>Driving with My Brake Lights On

by jvaragona

>You may think from the title that this will be about some cautious time in my life and I am metaphorically “driving with my brake lights on”.

Just take it literally.

For the past 5 days, my brake lights have been on while driving. Since I noticed and my neighbor also pointed it out to me, I have been disconnecting my battery at every destination or leaving my vehicle running. I’m sure it looks interesting to people when before entering my car, I go under the hood for a second and then jump in and start it. I did notice a funny look on the face of an elderly woman pumping gas next to me at a gas station. Then again, that was also after I told the pump, “No I will not go see the fucking attendant” when it told me to do just that. I prepaid $15 and it stopped at 4 cents past that. I’m assuming they were going to make me pay for that, but it was their pump that stopped 4 cents too late, and I wasn’t told to stop it on my own.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve been a bit testy lately, but I’ll get to that later.

I’m hesitant to fix my own car or even investigate the many issues that the DiabetoMobile has. My 1990 Honda Accord has 215,000 miles on it. I have had quite a few mini-problems along the way, but the engine hasn’t failed yet and that is what matters.

The mini-problems like this one become a little more scary when I have a job that requires me to drive so much. Imagine driving over a hundred miles every day with your brake lights on the whole time. It presents an odd situation. Either folks are so discombobulated by you riding the brakes, even while accelerating, that they simply go around you, or you get the hard-asses that ride your bumper and honk like that will magically fix everything. The funniest was a guy driving a DirectTV truck. Why would you make yourself look like such an idiot if you are representing a company, and if I really wanted to, I could easily identify you and your vehicle and make a complaint?

After a bit of online research, I figured out that it had to do with my brake switch. Most likely, it was defective. I contacted Babyface Pinoy from the now defunct Filipino Mafia, because he helps me maintain my foreign vehicle, which isn’t to say that only foreigners can do that, but he is good at that, and he isn’t a foreigner, but an American because he was born in this fine country run by messed up people. That was a run on sentence. Anyway, he couldn’t help because he’s a busy family man I’m sure, so I was left to fend for myself.

Since I am poor, my mother came over to assist me with a flashlight and cash. That could be taken the wrong way, so please don’t take it that way. First she brought over a brand new shiny brake switch. After I actually stuck my face into the mess under my steering column, I realized the problem was much simpler and cheaper. A small piece that engages the brake switch, which disengages the lights, was crumbled and in effect, not doing its job. I think I saw it the other day, and for some reason thought it was a piece of a crayon that made its way into my car, so I tossed it. The fellow at AutoZone told me it was a dealer part. I asked if I should just rig it up, which he grinned at and confirmed that I had the right idea.

I tried a few bolts when I got home to my vehicle, but they were too small, but it can be rigged, oh yes, it can be rigged. It can wait till manana though, and then I can keep my battery hooked up.

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And now to what makes me testy. When I was downsized, I addressed my landlady in a blog, stating that I wouldn’t pick up my dog/daughter’s poop anymore until the lawn was mowed. Shortly after, it was mowed, although I am sure the two were not connected. That was after about a month of it not being done though.
Once again, it has been over a month without it being touched, but this time the 4 foot high weeds were at least pulled earlier this week. I left a message on her voicemail and her man showed up instead. He told me that the lawn looked fine, yet it grows over my feet. He told me they didn’t have to notify us that workers were coming in our yard everyday to work on a mother-in-law house behind our home. We asked why so much work on that and none on our unit. He replied that they are moving into the 3rd unit very soon. When we said that we never agreed to this nonsense, he scoffed at us and said, “If you want to spend money on a lawyer, go right ahead.”

I later received a call from him saying that someone would be by to mow the lawn the next day. Strange how one says there’s no problem, but does something to rectify that non-problem. He also adds that I need to pick up my dog’s mess everyday, which his lady friend told us every week or two would be sufficient. If they really kept up with our joint, I’d consider it, but we are from from that point.
So I picked up all the poo, and lo and behold, it is 5 days later and the lawn still hasn’t been mowed. The new poop shall stay and torment the workers in our yard. They leave trash back there anyway, so it’s how we fight back.
Renting is no good. As much as I have read that tenants have rights, they really don’t. A tenant can’t end a lease if the landlord goes against it, but in the reverse case, it is a no brainer, you’re out to the curb.
Twice our gal came in without notification, which is illegal. We confronted her on it, which she neither confirmed or denied. She did however complain that supplies she left behind on those occasions were tampered with by myself. Oh well. Maybe if I didn’t have to have a bathtub faucet head fly at my foot the first time I attempted to shower, things would be different. Or maybe if after we asked for little things like a light in the rear and a working lock on our back door, we didn’t get an eye roll and no response, things would be different. It is amazing what a call to the city and 13 code violations can do to get things done. Unfortunately, there are no more definite code violations, just annoyances, so they know that is their loophole.
A couple of months ago, I accidentally busted the water line to the ice maker as I moved the fridge to clean up mouse crap. They fixed it, but later sent us an invoice for $65. We asked nicely to take it out of our deposit, to which we were told they’d talk it over. No response was given until 2 months later when we get a new bill stating if it isn’t paid in 15 days, a 24.99% APR will be applied. First, I never signed anything stating an interest could incur and I never signed an invoice giving a price at all. She has to take it from the deposit, but figures we were stoopid in the first place, so hey, why not try to push this one over.
I know when it comes time to recover the deposit, the courts will be the only way. Wouldn’t it just be easier to treat people how you would like to be treated instead of like pond scum? I could say more, but I will save it for later.

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