I left the house the other morning at a quarter to six as usual. It was dark and cold. I drove to the barn to toss some hay to the goats and feed the rabbit before heading to school. As I left the barn I noticed that one of my headlights was out. No problem, I could do this! Several months ago I had replaced a tail light and had, being both frugal and relatively flush, bought the two pack of light bulbs figuring if one light had gone out the other would likely go out before long.
So I retrieved the extra light from the glove compartment and popped open the hood. It was too dark to see much so I flipped on my flashlight app and propped my phone against part of the engine. I unplugged the old bulb and pried off the rubber gasket. The bulb was secured by a metal clip that I had to open in order to remove it. It wouldn’t open. I pinched and pulled and squeezed and wiggled. It wouldn’t open.
There had to be a trick. I grabbed the owner’s manual from the glove compartment and found the page of instructions on replacing headlights. I scanned the directions and confirmed that I was doing the right thing and returned to the front of the car. My phone had slipped sideways on the engine block and was pointed up at the sky as if it was rolling its eyes towards the heavens and wondering when we would be on the road.
I squeezed and wiggled and felt the skin on my thumb split open, but the clip didn’t budge. It was getting late and my ‘quick’ fix was turning out to be neither quick, nor a fix! Blood dropped onto the bulb but even this sacrifice wasn’t enough.
I gave up. I need the half hour I have at school before the students arrive and this “repair” had already halved it. I would have to chance a ticket. I pushed the gasket back over the bulb and plugged it back in. The light came on.
Somehow I had forgotten the first rule of electric and electronic parts. Unplug it and plug it back in. Turn it off and restart it. Keep it simple stupid.
I retrieved my cell phone, closed the hood, and with frozen fingers and a throbbing thumb climbed into the car and drove to school, both headlights lighting the way.