This weekend I was faced with an uncomfortable situation. I was nervous and uneasy about it given that I had little prior experience with handling what occurred but I knew that I had to just step up and do what needed to be done. Previously I had left it up to others to sort out but this time, I was the only one who was in any position to do anything about what happened right in front of me.
To give some background – I was out on Saturday and on the hunt for a few things I needed to make my new barbecue area complete. Having constructed the barbecue the weekend prior I was now looking for a gas bottle, a cover to protect the barbecue from the elements and a few other things I needed to create a nice outdoor dining area. I was driving along, minding my own business and almost at my local BCF (that’s Boating, Camping & Fishing) store when it happened.
Just one set of traffic lights before my turn, my day was thrown a curve-ball. As I accelerated out of the traffic lights, my “Check Engine” light sprang to life.
This is where I usually see "check"... (Image from Romainguy @ Flickr)
Now when it comes to cars, I leave the business to my Dad and other professionals. Cars are not my thing. I can do the basics – drive them, fill them with fuel, check the oil and change their tyres and that’s about as far as my knowledge and ability stretches. Naturally though, I am aware of the warning signs – particularly the ones that are built into the dashboard. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be too phased by this happening; but since I’d already had a mechanic look at it, I was concerned.
I pulled into the BCF carpark and turned the engine off. The mechaninc had checked the light one week earlier and had advised me that he wasn’t sure what the problem was. He did write the code down for me and suggested that if it happened again I should bring it in again for another inspection – something more thorough to determine the actual cause of the problem. Obviously there was some kind of plan in motion. I went into the store adn let the car cool down while I looked at all things barbecue and when I returned to the parking lot I decided that now was the time for me to man up.
And so, armed only with the error code scrawled on the back of a business card and my internet-connected phone, I took on this challenge and soon found myself in a very interesting position. Upside down in the passenger seat, scraping for the internal fuse box to check fuses. This was “Plan A”. As I groped and struggled to open the casing and find the fuses I was looking for I felt a surge of something run through my body. Some would call it “Manliness” – I call it capability.
After half an hour of tinkering under the hood and under the dashboard I determined that the problem was not the fuses. Once more I consulted Google and “Plan B” involved returning home, a small screwdriver and messing around with my brake pedal. Another half hour of semi-dislocation of my spine and some manly grunting, I returned to the upright position and inserted the key into the ignition. I turned the key nervously and the engine hummed to life. The dashboard lit up like a Christmas Tree as it did a complete system check and much to my delight, the “Check Engine” light blinked out at the end of the process.
While I still make no claim to be any kind of auto mechanic, I am somehwat proud of my actions on that Saturday.
Is there a time you can recall when you felt out of your depth but managed to achieve something special?