The best part about having a car is learning fun new things. Like where to put in the windshield wiper fluid! And how to get gum out of the carpets! Tonight takes the cake though. I got a Tomtom--a GPS locater for Christmas--but I've only been able to use it once in my actual car because the cigarette lighter doesn't work. Hence, I can't charge the Tomtom, so no tomtomming around town. Luckily I have a friend, Erin, who lives with three nuclear electricians. "Could you," I asked on Monday, "ask your roommate if he could come look at my car? If he's not busy?"
Better though, the roommate explained to Erin how to figure out what was wrong. So we trooped out to my car and I meekly held the flashlight as Erin flipped through the manual, said "right," popped the hood and started jamming tools into random important looking fan-thingys. Who knew the manual was so helpful? I just thought it was there in case of emergency--you know, when your partner has gone into Seven-11 and you've got nothing to read. Seriously though, we were looking for a blown fuse. And we found it...not under the hood, but in the fusebox by the door. Well, Erin found it. I was, as I said, holding the flashlight. The fuse was very much blown, so hopped in Erin's car (with Kismet strapped in on my lap) and headed over to Wal-Mart.
I'm sure there are other places to buy car fuses at seven o'clock on a Wednesday, but neither Erin nor I know how to find these places in Wmsbrg. And I haven't been in a Wallyworld since college. Undergrad college. I was completely overawed by the sheer temple of STUFF that awaited me as we walked through the door. Overawed and yes, seduced--hey, we need tables! A pitcher! A new dog bed! A copy of "The Mask" for eight dollars?! Hell yeah--but Erin grabbed my elbow firmly and with a ferociously hissed "Focus!" steered me to Auto Parts. The fuses were bought. We returned to Erin's car and Kismet, who had displayed his displeasure at being left in her car by farting it up, and then home. Slotting a new fuse into place was almost ridiculously easy. I cheered as the green light on my Tomtom came on and silently thanked the heavens for handy friends. $2.47 for a box of five fuses versus a auto store commission and withering looks from condescending grease monkeys? Yeah, I think I can stand out in the cold holding a flashlight for half hour.