My car has developed a personality as of late, despite the fact that popular science has shown that inanimate objects are incapable of developing personalities, my car has developed one. I blame it one the fact that it’s been hanging around with a bunch of other cars in local parking lots after dark. Nothing good ever comes of hanging out in parking lots after dark.
It used to be such a sweet car. It always listened to what I told it to do. It accelerated when I hit the gas and slowed down when I hit the brakes. When I was cold, it provided heat, when I was hot it filled the passenger compartment with icy cold air. Even when I left it alone in parking lots and locked it to keep it safe, I was greeted with friendly honk of the horn. It was as it the car was saying “So long Danny, see you in a bit. I’m just going to rest here for a while.”
Oh I’m still greeted with a honk of the horn when I lock it, but the horn has changed tones. It sounds more defiant. Now, instead of the “So long Danny” sound, I hear a “get out of here, leave me alone to hang out with my friends” attitude filled beep. This has been going on for weeks now and I’m not sure I like the change in my car’s tone.
There is another part of my cars attitude shift that has developed, the car has randomly started flashing the brake lights and emitting a warning tone so loud it would end up on the decibel scale somewhere between a running washing machine running filled with rocks and a jet air plane taking off. The first time this light and sound show happened I nearly spit coffee all over the windshield. I was driving down a dark country road early one morning and to see a flashing brake light and a jet engine toned beeping that early was a little concerning. I gently applied the brakes to ensure they were working and then the light went off.
False alarm I thought to myself, no need to panic just keep driving. Then 10 minutes later another beep loud enough to wake the dead and the flashing brake light. The brakes were once again verified and as I applied them I swore I heard the engine laugh a bit. Was my car simply playing around with me?
Well this has now been happening for weeks now and each time it happens my blood pressure rises and I get madder and madder at this phantom problem. In other words, my car is winning. If it’s goal is to annoy me, it is doing a fantastic job of it.
I’ve been complaining of this to my wife pretty incessantly since it started, yet she has never heard it. That is until yesterday. We were out running a few errands, when my car messed up, it forgot that I wasn’t the only one in the car when it launched into it’s screaming light show. The first beep caused my blood pressure to rise, the second nearly blew out my ear drum and the third forced me to emit a loud blast of frustration. To which my lovely bride turned to me and said “Is that the noise that’s been causing you such problems? That’s nothing.”
“Nothing,” I muttered back “Did you hear how loud that thing is and it does it all the time.”
“Simple fix,” she said. “Next time you hear it say Father Son and Holy Spirit and then offer a quick prayer for someone.”
“Wait, what?” I said in protest. “You did hear that right? That loud, annoying, random beeping. I’m not just hearing things am I?”
“Just pray the next time you hear it.”
The simplicity of her statement struck me. Take this horribly annoying thing my car was doing to drive me batty and turn it into a positive. My wife’s idea was put to the test moments later. Beep Beep Beep…prayer. Five minutes later beep…beep…beep…prayer.
For the rest of the journey I took my wife’s advice and every time that silly brake light came on, I said a simple prayer. By the end of the day’s journey I was no longer annoyed by the noise, but rather enjoyed hearing the ear piercing scream fill the car. I had become like Pavlov’s dogs only I prayed rather than salivated when I heard a beep. Take that car, bested by a human. Who says German engineering is superior to American ingenuity?
In fact I’m going to start looking for other little annoyances in my life as opportunities to pray. Stub my toe, say a prayer, dog won’t come home when called, pray. Stuck in traffic, pray. Take all those little moments in life where there exists an opportunity to move further away from God and turn it around and use them as moments to grow in your faith.
Thanks to my wife, I’m no longer angry at my car for developing a personality. Instead I’m rather thankful, although I’m still banning it from hanging out with other cars after dark. Nothing good happens in parking lots after dark after all and we’re still going to have a talk about the tone of it’s horn.