The power of the brain

This morning it was ZERO degrees.

That's right. ZERO. As in Mercury-Not-Rising.

My car, the aptly named Icey Blue, sat there glistening with a fresh coating of frost. And a new $400 starter I had installed last weekend. Between that piece of genuine Motorcraft hardware (yeah, I could have purchased aftermarket, or reconditioned, but I love my car and prefer genuine manufacturer parts and will pay the additional $75), and the complementary component checks on the rest of Icey Blue's electrical system by the fine folks at the Ford Dealership, I wasn't worried ... I knew the car would start. And they even gave me a free wash and vacuum (thanks for that market pressure, Saturn). So I walk over to the car, press the button on the remote, the electric motor tripped the unlocked mechanism and I opened the door without issue, started the car, cleaned my windows off, got in and started my morning commute to work.

And, as is my usual, I stopped to get a cup of coffee. I had my spare key in my pocket, and verified that it was actually the spare key, prior to locking the car, while it was running, to go in and get my coffee (because, and this is for reals in the State of Ohio, if you leave your car running, and unlocked, and it gets stolen, you can be ticketed. Granted, it would take an asshole cop to do that, but during my years as a newspaper reporter, I've seen it done.).

I come out, put the key in the lock ... and fuck me sideways ... my lock is frozen. I then find out I only have one door that has a keyed lock on my car. Yes, the spare key was on the spare alarm fob with the automatic door lock/unlock, but I learned the automatic buttons don't work when the car is running. I asked Ford about it, they said it keeps you from accidentally unlocking your doors or popping the trunk by hitting the button as you drive down the highway.

Fascinating, as Spock would say. But frustrating, because it is ZERO fucking degrees outside, I have to be on a conference call at work at 8:30, it's 8:05 and I'm 15 minutes from work. Locked out of my running car.

This is where you, as a reader who pays attention to titles, may ask "Uh, what does a frozen lock, a single locking door, a disabled electronic lock and it being ZERO degrees outside have to do with the power of the brain?

I am a voracious reader. And have been since I was a kid. In first grade I was the kid that had a one-on-one reading tutor - but it was because I was reading at a 6th grade level ... not remedial.

As a kid I'd read whatever I could get my hands on wherever I was. Books, magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, rules and regulations posted on the walls of government buildings (did you know if the fine Customs agent at the Canadian border does not believe you are of sound character you can be required to post a cash bond up to $10,000 USD in order to enter the country of Canada?) or my step-dad's playboy collection (hey, it was the 70's, I was in 3rd grade).

One day I found something I thought was cool - a magazine called Reader's Digest. And I'd read them every month. One of the stories, I wanna say I was ten or eleven at the time, was one of those reader-submitted humor bits where a nurse had the same problem I had today - a frozen door lock. She went back into the hospital, got a syringe, and some rubbing alcohol, shot it into the lock, and it defrosted the ice crystals that were dastardly blocking the mechanism from turning after the serated key had displaced the locking pins in the proper sequence.

So, I went back into the store, asked the store manager if she had rubbing alcohol (she did), grabbed a coffee stirrer, filled it with rubbing alcohol, inserted it into the lock, and let it drip into the tumbler mechanism.

I waited15 seconds, put the key in the lock, turned like the day it was made. Got in, drove to work, and had enough time to get some oatmeal to eat during the conference call. Thanks to something cool I read a long time ago as a child and managed to retain.

Behold, the power of the brain, indeed.

No comments: