Posted By Caulimovirus on May 29, 2006
“Why Contentment Is Troublesome”
.: It takes quite a bit of effort to motivate me into action by way of irritation. That is, if something bothers me, I usually let it continue bothering me since the amount of effort I must expend to rectify the situation is most likely at a level sufficiently high enough to be more bothersome than the original act of irritation. In other words, I’m incredibly lazy.
.: Of course, there are some objects and events that are so incredibly bothersome that I will stop at no length to rid the world around me of their immediate presence. A few examples are ticking clocks, mosquitos, and squeaky ceiling fans. However, most of the time if something I own isn’t functioning properly, I’ll spend the least amount of time, money, and effort towards fixing the problem. Case in point: my car stereo.
.: I enjoy listening to music more than the average person. I don’t believe I’ve gone a day without hearing a familiar tune or humming a delightful melody. That’s why, several weeks ago, when my car’s tape deck fiendishly decided to stop working, I was crushed. It happened late one night when I wasn’t there to witness the events. The morning after, my tape deck wouldn’t recognize the adapter I use to play my iPod. To further compound matters, it wouldn’t even eject the damn thing, so I couldn’t play actual tapes I had purchased from several clearance racks.
Fig. 1. My friend Hunter, an engineer, tried removing the jammed adapter. As you can clearly see, engineers have difficulty distinguishing tape adapters from buttons.
.: For the rest of the week I listened to NPR, during which time I learned that several people in the country don’t like the president, oppose the war in Iraq, and really need money from me so that they could continue not liking either of the aforementioned items. I was tempted to give them some, but at the same time I couldn’t help but think what better use that money would go to if instead I bought a new tape deck.
.: Then, a few days later, while I was packing away my computer for the trip home, an idea struck: I have an inverter, a power strip, and computer speakers — what’s stopping me from simply plugging everything into the twelve volt power port? As things turned out, I now have a very good answer to that query, one which I discovered today and will reveal near the end of this post.
.: In the mean time, my planned worked wonderfully. To hell with NPR; I could listen to whatever I wanted to listen to, at my own pace and at my own whim. I no longer suffered the mendicant programmers and reporters who interrupt their stories every ten minutes to make me feel guilty.
.: But my new setup had many shortcomings not present in a typical car stereo arrangement. To state the most obvious, the subwoofer was inconveniently located where one would normally place one’s legs if they were a passenger. However, since I’m not a very popular person and have relatively few friends who need to be in the same car as me, this has only been a problem once.
.: Another drawback is that my computer speakers aren’t as loud as my car’s speakers. Coupled with my broken air conditioner and my frequent need to drive on highways, this doesn’t bode well for spoken word podcasts.
.: Also, another obvious drawback that you might have already inferred is that my computer would not have any speakers! Luckily, that problem was solved before it existed, thanks to all the computer equipment my brother left behind, including an extra set of computer speakers.
Fig. 2. Yes, that is a baseball bat on the driver’s side.
.: (On a slightly related note, my iPod is also partially broken, in that its battery no longer holds a charge. Since I mainly use it for driving, however, I haven’t bothered to find a replacement battery. Pressures increased, however, when my car charger for it also broke, rendering it useful only for precise and particular geometrical arrangements — meaning I couldn’t physically move my iPod at all, or it would suddenly go dead. However, once I setup my computer speakers in my car, I was able to simply plug in my iPod to the power strip, and all was fine. I think this contributed to my reluctance to fix my tape deck, since that would only reestablish the pressure to buy a new car charger or battery. I’m mindlessly simplistic and needlessly complicated at the same time.)
.: All this time, though, I never really gave a second thought to actually getting up off my butt and fixing any of the underlying problems. For those of you who are counting, they are 1) broken tape deck 2) broken iPod 3) broken car charger. Also, somewhat tangentially related is my broken air conditioner, and to a much lesser extent my broken radiator hose. In fact, that last one isn’t related at all, but it is costing me about $10 a month in antifreeze. Why have I not fixed it? My guess is that I wouldn’t have my car for at least a day or two, and fixing it would cost a lot more than $10 — and that just bothers the hell out of me. The point is, I am content with simply refilling my radiator once a week, because the alternative requires more time and money from me.
.: Now here’s the problem: I told Susan that I would see her today after she got off work, and now I can’t. Why? Because I left my speakers plugged into the twelve volt power port, and now my car’s battery is dead. My makeshift solution to an insignificant problem has resulted in unforeseen consequences that I can do nothing to fix, at least for now. And now I can’t help but think what will happen when the leak in my radiator grows too large. I should also change my oil soon, too.