Monday, November 3, 2008

Mind Over Halogen

Last week as I left the house to go to work, I stopped in my driveway to pick up some litter from the street. It was still dark out and I had the car lights on, so I took a moment to walk around the station wagon and make sure that all the lights were working: side markers, headlights, taillights, and license plate. They were, and I got back in the car thinking that it has been a while since I had to change out a headlight… and a good thing, too. It is a procedure that requires removing the grille and then taking out the entire headlight assembly to get to the lamp itself. The lamps are halogens, and while they’re not terribly expensive, they’re delicate; you’re not supposed to touch the lamp with your bare fingers because your skin oil can cause the lamp to heat unevenly and then break. I couldn’t remember the last time I replaced a lamp, though; it must have been at least ten years — and one new grille — ago.

Well, I’ll bet you know what happened this morning. Yep. I got in the car, turned on the lights in the garage, and noticed the driver’s side low-beam headlight was out. (There are four headlights; two high, two low.) Drat. I live in a suburb that is known for having very vigilant police who don’t like to see cars going around with only one headlight. (I’m surprised I haven’t been pulled over for driving a 21-year-old car with a big CDN oval on the back. It’s there because while I’m a U.S. citizen, the car itself was built in Canada.) So during lunch I popped over to my local Advance Auto Parts store and bought two new lamps (they usually go out in tandem) and spent about fifteen minutes doing some shade tree mechanics.

I am always amazed at the power of the human mind; I can make a light bulb burn out just by thinking about it.