Sunday, December 29, 2013

Parrot Eyes by the Dashboard Lights

I have a tendency to get a little lost in translation.

It's not uncommon.

Eddie Money didn't sing: “I've got two chickens to paralyze” and Jimi Hendricks never excused himself to “kiss this guy.”

But it doesn't stopped me from singing along that way.

I also have a tendency to ignore things to see if they'll just go away.

I know it's not advisable. And yes, I did walk around on a broken ankle for two weeks before I admitted defeat and sought the attentions of a medical professional. But that's beside the point.

I like to think my car would agree with me … if it's weren't an inanimate object.

Having a newer car is a joy not unlike having children who won't disappear at the grocery store. Every trip, even the most mundane, is predictable and relatively worry-free.

When I slide into the driver's seat, all I need to do is turn a key, click a seatbelt and check the rearview mirrors. The fact that my husband and I share roughly the same inseam means I don't have to adjust the seats. I don't even have to sweep the car of snow since my chivalrous, short-legged husband has seen fit to move his collection of power tools and other accumulated objects to make room for the new ride underneath the carport.

Even in this bitter cold, all I need to do is drive.

So you might imagine my surprise as I neared the end of the driveway, headed to the grocery store with aforementioned child in tow, and an alarm sounded, that, previously had meant the driver's seatbelt wasn't properly secured.

Only I was strapped in. The kid was strapped in. No doors were ajar. The sky wasn't falling.

What the … s-i-l-e-n-c-e.

I was only slightly relieved when the ringing stopped. Because it was at that exact moment that a dashboard light went on. A light that I had never seen before … in the three decades I've been driving.

I mean NEVER SEEN, not just willfully ignored.

I couldn't even decipher what it meant. It didn't look like any of the lights I'm used to overlooking. It looked nothing like a gas pump. The Check Engine light would have resembled a large outboard motor. The brake light should have letters. The oil light looks like the doohickey the Tin Man needs in the Wizard of Oz.

Nope. This one looked like a keyboard emoticon someone with an eighth-grader's sense of humor might send to their fourth-grade friends on Facebook.

Or maybe it was Beaker finally having the breakdown he so richly deserved after suffering one too many injuries at the hands of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew in the Muppet Labs.

I tapped the plexiglass. Nothing.

I even laughed a little because, let's face it, some dashboard light designer somewhere is totally having a laugh that his creation will delight untold numbers of motorists who, like me, will stop everything, open the glove box and dig out the never-been-opened-but-mysteriously-has-coffee-spilled-on-it Owner's Manual.

“Tire Pressure.”

Seriously? You get tire pressure out of two parentheses, an exclamation point, a mustache and two tiny fists raised to the sky?

And I can see Parrot Eyes by the dashboard light.”

This, too, shall pass.

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