Embarrassing Public Moments: Volume 2: Light Automotive Repairs

You’re driving home one night, and a cop pulls you over only two miles away from your place. He says you need automotive repairs and proceeds to write you a ticket for an alleged nonworking license plate light. You’re like …

To the officer: “What’s a license plate light?”

In your head: “What the HELL is a license plate light?”

“I didn’t even know I had one of those.”

“I didn’t know anything about that.”

“How was I supposed to know the thing was out?”

“You’re really gonna write me a ticket?”

“Is this a prank show?”

Okay, so you didn’t really say that last line, but you wanted to.

Being pulled over for anything is embarrassing enough but being an ex-automotive technician who didn’t know what a license plate light was took the whole cake and some milk too. Sure, you had heard of it before, but you had no idea it was a required working accessory and not just a cool option.

You had sworn off of cars and deemed yourself retired after your long-term job ended some years ago. So, you’re a little aggravated that you have to do light automotive repairs, but okay. You certainly don’t want to get another ticket if you don’t fix it right away.

You leave your car parked at night until your lamp comes in, and then you ride to a random store parking lot to avoid being seen tinkering. You’ve always been met with everything but love over your desire to do automotive repairs, so you try to stay low-key with it.

You unscrew the two stubborn screws and remove the entire assembly carefully. You then leave the wires hanging over the license plate while you grab the new assembly, but then you remember—you left the new one at home.

Ug. You’re so put off by the recent pullover that you’re afraid to leave the wires hanging over your plate on the ride home. There might be a law against that too, and you don’t want another ticket.

So, you say to yourself, “Let me push those wires in just a little bit,” thinking they’re clipped in place (original clip was broken, original owner had left it like that) and firm enough to stay where you can reach them later.

The cutout. It’s very small.


The wires disappear and fall into the rear bumper immediately—and you have no way to grab them because the cut-out isn’t big enough to fit your arm. Your tiny hands, wrists, and arms usually save the day, but not this time.

You’ve now turned a five-minute job into a light automotive repairs project! Doh!

You try fishing the wires out with a hanger and a few other rigged-up retrieval mechanisms that don’t work. Then it hits you: you’re going to have to take something apart and do light automotive repairs.

You examine the car’s rear design for a few minutes and then peer underneath it to see if you can route your way to the wires from the bottom. Maybe, but you’ll have to remove too much stuff and do acrobatics. You’re not in the mood. Pass.

Then you open the trunk and look inside.

“F^*% that! I’m not doin’ no type s%^& like that!”

You feel silly about the whole thing until you realize you aren’t the only person who has done it. The model-specific forum had a few males on it complaining that they had done the same thing. Of course, they didn’t intentionally let go of the wires like you did, but we won’t talk about that.

They were sharing what they did to fish the wires back out. But um … none of them succeeded with hangers and rigged appliances either.

Now you have no choice but to go in through the rear, which requires you to disassemble some things and crowbar open a space in the bumper fascia large enough to fit your arm.

*We’re not going to talk about how aggravating those weird screws with the grommets were. *

You go to a different parking lot to avoid being seen, and you finally finagle just enough space to squeeze-scrape your arm in there, grab the wires, and push them back through the cubby. You get the light installed just fine after that and everything works.

You’re not sure whether you had a good time doing light automotive repairs or not, but you’re glad you don’t have an electrical problem.

You’re about done with automotive repairs, and you still need to move the wires out of sight and secure them. But you have to pull your pants up repeatedly because you’re wearing the Levi’s Low Rise Plumber’s Crack Edition. There’s no telling how many passers-by saw the crack of dawn that day.

*No, the automotive repairs weren’t fun, and you’re still retired.*