& the freak-down: the answer machine

The Freak-Down

20 Days

It’s not enough that we’ve got the bun cooking in Karli’s oven, and it’s not even enough that we’re moving in a little over a month. Nope. The car’s gotta break, too.

I’ll spare you the details since it’s not that interesting and I don’t know much at all about cars. In the end, it turned out to be a cheap fix that’s (supposedly) easy to do on your own. It’s not our main car, only our drive-it-till-it-drops second car.

We found this out because Karli went and looked up the problem on Google. It reminded me of the conversation we had the other week where Karli asked me—mostly tongue-in-cheek, I’m sure—”I don’t know how my parents survived without Google. How did they know things?”

Of course, we were born prior to Google, ourselves—something Squatch definitely won’t know—which means we know how people did things before the magical internet. We’ve just gotten spoiled. Before the internet, you actually had to talk to people. People who knew things. Like mechanics and scientists and librarians and stuff.

Now how did I end up with an extra doowhackey?

Take our car trouble, for instance. I know very little about cars. The closest I get to knowing anything is listening to Car Talk on NPR. And that’s not to pick up anything about cars. They’re just funny.

Karli knows more about cars than I do, but she doesn’t really fix them, and especially not in her current state. We had an issue, Karli typed some stuff into Google, and voila, the answer appeared. We had to go by a $30 part, take out the thingamabobber, replace the whozit, and plug it into the whatchamajig*. Easy. And we didn’t have to tow our car to a mechanic and get charged $60 for them to look at it. Something we’d have had to do if this were 20 years ago.

*Actual car terms. I think.

See, before the internet, we actually had to know things. A dummy like me never could’ve fixed anything on a car before I had Google. Actually, Google and an iPhone, so I could take the instructions with me out to the car on my little pocket answer machine.

I’ve gotten a little reliant on it if I’m telling the truth. Too reliant, probably. Someone asks a question, occasionally out loud, not often directly to me, and I whip the answer machine out of my pocket to verify that Toni Morrison was the last American Nobel Laureate in Literature. Sometimes it’s helpful; usually I’m assuming it’s pretty obnoxious.

Occasionally I get to be the guy that knows things, but usually I’m just the asshole who happens to have the answer machine in his pocket. I’m working on trying to know more things, but the crutch of having the answer machine is just too good. Knowing things can wait, I suppose. After all, the internet knows a lot more than I could possibly get my head around.

For the record—no, I haven’t fixed the car yet. The thingamajig we didn’t work, so we took it back and they said it might be defective. They’re getting a new one for us tomorrow morning. If that one doesn’t work, it’s probably me that’s defective.

When I start to know things, cars might be near the top of that list.

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11 thoughts on “& the freak-down: the answer machine

  1. The scary thing is that I’m soon going to have to give up playing on the iPad when I’m feeding Miss C because now she’s actually looking at the screen. I want to keep her away from screens as long as I possibly can, but for what? By the time she’s nine people are going to be installing the internet in their brains.

    Reply
    • Yeah, that’s going to be my issue, too. Our goal is to make sure Squatch doesn’t even know about these things (or at least doesn’t know we possess these things) so that it doesn’t turn into one of those teens with their faces planted into a cell phone. I fully intend our kid to be a teen who bitches to us about not having a cell phone because everyone else does.

      Reply
  2. Is this a headlight/tailight/brakelight issue? Keep messing with it until you beat it. I like to think of car problems as Megaman bosses. Each time you defeat one, you gain an extra Megaman power, and you are that much more dangerous of a Megaman.

    Reply
    • Yeah, it was the brake light switch that needed replaced because the car wouldn’t go into gear. Now that it’s replaced, I feel like the Mega-est Man.

      Reply
  3. My dad refuses to “learn the internet” so when we watch a movie together, he asks random fact after random fact and I have to be on IMDB the whole time. Wasn’t he in that other movie? Who directed that? I think he’d love google, too, if only he’d learn how to TURN IT ON.

    And for the record, I don’t know much about doohickies either, but I feel like I’m great at diagnosing other people’s car problems by their sound. Because I’ve had clunkers that have sounded like so many things. I’d say my success rate is pretty high, but that doesn’t mean I can fix any of them.

    Reply
  4. I was just having this conversation last night, about how mysterious things were before iphones came around and answered all our questions immediately. The Lumberjack is just like you – whenever anyone has the slightest question he’s immediately on his phone, getting the answer. It’s…a little annoying.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: & the freak-down: wiped « & squatch makes three

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