Open the thingy! (aka: How we almost crashed the car)

by DannyUK

Kids are the source of just about everything weird that seems to happen to me. Well kids and Tasha, who seems to act as though she has the mental age of a cat (yes, that doesn’t make sense, but equally it won’t offend any parents and carers of mentally-aged whatevers.)


I was driving the kids back from school today, with my 7-year-old daughter having won the right to sit in the front of the car (and trust me when I say “won”, any immediate imagery of fights that the word kicks up are probably correct.) As we were driving along, she wound down her window.

We have a decent car. It has air con. I remember my first car which was an old “Y” registration Mini - 14 years old when I got it, and the only air con that had was a small rusted hole in the passenger footwell, and windows that didn’t quite wind all the way down.

The car I currently drive has proper air con. You press a button and if you left it running it’d double as a refrigerator. PROPER air con. I’m also mindful that as the air con is used, fuel consumption levels increase, and as a tightwad, I hate having the windows open at the same time. Back to the story.

My seven-year-old wound down the window as we drove along in a fully air-conditioned car. I moved my hand down to my door and pressed the button to wind the window back up.

“But daddy, I’m hot!” seven-year-old whinged.

“The air con is on,” I countered, waving a hand in the direction of the air vent furthest away from me, “open the thingy…” I said as my hand floundered about in the air like Michael J Fox trying to give a high-five.

“Open this?” seven-year-old, clearly confused, an emotion I should have clearly picked up on.

A car air con vent.  Taken from an article by

The “thingy” that I was referring to.

“Yes!” I said, wondering why it was such a strange concept for her.

Then next couple of seconds were aural hell. A click, followed by a beeping sound and sudden shouting from within the car. For some reason, seven year old had completely misunderstood me and opted to open the passenger door as we drove along at 40mph in rush hour.

Fortunately the door didn’t open far, and swung back immediately after being opened, partially shutting itself, and as I frantically checked mirrors, looked behind me and swung my arm over to close the door properly I was able to get the door shut completely.

Seven-year-old remained quiet as I asked - fairly calmly, considering - why she’d thought I had meant she should open the door.

That’s been my afternoon…


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