Car lights and cloudy days

A calling

gray carMy wife and I were going to meet a couple of friends on Labor Day for ice cream at a local emporium. But her hybrid vehicle’s car failed to start. Why it didn’t is a bit of a mystery. If she had left the car lights on or failed to turn off the vehicle – much easier to do than with the cars I grew up with – the car would have “told” her.

In any case, our friends came to our house, armed with cups of frozen desserts. We sat and watched the AAA fellow recharge the vehicle. I keep forgetting that they now carry portable chargers rather than having to jump it using another car.

My wife with one of our friends drove off to make sure the car’s charge held. The other friend and I sat on the porch. The situation reminded me of something I used to do in Binghamton, NY growing up in the 1960s.

Binghamton is cloudy and sometimes rainy. So a lot of people would accidentally leave their car lights when they parked. I took it upon myself to open the driver’s side door and turn off the lights. I must have done this over a thousand times in my life. One day coming home from high school, I  turned off at least a dozen lights.

The open-door policy

Obviously, all of these cars were unlocked because that was the norm at the time. The number of cars I could not open because the door was locked was at most one in 20.

I don’t know what possessed me to do this. It was a calling, a mission. I’d cross the street to do it. Maybe my parents left their car lights on. But I have no specific memory of that. I even tried to do this in Jamaica, Queens in 1977, but the guy came back and thought I was trying to steal his car. Only rarely have I tried that since mostly because almost no one keeps their cars unlocked.

BTW, my friend had never done this. Have any of you?

Speaking of car lights, one of the things my wife and I agree upon is visibility. When it’s gray and overcast or raining, cars without their lights are difficult to see. But the ones that are silver/gray are the worst.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Car lights and cloudy days”

  1. I’ve never done that, no. But maybe I just lived in a sunnier/brighter place or something? Not all that long before I left Illinois, they passed a law requiring that people turn their headlights on whenever they turned their wipers on—this was in the days before daytime running lights were standard. Nowadays I’m always a bit surprised when I see an older car that doesn’t have daytime running lights, something I just realised I only really notice on those gray days.

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