A light came on. He thought it was one thing. It turned out to be another.
I am a man. Men are not known for asking for directions, reading instructions to assemble something, or thinking that they are wrong about anything. I like to think I'm not much of a stereotype but stereotypes exist for a reason: because there is some truth behind them. No matter how hard I try to avoid the cliche pitfalls of my gender, I can't always do it. For instance, I had a recent experience which made me feel kind of dumb.
I bought a car when I lived in Los Angeles. It was the first time I had bought my own car, paid my own money for it, made the deals myself, etc. I was very proud of myself when this happened. It wasn't a new car but it was new to me and in very good shape. I vowed to keep it in very good shape so it would last me a long time. With this goal in mind, I would get concerned when one of those pesky "check engine" style lights came on.
One light in particular is the focus of this post, though. It looks like a cauldron (something witches would stir up a magic potion in) that is empty with an exclamation mark inside of the empty space. Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't immediately make me think of anything about a car. You'd think, at this point, that I would look up what that particular light means since I had no earthly idea. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't. I honestly am not sure. Maybe I tried looking through the owner's manual and couldn't find it so I gave up. Maybe I never even cracked the owner's manual. To be honest, I have probably only looked in that thing 3 times at most in the couple of years I've owned the car. I know how vehicles work, no need to read about it.
All I remember about the first time that light came on was that I got my oil changed and it went away. To my logical brain, that light forever became the oil light. It is a stretch, but I figured that the cauldron shaped thing that looks empty in the dashboard alert was an oil tank and the exclamation mark is saying "I'm running low, fill me up!" From that moment forward, I would see that light come on once in a while and I would check how long it had been since my last oil change. Each time it seemed logical that it could be time for another oil change.
I operated like this for a long time until recently. That light popped on the other day, I got my oil changed, and it went away. All was well. Until two weeks later, the light came on again. This immediately made me wonder if the place I got my oil changed messed something up because that light obviously means I need an oil change. Kristi decided it would be prudent to just make sure that was the oil change light and not something different. After leafing through the confusing owner's manual, she found the light in question… it has nothing to do with oil. It means that tire pressure is low. How in the world does that picture even remotely seem like it should relate to tires?
As is expected, I am not going to blame myself for this debacle. Could I have looked it up when it first happened? I could have if the owner's manual was a bit more user-friendly. Could I have used my problem solving skills to figure out that it had nothing to do with oil? Sure… if car places didn't fill up your tires when you go in for an oil change. It turns out I was a victim of poor user manual assembly by the car company and of car mechanics going the extra mile when helping me maintain my vehicle. That part is actually pretty nice though.
In the nearly eight months that I’ve been married to my wonderful husband, I’ve found out a LOT of things about him. Yea, he’s not as concerned with a “clean” house and he doesn’t always see those crumbs on the counter. Even more than that, he’s not always super attentive. Please don’t mistake this for me knocking who he is or complaining about how he does things; it’s just something I’ve realized happens.
The most recent case would involve the newer of our two cars…. his. I got to drive it to work the other day. When this happens, it is the highlight of my day. I feel like a new woman driving with the sunroof down and the wind blowing my hair into a tangled mess (well, not so much the tangled mess part, but you get the point). So, as I’m pulling out of the driveway, I notice one of those annoying lights on the dashboard lit up and wouldn’t turn off. Since I was driving, I called Nolan and asked what this particular light was referencing and he retorted quickly with “that’s the oil light”. So, I took his word for it and became increasingly worried because the oil in his car had been changed a mere 2 weeks earlier. So no oil indicator light should have come on.
Part of me thought that the light was messed up and when I started the car up after work that day it wouldn’t be an issue; unfortunately, that didn’t happen. So, after work, I checked the oil level in the car and it was right where it needed to be. Perplexed, but satisfied that it wasn’t that oil was draining out of his car as some crazy rate, I put it out of my mind. Fast forward about 2 days and we are on our way to the store. The stupid light was STILL on and I was about to go insane. I asked once again what that light was indicating. This time Nolan said “I’m pretty sure it’s the oil… every time it comes on I’ve had my oil changed and then it goes off." Shocked and confused, I asked if he had ever actually looked up the symbol in the owner’s manual to confirm what it means… to my surprise he had not. In hindsight, however, I don’t think I should have been shocked… it’s the same concept as a man asking for directions… and we all know that just doesn’t happen!
Now, maybe it’s a difference in how we grew up or perhaps it shows a difference between men and women; but, when I’m not pretty confident of what something means, I look it up to confirm… ESPECIALLY when it comes to something as expensive as a vehicle. So, as we’re sitting in the car I frantically began to pull out the owner’s manual and search for what this mysterious indicator light means. It might be a good time to note that they don’t make it the easiest thing to find in these manuals. You turn to the section that says dashboard lights and it tells you to turn to section 7.23 which then tells you to jump up, turn around, do the hokey pokey and turn to section 8.3 where you finally find the symbol you were looking for. In our case, the symbol was an indicator for tire pressure… not even related to oil… not even close.
Thankfully my mom has an air compressor and tire pressure gauge at her house and we live a hop, skip, and a jump away from her. So, we drove over and checked the tires and sure enough that was the problem! Both of us learned a valuable lesson from this experience. Nolan will NEVER mistake that light for oil again, I can assure you. And I learned, even more so, that men and women are wired completely differently. We act differently, think differently, and problem solve in completely different ways. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though. I love Nolan JUST the way he is.