S-M-R-T

Do you ever feel like you need a t-shirt that says “I’m with stupid,” but has the arrow pointing directly up at your face instead of to one side? I did today.

I got my car washed, then I went to the grocery store. When I came back from the grocery store, I noticed that the little yellow lights in the front next to my headlights and my taillights wouldn’t turn off.

I hadn’t noticed this at the store because it was sunny out, and I was also not looking for anything wrong with the car. And I also was trying desperately to get my grocery shopping done before the fact that I hadn’t eaten all day hit.

So I was stumped. I tried every switch, button, or doodad I could see. Nothing worked. I asked a couple people, and consensus was that if I couldn’t find anything, it was probably a short.

After a great deal of futility (and putting my perishable groceries in the fridge), I said fuck it and took it to the dealer, figuring that perhaps they could at least do a quick fix so my battery wouldn’t die.

So I go in, and Chris, the Subaru service guy I like is standing there, and says, “Well, what’s the problem?” I tell him I took it to the carwash and the problem. He immediately got an “Aha!” look.

He reached into the car, flipped a switch on top of the steering column that I had never even seen, and the lights magically went off. Apparently, the switch got flipped when the carwash guys were dusting off my dash.

I wanted to crawl under a rock.

I realized that the reason I’ve never seen that switch is because I’m too short. The angle I sit at in the car, I can’t see that switch because the steering wheel/airbag blocks my view. I wouldn’t have even thought to look for a switch there.

I felt slightly less stupid when Chris, the Subaru guy, told me that people come in with the same problem 4-5 times a week. As long as I’m going to feel stupid, it’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

It’s the law of cumulative stupidity: The more common a mistake is, the less dumb you feel for making it.

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