

  5. I will not replace the battery for my car remote. When the first one started dying it set off everything and my car went crazy. I'll use the old fashioned key thank you very much!

  6. Snort!

    I have these days too....maybe we are blonde?


    sorry to all blondes for that....

  7. This was hilarious. I've had days like those too. Hmm.....I started thinking I had OCD. Nice to Hear I'm not alone.

  8. Now I know why I like to drive a 1995 Honda. The keys have no batteries. My cell phone was manufactured before cameras were included. I live a much simpler life. I was laughing out loud to think you mailed the cat poop. Thanks for the fun!

  9. Brilliant, Mark. I not only have days like that, your leaving routine seemed perfectly normal to me.

  10. So how was the rest of your day?

    Patty is gone. Dorothea yawns and show leg. "Hey, Bagman.

  11. B&B...I am going to stash my old fashioned hangers, now way, no how will I use a battery operated hanger...as for the key locks, hubster's new car alarm goes off every time he puts his keys in his pocket. Yep, technology is grand, ask our neighbors!

  12. You are adorable, and your loving wife knows that... I love it that you think you mailed the cat detritus! I wonder how they'd sort that at the post office?!

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  14. Well it's great that there are locksmiths you can always give a call to rescue you with this kind of trouble.