buzz off

A while ago my car developed an annoying buzzing. When I started I thought it was a fly trapped in the car and buzzing against the window, but there was no obvious sign of any insects. Then I wondered if a wee beastie had got inside the driver’s door (because it sounded like it was coming from that side of me). However, unless the wee beastie was extremely long-lasting or was breeding offspring at an unprecedented rate I ruled out the wildlife concept after a couple of days.

I concluded, therefore, that something must have worked itself loose inside the door. Finding the cause was proving tricky, however, since the buzzing only occurred when the car was in motion and even then was intermittent. I tried lowering and raising the window, but that made no difference. It did suggest to me, however, that the cause of the buzzing may not have been the window winding mechanism.

Being unable to find and resolve the problem was irritating me, and the intermittent buzzing felt like a taunt when it occurred. I began to make a mental note of when it occurred and realised that the buzzing did not happen when the car was on smooth, freshly laid tarmac. However, since there was no chance of only driving on freshly laid tarmac when I wanted to get anywhere that revelation did not resolve the problem.

I had the car serviced a while back and toyed with the idea of asking the garage to resolve the problem. But not knowing how long it would take to find the cause of the buzzing and stopping it meant that this could be expensive at the hourly rate they charge so I didn’t ask them. I decided that when I had the time I would take the door card off myself and see if I could find the problem and sort it out.

I did often have the time, but whenever I thought about it I was deterred by the thought that it could lead me to making things worse as I didn’t really know what I was looking for, so I never actually got around to it.

Then, a week or so ago, I was driving with my wife and the buzzing started as we drove over a less than smooth road surface. I listened hard, once again, and it seemed to me that the buzzing wasn’t coming from directly beside me, as I had previously thought. While concentrating on the driving I tried to isolate where the sound was coming from and it seemed to be in front of me, but to the right.

That’s when I realised what was causing the buzzing.

I have a small clear plastic clip that is tucked into the bottom corner of the windscreen so that I can tuck parking tickets into it when I need to display them. Over time the ‘sticky’ has become slightly less sticky so that now, on less than smooth roads, the minor vibrations cause it to vibrate against the windscreen – doing an impression of a fly that is buzzing against the window. The solution? Tuck an old ticket into it so that the plastic is not touching the glass.

Phew. Silence. The ‘fly has been banished’.

And PHEEEEWWWW, I didn’t spend a lot of time or money getting the buzzing sorted by taking apart the door. And imagine the embarrassment if the mechanic had found that it was the parking ticket clip after all!

I don’t imagine any of you have been bothered by pesky unfindable sounds in your car, have you? You would have found it right away, wouldn’t you?

The lesson? Always check out the possibility that something small can resolve irritation for yourself, or for someone else – a piece of paper in a ticket clip, an apology, a note of appreciation, the toilet seat put back down…

Be blessed, be a blessing

bad ads

Is it just me, or are adverts becoming more annoying? Not necessarily the ones on TV, but the ones that intrude on our daily routines.

I just had a panic online when a pop-up advert I was not expecting popped up and told me there was a problem that needed fixing. I know enough not to click on them, but getting rid of them by clicking on the ‘x’ always fills me with dread in case someone has changed things around and it actually means ‘accept’ rather than ‘go away’. It led me to post a warning on Facebook, just in case, until I had checked it out and been assured that it was not a genuine problem.

I have discovered that sometimes adverts appear at the bottom of bloggages here. I have to say that I have no control over them and am not endorsing any of them, I am not sponsored by any of them and I get no revenue from any of them.

There are adverts all over Facebook. They may or may not be genuine, but I am not going to click on them, just in case.

And don’t get me started on the spam emails offering me… ahem, you know… or telling me that someone I have never met wants to give me millions of pounds, or that I have won lotteries that I have not entered.

Then there is the amount of junk that gets lobbed through our letterboxes every day. It must be about a tree a week that is paying the price for us being told that our (rented) house is valuable and estate agents would like to Crammed mailboxsell it for us, that someone who can only afford a cheaply photocopied piece of paper is qualified to come and clean our carpets, that there is takeaway food available, and so on…

And now they are knocking on our doors trying to get us to sign up for charities, change our electricity suppliers and buy double glazing (don’t they ever check the windows before they knock?).

This is not so much a grumpy old man whinge as an observation. Don’t these people realise that they are annoying us? Don’t they realise that the more they annoy us the less likely we are to respond to their adverts?

I hope and pray that churches never fall into that trap. It seems to me that Jehovah’s Witnesses are close with their persistent campaign of door-knocking that has now become such a cliche that it is almost comical. It seems to me that people who stand on street corners haranguing passers-by with quotes from the Bible and telling them that they should turn or burn are in the same league.

I’m not suggesting that we should keep quiet, or that we should not be sharing the most amazing news the planet has ever had. Far from it. But please let’s think about whether we are going to be more annoying that a blessing. I doubt that many people have been irritated into the Kingdom of God!

Which list of words seems more attractive to you:

Love, service, friendship, blessing, support, encouragement, peace, prayer,  generous

Sin, death, hell, shouting, cold calling, interrupting, uninvited

Be blessed, be a blessing.

Responding to an advert:

A large, well established, Canadian lumber camp advertised that they were looking for a good lumberjack. The very next day, a skinny little man showed up at the camp with his axe, and knocked on the head lumberjacks’ door.

The head lumberjack took one look at the little man and told him to leave. “Just give me a chance to show you what I can do,” said the skinny man.

“Okay, see that giant redwood over there?” said the lumberjack. “Take your axe and go cut it down.”

The skinny man headed for the tree, and in five minutes he was back knocking on the lumberjack’s door.

“I cut the tree down,” said the man. The lumberjack couldn’t believe his eyes and said, “Where did you get the skill to chop down trees like that?”

“In the Sahara Forest,” replied the puny man.

“You mean the Sahara Desert,” said the lumberjack.

The little man laughed and answered back, “Oh sure, that’s what they call it now!”