Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Honkey

My kitchen lightswitch was making crackly noises. Sort of like a bowl of Rice Krispies, if anyone even knows what they sound like anymore. Maybe they don't even sound the same —I haven't heard them in decades. I'm getting lost already and I haven't finished my first paragraph. Anyway, if you imagine a little mouse wadding up a little piece of paper, that's the sound. Electricians refer to that as not good.

I pulled out the switch, checked for signs of impending immolation, and replaced it with a new one. It's not a hard job, really, but it's the kind of job that makes a man feel manly. It feels good. I kept looking for excuses to turn the light on or off. "Gotta save electricity!" [click.] "Just passing through!" [click...click.]

I do that all the time. If I replace a faucet washer, I'll wash my hands twenty times that day just to enjoy watching it working properly. I bought an antique Colibri lighter at an estate sale, and spent hours cleaning it up and figuring out how to make it work again. I don't smoke, but I began seeing everything in terms of flammability. Saturday I replaced my doorbell, and after about fifty test rings I went back inside to find my cat looking like it had swallowed a static ball. The doorbell once was commonly associated with a girlfriend and her dog, and for my cats the link has stuck in quite literal Pavlovian fashion.

Yesterday I fixed my car horn.

I know it's not nice to honk at everything. That's probably how it got messed up in the first place. I had been making a conscious effort to only honk when a honk was really needed. But it was killing me.

American car horns are impressive. They sound like harbingers of death, which they usually are. My truck is a Nissan, and its Japanese horn sounds more like it is sticking out its tongue. Nyeah!

Just last weekend I had two close calls involving twenty-year-old girls cutting across three lanes of traffic to veer into a parking space while talking on a cell phone. I bang bang bang on that horn pad, hoping to startle her and the person she's talking to, but the horn fails me until about a half block later, which just makes me look like a whiner.

All pent up full of unexpressed honks, I took the steering wheel pad apart, cleaned the guts and bent all the switch contacts closer together. Now it's hairtrigger hot, baby. All I have to do is furrow my brow: Beeeep! I'm driving down the road sounding like a one-man wedding procession.

I was going to take off a little early today to fix my jackhammer. That should be interesting.

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