Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Another one of those f$%-ing days

When I turned the car off recently, I did my in-car checks of the 'park' lever, handbrake, and ignition off, and finding them satisfactory, pulled the keys out of the ignition and got out of the car.
I was back from a gardening job, and so that means that I get my two fuel canisters - one for the whipper-snipper [weed whacker - for north American readers], and one for the mower - out of the back of the car and put them in the storage area of the underground car park.
As a gardener most of my work is in the summer, and so I don't like to leave fuel in the car for obvious reasons.
So I walked around to the back of the car to get the fuel, and then noticed that the lights were on.
"That's odd," I said to myself, "I was sure I did all my checks. Must have forgotten to check the lights."
So I went back to the front of the car, leaned in through the window and went to turn the lights off.
To my unholy consternation I discovered that the lights were indeed off.
"What the f$%&?", I flicked the switch off and on a few times, but it had no effect. With a lugubrious sigh, I realised that yet another thing had gone wrong with my car.
This follows on from a post of some weeks ago in which I was talking about the 'Check Engine' light.
To bring you up to speed there.
For most of the life of this particular car, first with Tom, whom I bought it from, and then in the year that I have had it, the Check Engine light comes on as soon as the engine has warmed up, and stays on for the rest of the day.
Thus, as I came down the hill from Clunes a few months ago, and the Check Engine light went out, I went, 'aww, that can't be good.'
However, nothing catastrophic happened, and the car ran OK.
I was going somewhere a few weeks later when this yellow 'Hold' light came on, and didn't go off. Then the Check Engine light came on as well, and I once again spent most of my time at the wheel wondering what this panoply of odd lights could portend. I did look up the manual, but couldn't find after a cursory glance what the 'Hold' light means.
However the engine kept running and so I tried to put it out of my mind.
Then came the lights staying on thing and I now have to go through an extra round of checking before and after I set out in the car.
Since I can't leave the lights on while parked, as it will flatten the battery, I now have to each time I pull up, get out, open the bonnet, unship the negative battery cable from the battery to get the lights to go off, then shut the bonnet.
A bit of a hassle, but worth it to keep my car rolling.
After I shut the bonnet [hood for north Americans], I went back to lock the car. I shut the driver's door then turned the key and the driver's door locked, but the satisfying car-wide 'cloonk', telling me the central locking had locked all the doors, hadn't kicked in.
So dear reader, I can now confirm for you that central-locking is electrical.
With the battery now unconnected, I have to, as well as taking the battery out of the circuit, lock each door individually.
What's more, if I have forgotten to wind up the electronic windows, I have to reconnect the battery, turn on the ignition, then wind up the windows, turn the ignition off again, then go back around and disconnect the battery again.
For a man with OCD checking disorder, just parking the car has now become a major enterprise.
And I might add, this car ghost-in-the-electrical-system rubbish followed on from the ghost-in-my-apartment's-electrical-system malarkey.
What happened there was that I came out one morning and went to boil the jug to make my morning coffee.
However when I picked it up to fill it with water, I noticed to, again, my unholy consternation, that the jug was already quite hot, and once I felt that and looked closer, I saw that there was steam coming out of the jug's nozzle.
WTF? I said to myself, then I noticed that the damn thing was exhibiting a noise as of a low level of boiling going on.
I leant in closer, and sure enough the jug was boiling, even though the switch was off.
As I later discovered, the heating element had blown the circuit, and overridden the auto-off switch.
"AAARGHHH!" I yelled into the six am quiet of my apartment complex.
The immediate problem was no hot water for coffee, but I solved that by getting out a saucepan and boiling some water, but the longer term problem was that for a nutjob like me, who seeks to control the world by checking everything, now the jug and the car, were exhibiting signs of self-animation, and now even when I had checked both that everything was off, they may switch themselves on in some ghostly fashion, while I sleep.
The upshot being I may burn the apartment down despite my five thousand checks.

