Monday, October 9, 2006

More posts about walking and keys

OK, I swear that is the last time I milk the title of the Talking Heads' sophomore album for the title of something I do or for a link to something. At least it's the last time today. The last time today on this blog... who knows, I might put a comment in my code tomorrow that says /* More code about graphics and cards */. Of course, nobody would get it.

So remember how I locked myself out of my apartment a few posts ago? Tonight I had a similar experience, only worse, and it wasn't even my fault this time. I'll tell you the entire story of my day, because I think it was a very fitting day for its ending.

I woke up this morning, checked the e-mail, responded to a response to a blog post, talked on AIM a bit. Then I ate breakfast, a peach and a bowl of oatmeal. It was good. Then I went on a 40-mile bike ride to Palo Alto and back.

One cool thing about Silicon Valley is that you can usually find streets with good bike lanes. One bad thing is that there are lots of stoplights and cyclists, since they go just slower than the speed of traffic, always seem to hit a disproportionate number of lights just as they turn red. I think that I would have been significantly less exhausted at the end of the ride had I not been forced to constantly brake and accelerate. Anyhow, by the end of the ride I was so completely spent that I could barely make it up the little hill over the railroad tracks about 2.5 miles from home. Fortunately there's a gas station at the bottom of the hill, and I stopped there to refuel. Not with gas but with a 32-ounce bottle of Gatorade, which I chugged down at a rate that I can only describe as Ulatowskian. Gatorade, for those of you that don't know, really does have magical healing powers. The knowledge that home is near also has magical healing powers. So the last couple miles weren't so bad.

At home I ate a Clif bar (more magical healing powers), then cooked a one-pound bag of fusili and ate that. Stretched and watched some football. Read a little bit. Then decided I should probably get some groceries lest my Monday morning breakfast consist of a bottle of beer and an onion. Threw on sandals, went to the car, drove down to the Trader Joe's in Campbell. It's about 4 miles from home, about 2 miles farther than the nearest grocery store and generally worth the trip.

Picked up a solid basket worth of food, checked out. The checker dude-woman asked me if I was old enough to buy the beer I was buying, I said, "yes," she asked how old I was, I said, "22," she asked what year I was born in, I said, "1984." I could have turned at least two of those answers into crazy tangents but I didn't; instead she mentioned that her sister was 22 also, for some reason asked me where I was born ("Illinois," which I intoned with my very best Illinoisian accent) and how that made me feel ("Hmm, I don't know..." because I have never thought about how my birthplace makes me feel, because I struggle to feel on my feet, and because that is a very odd question; but if people never asked people wierd questions nobody would ever talk to anyone else, so it's all good). She first thought that Illinois was the home of the Hoosiers, but then remembered that it was the Fighting Illini; she'd been to Champaign (how about that?). How did I like Teh Valley coming from Illinois ("It's great for cycling and not as good for running"), did I run the half-marathon in San José today (seriously, was I the only person that didn't know that was happening until I saw the street closure notices? But anyway, "No, but I'm doing one in Monterey in a couple weeks.") She went to a Catholic boarding school in Monterey. If you can tell me the point of writing this paragraph into this blog entry I'll mail you cookies, because I have no idea.

Went out to my car, opened the trunk, put the grocery bags in the trunk, closed the trunk. I bet you think I locked my keys in the trunk. Ha! Not even close! I walked over to the driver-side door, stuck the key in the lock, turned the key, pulled the door open, slipped into the car about as smoothly as one can after a 40-mile bike ride (that is, for the record, pretty damn smoothly... I am very good at trivial things). Stuck the key in the ignition. It wouldn't go in all the way. Took it out, stuck it in again. Same thing. Took it out, jammed it in harder. Ah, there it goes. Car does that sometimes. Turned the key... err, tried to turn the key. It wouldn't budge. Oh crap. Took it out, stuck it in again. No luck. Took it out, stuck it in again. No luck. Repeated this about 30 times, applying all the torque I could muster to the rectanguar head of the key. Not a one-hundreth of a radian of angular displacement from the original position. Tested to see if the car would go *ding* if I opened the door while the keys were in. Yep. Tested the headlights, dome light and hazards. All working. Torqued the key. No rotation.

Walked around the car a few times. Used the key to open the trunk and the doors (thinking maybe it just needed a confidence boost). Tried starting the car again. No dice. Walked around the shopping center, tried starting the car again (maybe it needed a break?). Nope.

At this point it struck me that I really didn't want to walk four miles back home with a big bag of groceries in each hand. It also struck me that I didn't have another way to get home. So, because I wasn't in any particular rush, I opened up the trunk and started munching on the food, hoping I'd come up with a brilliant solution to this problem. A half pound of trail mix later, nothing. So I picked up the bags and started walking. I walked along the right sidewalk so I could catch a northbound bus if it happened to come by. They don't send out too many buses at 9:30pm on Sunday nights in Campbell (who knew?). Finally arrived at home. It struck me that now not only would my back and legs be sore tomorrow (which I already knew) but also my arms and shoulders. Boo on this. And now I have to call a tower and get my car fixed somehow when I have no clue what's wrong with it. Well, first I'll try my spare key, which means a few extra miles on the bike after work tomorrow. I'm sure my legs can take it. Bleh.


Danielle said...

My that is a rough day. I hope you didn't have any ice cream in your groceries!

Anonymous said...

hey al, i usually read your blog more often but i haven't for a few days. sorry about all the troubles. (BTW this is brown-tooth) sometimes ignitions will have a steering wheel lock, did you try turning the wheel as you turned the ignition? the dodge caravan had that, my vibe does it sometimes also. if you drive a dodge, i'm sorry. it's a pain to replace an ignition and it's expensive. i know this from experience. sorry.

Al Dimond said...

My car's a Ford Focus. I actually did try moving the wheel around, and it didn't work. It turns out it's a really common problem on Focuses from that particular year, and requires the ignition to be replaced. A bit expensive, but at least it was done quickly.

How're you doing? Been a while.