Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Would you like Wipers with that?

Winter in the Cape is characterized by cold, rain and traffic jams. The Capetonians turn into idiot drivers as soon as a few drops fall from the sky.

On Monday I had a run in Olivia through to one of our e-waste processors, loaded down with the insides of monitors. In the rain. Over horrific roads. And back through Stellenbosch rush hour.

Being the Cape, and specifically the winelands, folk are generally laid back and slow moving. Factor in the post-school pick-ups, the end-of-day uni students and the general office worker / manual labourer traffic - it turns into chaos.

So there I was pottering along in Olivia through 5pm traffic. It's cold, it's raining - and by law you need your lights on in this weather. Except, if I put O's lights on, I can't do anything else! Her battery isn't holding a charge too well. Add a heater to the load (yes, this is a Series III with a heater thanks to her previous owner, along with Favourite Man's fan restoration and ducting) and the voltage drops to the point where her tracking unit starts sending "low battery warning" SMSs! Add wipers... well, same effect. (Add in the dodgy brakes and who needs gym when you're playing in a one-man band to keep everything ticking over while struggling through the gear changes)

Here's how you do it then. When you're idling at a red light, the lights are on. When you pull away, you give a few brief swipes of the wipers as you accelerate to see where you're going, then put them off. Once you've gathered speed, you hope the wind resistance will clear the screen, then hit the heater switch to defrost your hands and feet until the next red light - where everything except the lights goes off again.

Olivia is going to need a battery transplant very soon...

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