A week or two ago I was driving to an audition in New York, and because it was an early November evening, the sky was pitch black. I drove through the darkness, out of Vermont and down the east side of New York State, with no terrifying incidents to speak of, but when I got to New Jersey, something odd happened. As I was traveling along Route 17 I saw a quick flash of light, but couldn’t tell where it had come from. The light was bright enough to give me pause, and I looked around to see if someone had flashed their headlights at me for some reason. Except this flash was much quicker than a headlight flash. It was there for a fleeting instant, and then gone.
I kept driving, not dwelling on the light much, until it happened again. Now I was starting to get weirded out. The only thing I could think of that would make such a quick flash like that was a camera, and my mind was suddenly flooded with the memories of all the speeding camera tickets that had been mailed to me when I lived in DC and Baltimore. Could that be it? Were there speed cameras installed on Rte. 17? And did I just get two tickets? I mean, I was speeding, obviously, but so was everyone else, and they were not getting flashed at.
I became very concerned that I was going to suddenly owe thousands of dollars in fines, so I slowed way down, just in case, and made it out of New Jersey and into New York. And then I saw another flash. Ack! Did New York have them too? Did I now have three speeding tickets coming my way?! My wife was going to kill me! This audition had better go really well, because I needed a job to pay for all of these fines I was accumulating. But when I arrived at my destination I scoured the internet for any mention of speeding ticket-giving cameras along my route, and found nothing. There were no cameras there.
After my audition I had to drive home again, and the beginning of the trip was once again uneventful. But as the sun went down and I drove through the rural highways of upstate New York and into Vermont, the light returned. It was following me! It seemed like every time I went over a major bump, this flash of light would go off! And then it occurred to me that perhaps the light was in the car with me. I tried to look in the rearview mirror to see if I could catch the overhead light acting up, but it was hard to do, since the light appeared very infrequently. But eventually I caught it. My overhead light, which was set to “Door,” kept quickly flashing every once in a while. I switched the setting to “Off,” and had no more problems.
Of course now the light no longer came on when I opened the door, which was quite annoying at night, so after a few days of this I switched it back to “Door.” I had very few problems with it, until last night. Last night I was out driving in the evening, and the light flashed again, but this time it was a longer flash. And in fact, it started happening more frequently. Whenever I made a hard right turn, or hit a bump, the light would come on, sometimes for a few seconds at a time now. So I did a little experiment. I pushed gently on my door. The light came on. I pulled the door handle toward me. The light went off. Mystery solved!
So it was not a ghost light after all, and it is not faulty wiring either. Great news! It’s just that my door is about to fly open at any second and eject me onto the highway at 65 mph! I pushed on the passenger side door, and there was no light. I pushed on the door behind that door. No light. I pushed on the backseat door behind my door. The light. It was back. Both doors on the driver’s side turn the light on if you push on them. And it probably happens all the time, except I don’t notice it in the daytime. So, now what? Are the doors safe? The door seemed latched when I pushed on it, and the door open light on the dash didn’t light up. Maybe it’s electrical after all. Or maybe, just maybe, the car is haunted, and it is the ghost light!
I don’t know what the answer is, or which answer I should be hoping for. I guess I should compare the costs of a new door, new electrical wiring, and mechanical exorcisms. Then I could hope for whichever costs less money. Or I could go with the truly cheapest option: switching the setting back to “Off.”