Anyway, with my sweeping and weeding done up the beach front at Julian's beach side hotel, and with Caitlyn's lawn mowed at Mullumbimby, I was finished with gardening and the car for the day, and so I went up to my desk to do some research on an article I was writing for Independent Australia.
Quickly my head was into global warming figures and tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and all the rest, when my phone beeped.
It was a message from my therapist, Simon the Super-listener, it was my monthly therapy session, and all off the above car stress had completely blown it out of my mind, that it was today.
"AARRRGGHHH," I yelled.
"ARRRGGHHHH!," I yelled into the thankfully empty office.
"Shit, it's therapy day".
Now just to background this a bit, for those who have been following my progress away from dysfunction.
Previously my therapist was Paula the Wonder Horse, whom I saw with great productivity for nearly five years.
However after 80-odd sessions, Paula had to finally put up her hands and tell me that she had heard how much I hate my parents for the eightieth time and it was time for me to move on.
Not really of course, the real reason was that there is a natural arc to therapy, and after some time, it's good to freshen things up with a new person. So Paula, with carefully prepared efficiency lumbered her colleague Simon with being trapped in a room listening to my eternal, internecine, always rambling stories of my life as a youth in Bathurst.
Simon is great as well, and I am already looking forward to broaching new frontiers with him.
Paula the Wonder Horse's web page, note former name.
I might add, that one of the reasons Paula couldn't see me anymore was that she had decided to resurrect her movie career, she used to be one of the Bond girls, and had been called back into action by the makers of the Bond films. (see pictures)
I know now why she changed her name, it was nothing to do with getting married, but all to do with her dark past on the silver screen.
Paula did deny that she had ever been a Bond girl, but I knew she was lying.
Anyway, now I'm with Simon, and things are great, so I was less than impressed with myself for forgetting our appointment.
However, now I had a new problem, as I said the office was empty, and thus there was no one around to help me with my 'lock-up' checks which I needed to do before I could go to therapy, about ten minutes walk away.
So with the pressure on, I raced back to my apartment, windows shut (so rain can't get in), power off to the TV and set top box (I didn't want them coming on either in ghostly fashion), shower off, bathroom sink taps off, jug definitely unplugged, and all six burners and timer on the oven were off.
I had to literally wrench myself away and had to work hard not to go round and do these checks twenty or thirty times, but I was already late to therapy, and had to go.
So outside the door, I turned the key, checked that it was indeed locked, and then turned to go.
The credits of the Bond movie, 'A View to a Kill', showing Paula's past life.
The worm of doubt came into my mind, back I turned, I checked the door was locked again, it was.
Away I turned, the worm returned, back I turned, checked again, then turned away once more, took two steps, the worm of anxiety came back.
Then I had to stop and just use brute force of will.
I turned back, and said inside my head, "Right, Lachlan, you idiot, the f%$^&ing door is locked and you are looking at it locked now with your fingers on the door, showing you it's locked."
With the satisfactory clanking of the door showing it was indeed locked, I finally wrested myself away from the door and began walking to Simon's office.
Once more back on the street, I had to go past the office door, I stopped and checked that I had shut and locked that.
I had, so I turned to go, now already 15 minutes after my appointment with Simon was due to start.
Then the worm returned, back I went, checked the office door was indeed locked.
I think I stood at the office door for another three minutes, constantly pushing on the door, testing it was locked.
Then, finally, having to use the same brute force I had had to use on my apartment door, I wrenched myself away form the office door and made for Simon's office.

Now with Paula, our therapy was mainly focussed on my terrible childhood.
With Simon, we are mainly focussing on my debilitating checking, using various techniques to tackle it.
So never have I gone to therapy with greater relief than this day, with the various machines in my life turning themselves off and on, at will.
Finally I pitched up at Simon's office, puffing from the jog-trotting I had been doing to get there as quickly as my checking allowed.
I went in and sat down, after explaining why I was late, we settled in and Simon asked, "So how's your checking going?"
"Well, Simon," I said, "Boy am I glad you asked."
Therapy then proceeded as it usually does, with me talking volubly and at length of my dysfunction, and the therapist, in this case, Simon, slowly backing away against the wall, trying to escape.
Finally three o'clock came, and Simon was free of me.
I left feeling somewhat relaxed.
Simon is still in Byron Bay Hospital under sedation, where he screams in his sleep, "NO Lachlan, NO, please don't tell me the same story again".

Those who tune in regularly will have noticed that I haven't been regular with the Blog, that is because with the summer my gardening in necessarily busier, but also my work with Independent Australia is stepping up.
However, like Simon above, I'm sure you can use a break as well, even reading about the life of a nutjob can be exhausting, man do I understand that! 

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