Friends, countrymen, lend me your ears… I might just need them because mine are buggered.
Right now, I’m hearing a kind of ringing sound and everything else is a bit muffled. I remember a similar feeling when a bloke out in the middle of nowhere demonstrated his ‘party motor’ – a 454ci supercharged Chevrolet V8 on a trolley that farted flames out its sawn-off exhausts and pounded my eardrums like natives banging jungle bongos. I really thought I’d be deaf for good, but it all came good the next day.
But this time there was no party, or even a motor, involved. You see, my much better half has a Ford Focus XR5, a five-cylinder turbocharged hatchback that I love driving. Back when my earholes actually worked, I loved to soak up that lovely meaty exhaust note and the occasional pop from the pipe as it burnt off excess fuel.
Anyway, the battery had let me down the day before, but the RACV man who came to save me reckoned it was fine and just needed a charge. He also said I must have left the headlights or the radio on and gently implied that I was an imbecile.
Two days later, in a supermarket car park, I pressed the big cat’s-bum start button and heard the dreaded clickety-clickety-click of a rooted battery. If this happened in a movie, the camera would cut to a wide shot and a bird would fly out of a big tree as I bellowed an obscenity.
Turns out the RACV Imbecile Assist would come and replace it for $250. I could go and get a Ford-endorsed one for $100 less, but I’d have to fit it myself. That’s like three cinema choc-tops, so I had to do it.
The XR5 battery is lodged half under the windscreen wiper panel, which means it’s particularly tricky to get to. There was much grunting and cussing as I toiled away at a hard-to-get-at nut with a regular spanner.
I should’ve taken my geared spanners; I took a moment to think about how much I love my ratchet spanners. Those happy thoughts were shattered by the piercing wail of the XR5’s alarm.
Good god it was loud. The siren must be right next to the battery and the sound was amplified by the bonnet, which was right next to my bonce. I grabbed for the key fob to kill the wretched noise but it did nothing. I clumsily picked out the hidden hard key, unlocked the door and pressed the ignition, but nothing would stop the infernal din. Seriously, my ears have not been this abused since the years of Celine Dion.
Two minutes later, I finally got the battery connected properly and the bloody alarm finally stopped. And that’s when I realised that car alarms are completely pointless.
The siren was ridiculously loud, but no-one in that crowded car park did anything about it. They didn’t call the cops or even look twice. And I’ll admit it, I do look a bit like I would steal a car.
In fact, some people give me funny looks when I’m pushing my kid around in a pram, especially when I’m wearing a beanie and dark glasses. I reckon they think I just stole him, but they could just be looking because he is holding a Jim Beam and Coke (Dear Child Services, that last bit is a joke, he hates Jim Beam).
Think about it, when was the last time you heard a car alarm and thought, “golly, a crime is being committed. Where’s my cape?” You’re more likely to lie there thinking of imaginative ways to kill the jerk whose car alarm keeps going off when you are trying to sleep.
I guess the upside of my reduced hearing is that I am less likely to notice any stupid car alarms in future, which is good. But then I might also sleep through a smoke detector alarm and burn to a crisp, which is probably bad. Then again, I do have those choc-tops to look forward to.