Hard Drives and Driven Hard

socs-badge-2015Linda Hill over at LindaGHill.com has curious sense of humor. In her email yesterday to those of us who follow her, she said:

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: ‘temp.’  Use a word with ‘temp’ anywhere in it – beginning, middle or end – or use it as a word all on its own. Enjoy!”

When I read that prompt and see the “Enjoy!” tacked onto the end, I am reminded of a trip to Home Depot. 7:00 am on a Saturday, I schlepped my cart up to the counter and unloaded a wax ring, toilet supply hose, toilet tank gasket, a toilet fill valve and a couple of packs of allegedly brass bolts onto the counter. Beep Beep Boop, the original, not the sequel that’s playing in WordPress, and the clerk presents me with the total cost. Credit card swiped, receipt printed, bag-o-stuff handed off and the clerk smiled and said “Have a great weekend!

Of course, could cover the spread on this deal by saying something like “I’m going to attempt to…” but that’s not my style. I take Linda’s prompts seriously. Plus I think I read something about “enforcement” somewhere in the SoCS plan of operations. Seriously, as soon as I read “temp,” two image came to mind. One is on the dashboard of my 1977 Dodge pickup and the other is everywhere.

If you have a temperature gauge in your car, you probably never see the needle out of the safe zone. If you have an “idiot light,” it probably only ever comes on when you start the car.

Car makers started swapping out gauges in favor of indicator lamps as early as the 1930s when Hudson, yes that was a car brand, started using Low Oil Pressure lamps instead of gauges. I don’t know when they started calling them idiot lights, but the term was well understood by the time I started driving in 1970. A gauge requires thought. The person reading the gauge has to interpret the parameter that is being measured and know when to be concerned.

Cars are much more reliable these days, but I was frequently concerned when driving that truck. It started OK, but it had a healthy appetite, and not just for gas. Gas went in at the normal rate, but every other fill-up had to have a quart of oil as a chaser. I used to call it a “rolling oil change” – others were less kind. In fact, a derisive definition of DODGE was “Drips Oil & Drops Grease Everywhere.” My truck also required an infusion of anti-freeze fairly often. I’d be driving along and the needle on the Temp gauge would start to climb into the red zone. I carried two gallons of a 50/50 anti-freeze and water mix in a space under the hood, right behind the passenger headlamp.

The everywhere Temp is a folder name. Not just one folder, tons of folders. People create temp folders, systems create temp folders, I create temp folders, I even have an old digital camera that created a temp folder for some files that it transferred to my laptop. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a temp folder under the dashboard of my Jeep. I no longer need to carry oil and anti-freeze, but I might need a flash drive.

61 thoughts on “Hard Drives and Driven Hard

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          1. To be honest, I’m missing my posts as well. However, I write so much entire day that by the time I wrap up, I have no mental strength and stamina to write for myself. However, I might write one tomorrow for myself. I have so many topics lined up for you guys and for others who read my posts. Being busy is good, but then I do not get personal satisfaction because I can’t write for my own blog. I guess I am saying the same thing over and over. Hope things settle down in the coming weeks.

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  1. My old Dodge station wagon (remember them?) had a device that was a high-bred between a temp-gauge and an indicator light. When the car warmed up, it glowed like a day-after campfire coal then intensified as the engine (inevitably) warmed toward overheat.

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    1. I do remember those station wagons, my father had a few. Chrysler did some interesting things on the dashboard. We had a 1960-ish Dodge Polara that had a bubble-dome instrument panel with back-lit gauges that looked like they used a black light. Maybe the designers were experimenting with “substances”

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  2. When my old silver van died last year, it was replaced by a newer silver car. One morning I frantically called the dealer because this light came on with a squiggle under it and I was not sure what to think. I had driven around with it on for about a week because I thought it was a temporary thing, but it wasn’t. Turns out it means my tire pressure is low. New fangled gadgets…..

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  3. I think the clerk knew what you were up to and threw in some irony just for aa chuckle. I loved the story about the Dodge. I was thinking while reading that maybe it was still with you which would have been the eigth wonder. Have a great weekend Dan.

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  4. Ha, I hadn’t heard the joke acronym for Dodge, but I DO remember hearing years ago that Ford stood for either “Fix Or Repair Daily” or “Found On Road Dead.” I guess there’s a knock on every car-maker out there!

    I certainly know what it’s like to have to carry some pre-diluted anti-freeze around to help out a car prone to overheating. I can remember dreading stoplights and heavy traffic, because I knew I’d see that needle start to creep up. HATED that.

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  5. My father lent me his 1970 teal green Jeep Wagoneer for a few years in college. The gas gauge didn’t work. The line to the gas tank was curved so when I got gas, the pump would stop every few seconds due to the build up in fumes. And there was no top to the gas tank. So, I would always overflow causing owners/clerks to come racing out and shout for me not to start up the car or risk explosion. One summer, I was studying at Cornell, and I chanced the same gas station a second time due to their low gas prices. The above scenario occurred, and the owner raced out, only this time, recognizing my distinct car, adding obscenities to his shouts. I ignored his dire warnings, roared away only to have my escape stopped by the President of Taiwan’s motorcade, a Cornell alum who was taking a back road to attend his reunion. So, there I was across the street from the station, the owner still outside, shaking his fist at me, while a parade of impressively long and black cars passed between us. It is a memory that always makes me laugh and wince. No idiot lights on that car.

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    1. That’s a funny Elizabeth. I’ve owned cars without working gas gauges. It’s funny what we used to take in stride. Today, if you leave the gas cap off, you’ll have a Check Engine light in a few miles.

