Pop the Hood

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Pop the Hood“Pop the hood, Maaam,” the kid at the gas station barks. Now of course, those words are only heard in Oregon gas stations where you are not allowed to pump your own gas. Now that is my kind of state! You can’t pump gas but you can decide what method of execution if on death row.

I don’t know how to pop the hood! The first time I took my Jeep Cherokee into the gas station I had to hop out of the car and say, “I don’t know how to do that kind of thing!” Actually, I don’t want to know what the engine in my car looks like. I mean, really, I don’t care…. Well.. as long as it works.

But, often, it doesn’t work. Each part under there has its own lifetime… and they all don’t coincide. Some parts keep running until they need social security. Other parts… they just can’t stand the heat… if you know what I mean. Some parts are female and have PMS, I swear they get temperamental! Some are male and supposed to hook up with the female parts… but they are having relationship problems. There are belts that break and fluids that leak. Much like ourselves! Cars have their own life under the hood!

There are computers in your car. Chips that can monitor almost everything… except delete radio stations that carry rap or country. I remember watching the movie “Apollo 13. At one point the astronaut is floating around trying to figure out his trajectory to get the spaceship heading back toward the earth. He calls mission control…. “Hey, Mission Control… check my math,” he says. The next shot of mission control has all these guys pulling out pencils and slide rules to figure out the mathematical equation that will bring them home from the moon. They didn’t have a calculator! And to think that the computer power in our cars instead of figuring out how to get to the moon…. sometimes can’t get us to the grocery store….

Why is it that computers in our cars can only be “read” by the service department. They plug in a computer and can supposedly read what is wrong. Now… we pay for that, of course! Imagine if we could hook up our car to our laptop!

I look forward to the day when there is a computer readout on the dashboard that clearly states the problem with the car, how many miles you can drive it before getting the problem fixed, and how much it will actually cost you. I will probably continue to be oblivious to the workings of the car just like I am of the washing machine. I want a car that keeps going just like the batteries that won’t quit or the engine that says, “I think I can, I think I can…” And despite all obstacles, it can.