The Dark Side of Trial and Error

I’m a trial and error kind of guy. It’s how I got through the few math classes I got through in high school, and how I learned to code. It’s still how I code, more often than I like to admit. It’s like a trusty friend, and it’s always there for me. Except when it’s not.

I own an old Honda Civic. It’s a relic from my pre-child, pre-wife days. I’ve thought about getting rid of it a number of times, but I can’t really pull the trigger. It takes me hiking, and skiing, and to the airport when I don’t have the family with me. And it’s fun to drive.

However, it’s no spring chicken. It’s almost 2 decades old. If cars could get driver’s licenses, it would be able to drive itself. Still, I hang onto it.

About a year ago, I realized the rear passenger door wouldn’t open from the outside. I thought it was locked. It wasn’t. Weird. It opened just fine from the inside, was definitely unlocked, but would not open from the outside. Nobody ever really rides in the car with me though, and certainly not enough people to require filling up the backseat, so I ignored it.

A few months go by, and this has become very occasionally annoying. If I ever need to put something in the back seat, I invariably try the passenger side first, and then have to walk around to do it, or to open the passenger door from the inside. I’m annoyed enough now that I’m passively trying to figure out how I’m going to fix it.

Until one day, when it finally hits me. I sat down in the car to drive to the office, and the thought of the non-working rear passenger door flashed through my head. And so did the solution. Of course! How could I be so stupid! The child lock! It’s got to be the child lock! I bet my son did it. Little rascal.

I got out of the car, reached through from the driver side to the passenger side, and opened the door. Ran around the outside to the passenger side.

I got down to have a look, and the child lock wasn’t on, as I expected – it was off. Weird. But that was easily explained, right? I had never actually used the child lock on this car. I bet the sticker is just upside down or something. That happens, right? Sure. Just flip the switch, it will work. Awesome.

So I toggle the child lock. At this point, it appears I’ve turned the child lock on – but hey, trial and error. And I shut the door. And in the very moment that the door slams shut, I remember how child locks actually work – by disabling the interior handle, not the exterior one.

And that was the last time that door ever opened.