The way we live now, part 2

My car emailed me this morning with a low battery warning.

And that’s actually more of true a statement than not.

You see, part of my multi-pronged Verizon package* is a device called the Hum. I think of it as the poor man’s On-Star: a gadget/speaker-box that would allow me to call out for road-side assistance in the case of breakdown or accident.

A picture of the 3 OnStar buttons (phone, OnStar and Emergency) built into a rear-view mirror.

You see, when you’re classy, you get to have your tech built into the rear-view like in the photo above. Instead, my gadget just clips onto the visor like souped-up garage door opener. But even though I have the non-luxury version of this asset, it’s given me peace of mind to have this extra bit of equipment in the car as I’ve been commuting in snowy New England conditions these past several years.

But I hadn’t ever paid attention to this whole other diagnostic suite of features the Hum has.

That is: not until the Hum app emailed me at 16 minutes past midnight with a “Yellow” battery alert.**

Email text:

Vehicle:2010 Subaru Forester


Your 2010 Subaru Forester has triggered a “ Yellow ” battery alert at 12:16 AM on 12/08/2020.

Your battery is low (between 11.8V and 12V) and your vehicle may not start

For questions about this alert, please contact the Hum Mechanics Hotline at 1‑800‑ (redacted)


Hum Customer Service

Yeah, it’s kind of Orwellian, but I’m appreciative.

I wasn’t completely shocked by this notion. Mr. Mezz and I try to make sure both our cars get exercised during our errand-running, but the post-Thanksgiving surge means we’re back to going out only every couple weeks or so, like we were during the first stretch of lockdown. So that’s fewer trips over all, and we’re keeping our destinations narrow and closer to home, which means less road time in a couple different ways.

And the weather’s turning colder, so there’s that, too.

But the part that struck me funny this morning, as I lay in bed googling “how long to drive to charge car battery” on my iPad, was the sheer number of articles that popped up discussing the larger societal trend of folx driving less because of COVID and thereby needing to attend to their cars’ battery life. (1, 2, 3, 4.)

So it’s not just me. Instead, it’s another strange thread in the warp and weft of how we live now.

Anyhow, I waited until the slick early morning driving conditions had eased up, and then I took the longest, most pointlessly scenic drive to the Dunks drive-thru window ever.

A light grey car diving on a landscape that is flat ice through the entire field of vision.
I did NOT want to be in this kind of situation.

But hey! Iced coffee,*** and the car battery is saved.


* Cell, iPad, mobile hotspot for travel (sob!), etc.

** So you see the technicality here is that the App sent the email rather than the car itself. However, since little Gatsby had to be talking to the App or it wouldn’t have known to email, I choose to talk about this as “my car emailing me.” #CloseEnoughForJazz

*** Yes, I drink iced coffee in December. #NewEnglandPride


Image credits:

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