Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mirrors and batteries

Some drivers like to set the side mirrors on a car so that plenty of the side of their own car is in view. I like to joke that the person wants to check whether the car is clean or dirty.

I used to do this myself, when I started to learn to drive as a teenager. My motivation was to give myself a frame of reference for what I was seeing. But it's less safe.

Picture a searchlight shining into the darkness. A narrow beam allows you to see less, and a wider beam allows you to see more. Similarly, when you angle the mirrors inward to give yourself a view of the sides of the car, you narrow your field of view.

The rearview mirror lets you see back, and the side mirrors let you see ... to the sides. The idea is to give yourself a view of that vehicle lurking behind you and to the side.

Alas, I must now resort to a crude drawing:

If you still don't understand, then hang you.

For years, my lovely wife was in the other camp. She just did not agree with me on the mirrors issue. This is the sort of thing that 80-year-old spouses argue about to their death beds.

Then we got a mailing from the insurance company, and one of the things in there was a tip sheet on how to set your mirrors. I began to notice that when I drove the cars, I no longer had to adjust the mirrors to widen the view. I assumed that my lovely wife had forgotten to narrow them.

Then I found the tip sheet and triumphantly showed it to my lovely wife, expecting her to be unimpressed. It turned out, however, that she had already read it and had been adjusting the mirrors for a wider field of view.

This is just one of the things I admire about my lovely wife. She is open-minded.

It was that same week that she finally got tired of all the batteries in the refrigerator and took them out. I patiently explained that the refrigerator makes the batteries last longer in storage by slowing down chemical reactions that enable discharge.

Then I went and looked on the website of a battery manufacturer. They said that room temperature is fine for battery storage, and that refrigeration is not needed. It can, in fact, slow down battery responsiveness when the battery is still cold. It's not recommended.

My lovely wife was right, and I told her so. The moral of this story is: No matter where your marriage is currently, remember that it can never be as good as ours!
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com