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Ford Explorer, Make It So

2003-10-21 - 8:10 a.m.

Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge is alive and living in my Ford Explorer.

Last night, on the drive to my Dad's house (where I take advantage of a big huge upstairs to work out like a freak, although conveniently enough Joe Millionaire premiered last night, so I was able to catch it as I do not own my own television) the "Check Engine" light comes on. I check all my gages and they read as fine, and I had only gotten the oil changed last week (the mileage read that I still had over 2,000 miles to go before I had to change it again, so unless someone took a joyride to St.Louis and then reversed the entire way back, I was fine). My Dad says he'll check it out in the morning, so I tuck myself in upstairs for a night of Adult Swim and Spike TV. It's like cocoa for the sophomoric brain. The next morning, he says it isn't the fanbelt or anything else he can see. I drive it to work this morning, keeping a careful eye on all the gages, and the Check Engine stares at me in its yellow indignation. I run by my house to pick up my work clothes (I hadn't intended on staying the night at my Dad's but, you know, the car) and when I get back in the car the light is still on. So I decide to go to Starbucks.

Now before you say anything about my living in one of the best alt-rock-hippie-BoBo towns in America and going to what Janeane Garofalo aptly christened "The Bennigan's of Coffee," let me say that it is an addiction and one that I cannot overcome. It's not that I want coffee. I just want a huge cylinder of chocolate caffeine. When you grow up in a town like San Antonio and you need to stay awake on the 20 minute drive to class, you need Starbucks. When you have a 9am class in college and your dorm is right across the street from that green beacon of hope, you need Starbucks. Also, no one else in Austin wakes up early enough to serve me coffee before my job starts, so judge not lest ye be judged, people.

Anyway, Starbucks, big huge mocha, blueberry scone, back to car. As I turn it on, the "Check Engine" light comes on yet again. I begin asking it what the Hell it wants, I get an inkling of what it must be like for new mothers to face a screaming child. I wish that this were a car of the future, like the Ford equivalent of a starship. I wish there was something that could tell me what the Hell was wrong with my goddamn car.

In an attempt to amuse myself, I say outloud, in the deepest British accent that I can manage: "Mr. Data, have Mr. LaForge run a full diagnostic on the engines."

I drive onto Riverside.

I drive onto Pleasant Valley.

I drive onto Cesar Chavez.

And the light has gone off.

You know, when I got myself a big black computer, I had to name it Darth Vader. A few years later, when I got a sleek black laptop, it just had to be Darth Maul.

As for my cell phone, the first one looked like a shuttlecraft, so whenever me and Trekkie friends (which is most of them, probably) would be in line for a movie or waiting for a table, I'd take out the phone and fly it around and they'd laugh, and then we'd notice people staring at look sheepish for a minute, and then giggle again when they would turn their backs. It's the little things, really. So that phone became the Shuttlecraft.

When I moved, I needed a new phone, so I got myself one and broke off the antenna in relatively little time. Then I dropped it and cracked the screen, so that there was a big blue blur where numbers and the time should be. However, I noticed that the phone began to heal itself. Suddenly the numbers could be seen behind the blur, and then the blur faded into a single blue scar circling the display. It healed itself. I looked up from the display and said to my little sister Dolo ( "Dude, my phone is Wolverine!"

Sadly, even Wolverine must eventually succumb, and one day I bought myself a new phone that, thankfully, has had no reason to heal itself.

My car, on the other hand, seems perfectly capable of doing so provided I speak to imaginary NextGen crew members. It makes sense, when you figure that my car already has a tractor beam (pulling in cars until they ram into me, or pulling them in front of me and stopping them) and a cloaking device (allowing cars to believe I am not really there, and that they can therefore get into the space I occupy--and before you say anything about Federation starships not having cloaking devices, Worf stole it from some Klingons, and shut up). For these and many other reasons, I will now christen my car The Enterprise, and hope that any further problems can be resolved by the little blind guy and the pale android living somewhere near the carburator.

Now if I can only find the phasers on this thing . . . PS: Homogenic might be my favorite Bjork album. Just thought I'd let everyone know to settle the debates.

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