I go into the garage and turn on my car.
The windshield wipers start going. Okay, that's not completely weird, it might have been raining when I came home last night, maybe I left them on.
I turn them off. Except that I don't really turn them off, they're already off. The windshield wiper controls are in the off position. I decide I've forgotten how to operate them and turn them on. No change. I turn them off again. They continue to operate the same rate. I press the knob that does the washer mode thing. Car obediently squirts some water and wipes it off...and continues to wipe.
I turn the car off. The windshield wipers continue unabated. Now I'm baffled. I take the keys out of the ignition momentarily while I debate whether I go back upstairs or go to the service station. The windshield wipers continue. I back out of the garage. As I do so, I notice the onboard computer isn't entirely working. The compass is displaying properly, but the temperature slot is blank. I cycle through the available modes. It correctly identifies the mode, but all the numbers are missing, replaced with dash characters.
I glance at the gas gauge. Flatline empty. What? I had half a tank when I came home last night. Now, I'm a computer person, and I think like a computer person, and at this point I'm thinking, "computer error." I've had a processing chip go bad in my car before and I'm familiar with the collection of disparate and seemingly unrelated symptoms of a computer chip failure. In that case it was the fuel regulation chip, so it wasn't doing anything like this, but it had the same "WTF. Nothing happening makes any sense" feel.
I drive to the service station, which I only half remember where it is. Clearly the car wants to go, because I find it with minimum of mishap. I pull into the parking lot, and my first thought is "Wow. They've changed this." I find someone and explain my problem, including that I'm afraid to turn the car off because I don't want to kill the battery. They listen politely and direct me to the building two doors down which is the service station. I'm on the showroom floor. Right.
I get back in the car and go to the service station. I park the car, leave it running, and go into the garage intending to go from there into the service station. My old service station had an info desk on the side of the garage. A guy intercepts me, asks me what I need. I start my sob story and he evicts me (somewhat nicely) from the garage and tells me to back through the proper entrance. So I go in the proper entrance and walk over to the cashier, she's in a proper receptionist's style desk, and I start to tell her my sob story. She cuts me off and sends me to the two people at two desks a bit further inside that do service triage. How stupid is this setup? Am I just a raving lunatic at this point who can't understand the grand order of the universe? She's a receptionist sitting a receptionists desk, but doesn't do reception-type work.
Anyway, I explain my story again. He agrees that I should leave it running, just in case. So I go sit down to for the diagnostic. I have time to talk to hoppie a couple of times, make two more crystal diamonds for Violet's necklace, debate what project to work on, go to the car to get my materials for said project, and check and send work emails before I see my keys come back from the service area. One of hoppie's coworkers pointed out that it being Friday the 13th, this seems entirely reasonable. Actually, that's the best explanation I've heard. Poltergeists should be able to power wiper blades without requiring power from the engine.
10 minutes later, the triage guy comes over to explain that the dashboard computer failed and had to be reset. It seems to be working fine now. They can't tell what caused it. He thinks maybe it was water, but there's no way for water to get in there, it being centrally located within the car, so they really have no idea, but it seems to be okay now. That'll be just the amount under your deductible, ha ha. You're all set.
"So how come it works without the power?"
"The onboard computer has its own battery power source so it runs all the time. It was running off that." Ah. Sure, that makes sense.
So I grumble, pay, and head out. I call hoppie from the car to give him an update, then turn the radio on. The radio does not turn on. I look at the display, it's blank. There are three lights to illuminate the balance controls, and they're blinking. I continue up to the street to the rotary that's pretty much the next turn available. I turn completely around on the rotary and go back to the service station. I walk into the lobby and the people I was sitting near before are somewhat surprised to me. "The radio doesn't work." I explain.
I return to the triage guy who raises an eyebrow quizzically at me. "The radio doesn't work." I say. "Right." he says. He disappears into the garage and comes back a few minutes later. "Let's just take a look, shall we?" I hand him the keys and we proceed to the car. "Did they say, 'she must be crazy. Verify her story?'" I ask. He laughs, "Nope. Just want to see if there's something I can do quickly to fix it."
He looks at it, notes the blinking lights, turns the car on. Notes the lights are still blinking. Turns the car on. Turns the car off and says, "I think you're going to want to bring the car in to have us look over the electrical system next week."
Yeah. So. I started to head to the office when I realized, I can work from home and not have to turn the car off and worry about what it will try to do when next I turn it on. And so here I am, and PS: It's a long drive with no radio.