Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Replacing

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It turned out that yesterday’s cheer about getting the car going again was a bit premature. This morning it didn’t start yet again. Thus hinting that perhaps the battery wasn’t just flat but broken. Which seemed even more likely after we figured out that it’s probably still the car’s original battery which has done the job for many years now. The next step was getting a new battery and replacing the broken one.

Getting the battery was the worst part. I had hoped to just pick one up at the petrol station down the road and take it from there. But their ‘shop’ will sell you all the essentials you might need in the areas of booze, spliff papers, frozen foods or tit magazines but they don’t do car battery. Silly me to think they might sell such things at a petrol station. Which meant I had to go all the way across town to a car dealer and get a battery there.

Now car dealers are strange businesses. There must be shitloads of money going through there and the people working and shopping there certainly are on a different wavelength than I am. For example the guy in front of me in the queue who wanted to buy a Golf GTI handle for his gearbox but reconsidered when it turned out that piece of metal/plastic/whatever costs around €150 – he then investigated getting some silver decoration stuff to put at the bottom of the doors.

At which stage I could finally get my battery. At a bit over €60 those aren’t cheap. But once you compare them to computer batteries they actually are. Particularly as they last longer and you get a much more robust and large thing for your money. Which is a polite way of saying that the battery was friggin’ heavy and I had to take it back home from the other side of town in my backpack on the bike. Or — to put it yet differently and share a bit of the style of those drugged up web pages which need a positive spin on everything — I could just say that this presented an awesome opportunity to add the word sackschwer to my active vocabulary. What a wonderful day!

OK, getting the thing home was really the worst part of all this. A bit of fiddling, along with the usual confusion about which direction of rotation loosens and which fastens screws, later I had the battery replaced and the car was working again. Hooray. Let’s hope this lasts.

New car battery

While I was at the car dealer’s I also got a Feinstaubplakette for it. Now that’s just another silly bit of German law. To keep air in cities cleaner, some cities can now ban cars whose emissions are too high. But to make this work everybody who wants to drive inside one of those ‘zones’ now needs to get a coloured sticker indicating how clean the car is on the windshield. And cities need to put up signs at the beginning of the zones to indicate them properly. Germans just love putting up signs.

Sticker for the Umweltzone

Now all that remains to do is to return the old battery for recycling. Apparently there’s so much lead in there that they actually charge you a 12€ deposit when you buy the new one which you only get back when returning the old one. And – best of all – as I was at an authorised VW dealership they can also unlock the radio for me even without the code. No idea whether that makes the radio’s security system particularly secure but I’ll surely appreciate it.

April 12, 2008, 1:23

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