Class Lesson:In class yesterday, we went over the basics of electricity: protons, electrons, conductors, insulators, series circuit, Ohm’s Law (E=IR, one volt pushes one amp through one ohm), volts, amps, ohms, watts, etc. Mr. Shado said that no one really understands how electricity works, to which Sleepy (the kid who fell asleep in the previous class) piped up with “like women.” Mr. Shado said he’s been married for 45 years and still doesn’t understand women. A nod in my direction and I confirmed that, indeed, I don’t understand men so we’re basically even.
We had to sit alphabetically, which put me next to 19-year-old Jiffy (so named because he works at, you probably guessed it, Jiffy Lube). Now, Jiffy is a smart kid. He’s been working on cars for pretty much his whole life. He’s “car smart” (can wax poetic on the slight tint differences in the various shades of red paint that Chevrolet uses) as well as “useless information smart” (the origination of the word “fob”), although you could argue that the first example is really better assigned to the latter category. But he’s 19 and still a little socially ignorant. Let’s go back to class.
The flow of electricity is the movement of electrons over atoms. A basic series circuit has the following parts: battery, fuse, switch, and resistor. Fuses are coded with how many amps they can take and the codes are based on a color system where the colors represent specific numbers. The colors are (in order): black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, gray, white. Mr. Shoda said he thought there was a mnemonic device out there to help remember the colors and Jiffy piped up with:
“Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly.”
Seriously? Now, I could get on my feminist soapbox here about how men in power don’t see anything wrong with the word “rape” in a mnemonic device, or how a word that can bring potent fear into the hearts of women doesn’t even hit a blip on the insensitivity meter for men, or even how poor Violet gets a bad rap, but I don’t think I need to. When I scoffed at Jiffy, he simply shrugged and said “well, that’s how I learned it.” I told Nanook about this last night and her response:
“Welcome to the boy’s club. Just wait until you get to the pin-up calendars.”
We discussed real-life examples of wiring problems, but we still haven’t touched an actual car. Mr. Shado promised that we’ll get an in-class lab to play with circuits tonight.