The Ford Focus Ninja

This morning, my car wouldn’t start.

This is a problem that people face every day, there’s nothing particularly surprising or unusual about it, I didn’t think this was any sort of personal attack on me against the universe, and yet at the moment I turned my key and heard that “tktktktktktktktktk” sound instead of my engine running, I could have gleefully shivved a Rabbi for looking at me funny.

I was frustrated, is what I’m saying.

As it turned out, it was the battery. I discounted this possibility at first — it hasn’t been that long since I replaced the battery in my car, I could have sworn. Until I popped the hood and saw the date sticker on it: “02/08.” Okay, maybe it had been a while. Still, that wasn’t too big a deal — replacing a battery is relatively simple and a hell of a lot cheaper than many of the other problems that I probably don’t want to know about. But it did require me to get a jumpstart so I could get to work, only barely making it in on time. I then spent the entire day worried that my car wouldn’t start when I left, and in fact, I’m pretty sure I called one of my students “Car” at second period. Don’t worry, she didn’t notice.

When the school day ended and I walked out to the car, I knew I was in real trouble. My keyless entry, the greatest device ever invented in that it allows us to open all of the doors to our car with the push of a keychain button, thereby saving lots of awkward moments of standing around waiting for someone to open the door for a passenger… it wasn’t working. The battery was even worse than this morning. I couldn’t even hear the “click” telling me the door locks had disengaged. I pounded the button furiously, only to be greeted by cruel, heartless silence.

At first glance, one would think this put me in the same position I was in this morning. But there’s something about my car you may not know. You see, while I have a deep, personal love for my vehicle I can’t pretend she hasn’t seen better days. Particularly her driver’s-side door handle. Which is broken. I haven’t had a chance to get it fixed, and I’m a little anxious about doing so, because you know they’ll basically have to take apart the whole door to do it and then they’ll charge a preposterous amount for a part that is probably worth about 37 cents because of the “labor costs,” and good GOD, you people need to buy more of my books.

Anyway, with the battery too dead to even unlock the passenger or back doors, I suddenly found myself trapped. The car makers of America, in their infinite wisdom, decided that with keyless entry, they were really only obligated to put one lock on the exterior of the car. In the driver’s side door handle. Which, if you’ll recall, is broken.

I couldn’t open the car, couldn’t even reach the release for the hood to try to get another jumpstart or put in a replacement battery, because all of these controls are in the cab. So I began to circle the car, looking at it in the way that men always do, with the preposterous expression on our face that indicates if we just look hard enough suddenly we’ll switch to Predator-style infrared vision with a potential solution lit up in bright red on our viewscreens. The odd thing is, in this case, it actually worked. There was a second lock on the exterior of my car.

The trunk.

A slightly less stupid thing that car manufacturers are doing than eliminating all but the driver’s lock is attaching the trunk directly to the cab via the back seats. Access available. Of course, as those of you know have seen photographs of me know, my mad ninja skills are mostly in the categories of stealth and subversion… not in flexibility.

Still, seeing no other options, I unlocked the trunk, moved my spare tire out of the way, removed the emergency wheel from the back of my car, and climbed in. I wriggled past ancient manilla folders, pushed aside some old painting shoes, found a textbook from when I was obtaining my teaching certification that I don’t think the teacher ever actually used, reached the back of the trunk, pushed, realized I was on the wrong side of the trunk and it’s actually the passenger’s side seat that folds down, wriggled some more, felt my pants catch on something pointy someplace pointy things shouldn’t go, and finally pushed down the seat. I lurched forward, reaching up and into the back seat, grasped the door handle, and pulled.

And still, nothing.

Because the door was still locked.

A little more wriggling until I could find the manual lock by feel (because my body was certainly not bent at an angle that allowed me visual access), opened it up, and finally got the back door open. Reversing my snakelike motions, I got out of the car, climbed in the back, opened up my driver’s door, and finally, triumphantly sat down.

And, because I’m a creature of habit, I put my key in the ignition and turned it.

Silence, my friends, is sometimes the cruelest commentary of them all.

2 Responses to “The Ford Focus Ninja”

  1. 1 Kenny Fanguy
    April 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    O how I wish I could have seen you’re mad ninja skills! (P.S. it might be cheeper,and easer, to just get a new car,just saying)

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April 2012

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