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  6. The first word I thought of when I read your word prompt was “extemporaneous”. Way back when I was in Toastmasters each week someone in the group gave an Extemporaneous 2-5minute talk on a word that the Chairman tossed out on the table. How I stressed out over those talks when it was my turn!

    Your SoCS posts remind me of those talks!

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    1. Thanks Deborah. I was in and out of Toastmasters for a total of about 10 years. I loved Table Topics. I never thought about the connection, but maybe you’re onto something. I’ve always said that preparing speeches for Toastmasters helped me become a better writer.

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  7. One of the Marines I supported during his numerous Iraq & Afghan deployments emailed me after one particularly harrowing mission when the TEMPS were at the normal 100+ , the guage on their Hummer stopped working and the engine was overheating and it was a total *clusterfudge* miles from base. They had to run the heater fullblast the whole way back. As if being in hell weren’t enough, they had to temporarily jack up the heat.

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    1. I love that you’re getting extra mileage out of the new word Sammy :) I’ve driven many miles with the heater on high (as has Linda, see above) in that 77 Dodge and in my Triumph Spitfire. At least no one was out there trying to kill me. I’m not sure most drivers today would remember that trick.

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  8. I’m relating to the “driven hard” part — I was in “ITIL” training most of this week. Ugh… how can something be both boring and grueling? However, I can’t stop laughing about the DODGE acronym. I’m sure it’s been around for a while, but I must have missed it. Have a wonder-filled weekend. (PS: Your episode of my serial will be live in a moment.) Hugs!

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  9. One of my favorite cars I ever had was an old Dodge shadow. I loved that car and drove it all over making sure I always keep water and antifreeze in the back. It always seemed to run a little hot even after several thermostat changes. Maybe its a Dodge thing.

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  10. I call the low fuel light the idiot light. BUT my new car actually counts how many miles I can go when fuel runs low. I don’t use it, but I like it’s there. The Mister keeps Bonnie Blue all fueled-up!
    I loooove the Dodge derisive definition, because oh my goodness, we’ve had three Dodges (I’ve had four) and they have all leaked oil like a sieve! If you had any idea how hard it was for me to type that without swearing four times, you’d be so proud of me.
    The head gasket blew in one of those Dodges so as the temp shot to red and trembled, we went red as well. Then there was a lot of green, like 700 green. lol
    Great post!

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    1. Ha ha – every Dodge I owned leaked oil. I used to always snag some big hunk of cardboard to put on the garage floor for the winter. I am amazed at your restraint. I’ve done the blown head gasket color change too, but that was on a Pontiac. BTW, I keep the Mrs’ car all fueled up too :) Thanks for the comment.

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        1. I think it is. I think the SoCS posts are closer to my “voice” than any others. Sometimes, I have a tendency to overwork these posts, trying to sound more something or less something. These keep me grounded in my own thoughts. Sometimes that’s scary, but… :)

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  11. Dan, you made me laugh regarding DODGE …. for we too at one time had a Dodge pickup that did the exact thing. Very clever of you how you put appropriate words to the letters. Now I drive a car that talks to me telling me my oil level is OK or not, my engine TEMP is OK or not …. LOL. Another great post. I’ve also been thinking about the other post you had (the one Faith told you it was an easy hike) and I forgot to tell you I enjoyed seeing you, the person behind No Facilities. Hope you are having a great weekend!!! Love, Amy <3

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      1. LOL@Dan! I had so many clothes on in that pic I looked like a snow-woman! Hehehehehe PLEASE don’t remind me what is coming. Me at the lakefront is where I am at … that is my zone. I LOVE LOVE LOVE water. And not when it is frozen. Tee hee …. <3

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      1. That Dodge was our first vehicle and we hung on to it as long as we could. Now, Dan, here I thought you a genius for thinking of those words. Why did you have to get honest on me? LOL No matter, I still think you are a genius. <3

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    1. I do too Glynis! I’ve owned five Dodge vehicles in the past 30 years and I’m driving a Jeep today. Both of the pickups I owned leaked oil and drank anti-freeze. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. This was an amusing post, Dan. I liked the guy in the hardware store. Hope the toilet situation didn’t take up too much of the day. I hope it was only a temporary annoyance.
    I have owned in the past 9 years, two leased Neon cars and now, currently since no more New Neons, I drive a Dodge Avenger. The Avenger makes me feel a little jaunty.
    The car that overheated on me the most was a Chevrolet 3-seater station wagon.
    I used to like those full service stations during my single Mom days. The tempo in our lives was rather frenetic and my voice sometimes staccato as I dictated my motherly commands, Dan! :)

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  13. I am tempted to say there is too much ‘temp’ in this world. We recently had our bulk pickup day. That’s when the city will pick up any large bulky items people want to throw away. And every year there is a lot of stuff on the curb. A lot. So much of it is made of plastic and that fake wood stuff that just disintegrates. It reminded my of Wendell Berry saying that we could save a lot of forests if we made things that could last.

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  14. Though I never write to prompts, I love it when others do, because I like thinking about the prompt and how I would respond. Though I’ve seen plenty of temp gauges and temp folders in my lifetime, my mind went instantly to the all female dorm I stayed in during my first year in college. It had no name because it was a temporary facility being used while a new dorm was built, so it was known as Temp. I loved it because it had large, unscreened, ground floor windows easy to sneak in and out of after hours during the age when doors were locked at 10:00 and dorm mothers patrolled.

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    1. That would have been a good story in response to the prompt. I do this prompt from time to time to force myself to think about a response coherently. Hopefully, I get something reasonable on the page.

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