To me, it means that somewhere in the 'verse a Honda engineer owes me an explanation.
Failing that, they need their ass beaten. Badly.
The story begins with lunch. At my new gig, the noon hour and parking restrictions coincide to put me in my car looking for something to eat.
This is not a bad thing.
I hit a local food cart and bop back to the car before the meter expires. It's a killer day - all sun and I'm tempted to just sit outside instead of heading back to the cave to work on shell scripts.
At this moment - a horribly loud noise blasts all tranquil thought out of my head.
It's hard to remember exactly, but I think my train of thought went like this:
What the F%&* is that noise?And so on.
Holy God, that is annoying!
It's a F%&*-ing car alarm!
Whoever invented those needs to die from an overdose of red-hot pokers…
The peculiar thing about car alarms is that they are hard to localize. Something that loud should be easy to isolate, but at a distance the sound seems distorted and up close your mind is too occupied with DEARGODMAKEITSTOP to give a crap about looking for the car with the flashing lights.
I'm at exactly the MAKEITSTOP range and I nearly drop my lunch to cover my ears. My thoughts were something along the lines of:
GODIHATETHATSOUNDOkay, don't even act surprised. You know full well it was coming from my car.
ITSOLOUD ITS LIKE ITS COMING FROM MY CAR AND-
And I think everyone's had that experience with their car's alarm.
Annoyance followed by bewilderment. Why is my car honking?
And I am SO at that stage. I have just unlocked my car - WITH my key - and the car alarm is blaring.
Beautiful day, blue sky, happy office lunchers out lunching… me standing in front of a car that's at DEFCON-1.
Is now a good time to point out (yet again) that the public reaction to a car alarm is to forcefully ignore it?
No one cares if my car is being stolen - I'm literally a block away from a parked police officer.
Soon as the klaxon sounds, I become the un-person. Everyone wants me gone.
I want me gone, for F%&*'s sake.
Getting into my car is so automatic, I'm seated and putting the key in the ignition and willing the car to shut the hell up before I've fully realized what is going on.
The car starts.
MY CAR IS RUNNING WITH THE KEY IN THE IGNITION - and the alarm keeps going.
Exhibit A to the unknown Honda engineer: What. The actual. F%#*?
I shut off the car. The alarm keeps going.
I turn the key to "On." The alarm keeps going.
At this point, the urgency of the situation begins to limit my imagination. I think I'm justified in not seeing the obvious way out.
Sidenote - Another reason I was confused about what to do:
My key is a valet key. Which means it only unlocks the door and starts the car (I guess car design logic is that a valet wouldn't think to pull the trunk release lever beside them as they're tooling away in your car. I digress). I have a valet key because of the weight of my keyring.
For a good long while, I had every key in my life on a D-ring attached to my car keys. Over time, the weight of this keyring pulled on the keyfob case to the point where it separated.
So, I glued it, and re-glued it - and one day it fell apart and spilled its electronic innards all over the floor.
As anyone with a modern car knows- replacing a key these days is a stupid hassle.
Mind you, I have a economy car.
Yet replacing a single key on my budget compact costs $120 and requires that I bring the car and ALL of its keys to the dealership for recoding.
I have not been eager to take this step as I have better uses for $120 and an entire afternoon during business hours.
All of this is a long winded way of saying: I'm less than confident that my key has the capabilities of its full fledged brethren.
Horn blaring, lights flashing, engine RUNNING - I cannot come up with the obvious solution - so I go for the surefire plan B.
I open the trunk (despite my valet key status, hah!) and get out the toolkit. I pop the hood and using vicegrips (the only essential tool) I disconnect the battery terminal.
Silence. Blessed silence.
At this point. I do what anyone would do. I sit the F%&* down and I eat my F%&*-ing lunch.
And it's a good lunch, too. On a nice day, no longer sullied by angry bullish!t car alarms.
My meter's about done, but I figure the cop who has ignored me thus far will continue to do so.
Guy sets off car alarm, opens the hood, disconnects battery and eats lunch. Nothing odd there...
Lunch done (it was yummy)- I opened my glovebox to figure out what the F%&* I should do about the F%&*-ing alarm.
I keep the car manual in the glovebox and after five minutes of flipping pages and scanning the index, I find it.
Not under "Alarm" or "Car Alarm" or "Security" (although there's a section on the Radio's security system, which was completely unhelpful) - but under "Features."
Three pages into features, I see a security system reference and find the obvious solution.
You see, my mistake was getting into the car.
Disabling the security system/ear-splitting klaxon requires being outside the car and unlocking the driver's door using a key.
Exhibit B to the unknown Honda engineer: What. The actual. F%#*?
I get why unlocking the driver door would disable the alarm. I do. But why is it the ONLY way to shut off a system that (as we have all seen) is RAMPANT with false starts?
More to the point, where in the manual does it tell me how to shut off the car alarm for good because I hate the damn thing so much?
Because - F%&* it. Steal my Effing car, already. You want to take my car from my driveway? Just don't wake me the F%&* up when you do, 'kay?
I'm insured - and I need my sleep.
Having read the obvious solution - I re-attach the battery cable, shut the hood and get back in to-
I sh!t you not, some vestigial notion of "I'm being stolen" lingered in the car's RAM just long enough to set it off again.
Armed with the obvious solution, I unlock my driver door and the car shuts up for good.
Having ruined everyone's lunch hour silence, I slink off to find a new parking place.
-Only to encounter the second annoying security feature of the day: My radio - having been separated from its power supply for more than 10 seconds - demands I supply a passcode, or else it will refuse to activate the radio and dash clock.
Against all probability, I'm actually ready for this scenario. Honda radios have a passcode on file with the dealership. If you call them, give them your VIN number and radio serial number, they will give you the passcode to access your radio.
A few years ago, I had a dead battery long enough to trigger this scenario. When I called, I didn't have my serial number, just the VIN. The guy on the other end gave me the code anyway.
So, a thief with my car could read the VIN, call for the code, and get it - no questions asked.
I put this code into Evernote, so I could have it for later.
Now is later and I log into Evernote and punch in the code. The radio springs to life and I'm back to normal again.
Even if I still have no idea why my alarm went off.
Even if my alarm does nothing to protect my car.
Even if my radio code does nothing to protect my radio.
Even though the odds are I'll remember none of this the next time my alarm goes off and I'll try (like this time and the time before) to disable the alarm by starting the car.
And then - yet again - I'll be looking for answers from some Honda engineer.