too many words by laura lemay

Always read your radio

The right channel of the stereo in my car has been dead for a while now. Its not really an important thing, I suppose, but it gets quite annoying at times, especially when the music you’re playing assumes that the right channel will be there (“Music music music / mmmph mphh phphph”). So this past weekend I decided to take my stereo out of the dash and see if I coulnd’t find out what was wrong with it.

This is more difficult than it seems. When I bought the stereo, I discovered that the hole in my car that was designed for the stereo was too big for the one I bought. The installer explained that to me when he put it in, and told me to be gentle. I was gentle. A month later I gently put a tape into the player and the whole stereo gently popped through the dash onto the floor.

So my stereo is duct taped to the frame of the car. I have often said that if any poor soul attempts to steal it, they’re going to have some fun, because the damn thing is meant to *stay* there.

So monday, after I had removed the stereo dash cover, the stereo, the speaker wires, the antenna, and various other wires that didn’t seem to go anywhere that I could figure out, the stereo still wasn’t working. So I removed the right side of the dash, and the carpeting, and the glove compartment, and the right side heater, and traced wires for a while and still coudn’t find anything wrong.

Pissed, infuriated, and dizzy from having to lie upside down under my dash to see what was going on, I gave up, and left the stereo on the floor. %(*#()*$(* #$%%.

Yesterday I decided that no right channel was better than no music at all and connected the stereo up again. So I was driving around all day yesterday with the stereo on the gearshift, playing out the left channel, and the time blinking annoyingly at me partly because I was too pissed to fix it, but mostly because I can’t remember how.

While I was at a stop light, I was watching the time blinking at me, and I noticed some fine print above the volume knob that I hadn’t seen before. It was up at the top of the stereo, and because I had duct taped the stereo to the frame it had pulled it up under the dash cover a little, so this fine print had been hidden.

It said “push for bal.”

It took a little while for this to sink in. I hadn’t even realized that my stereo *had* a bal. Surely all my sufferings over taking my car apart weren’t because I had accidentally turned the balance all the way to the left….?

Push, turn. Bingo.


I am so embarrassed.

Moral of the story: never attribute to technical complications what can better be explained by simple human stupidity.