This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Rental

So I had been driving the damaged Odyssey since the accident. It seemed drivable, despite the fact that the hatch did not shut enough to turn the sensor off. This had the warning light on my dashboard remain on, the interior lights would not shut off and the FOB didn't lock the doors -- all because it 'thought' the hatch was still open, even though it could latch.

Then there was the rattle and vibration. I wasn't entirely sure what caused that, but once the damage assessor took a look at it, I found out that the exhaust pipe had been pushed into the thingamajig, which was causing the rattle and vibration. I asked "It's still safe to drive, right?" and I instantly knew the look and hesitation he had was "No".

In fact, he had assessed the car at my workplace. I met him around lunch and had figured I would pull my car into a closer parking space after he reviewed it. But once he said "Even driving through this parking lot could do more damage..." I decided walking the long route back from my car to my building was just what I needed on that nice, warm day.

The following day I found a body shop to take in my car. The man I am working with, Brian, is the epitome of user-friendliness. I explained what happened and he instructed me on the steps I needed to take. LOVED IT. I could tell that he dealt with women-who-knew-nothing-about-dealing-with-body-shops before.

He explained that the car needed to be towed, since the assessor had deemed it unsafe to drive. So when I contacted the towing company (recommended by user-friendly Brian), I set up an 'appointment' for him to come by my house to tow the car into Brian's body shop, so that I could get it home from work.

The rental was reserved for me from the panicked-guy-who-hit-me mother's insurance company. I asked for a minivan, thinking, no, HOPING, to get to try out what's new in minivans. I kind of knew that wouldn't be the case when the insurance company mentioned it would be a Chevrolet. What do Chevy's make in minivans? The Astro can't still be around, can it?

At the rental company, there was one other person waiting for something. I didn't see any rental employees. The other customer kindly mentioned that 'he was in the back, vacuuming a car'. The rental guy showed up and explained he was finishing up something and he would help me as soon as he was done. No problem. I sat down and waited.

Soon, another woman hurries in with several big ass bags. She walks up to the desk, where again, no rental employee. She quickly turns to the first lady that spoke to me and barked "Is anybody working here?!"

"No, dumb ass. We just like to hang out at an auto rental place after work, looking at posters of happy people with car keys in their hands." No one said that, but I wanted to.

It took about six minutes, give or take a few seconds, for the rental guy to show up. But in the interim, we had the pleasure of listening to the lady-with-the-big-ass-bags huff and puff and talk to herself. Not out loud, but under her breath, so I couldn't even understand what she was saying...all I could think of is how deranged she must be...and did she realize how idiotic she appeared? Okay, maybe I was the only one that thought she appeared idiotic, but that's all that matters.

The rental guy then came in and told the lady-with-the-big-ass-bags that he would take care of me first. She barked something else at him, not happy that she wasn't being served because it was obvious that she was more important. I was nice enough to say he could help her. I was really getting tired of listening to her heavy breathing and I wasn't sure if I was sane enough to keep my mouth shut.

Once she's gone and taken care of, it's my turn. A second guy shows up and both men proceed to tell me that "It was an act of Congress to find you a minivan". With Mother's Day and graduation coming this weekend, most of the minivans had been reserved. They found one, they tell me so I feel pretty good.

Only in hindsight do I think it was a ploy on their part to make me really appreciate the minivan.

It is a Chevrolet Uplander. I have never heard of it, ever. I think Chevy is trying a name similar to "Highlander" to make it seem like one. It is butt-ugly. The front of the van looks like what an SUV looked like 10 years ago. The rest of it looks like what a minivan looked like 10 years ago. BTW, it's a 2007 model.

The doors are not automatic. Yes, I am spoiled. My Odyssey has automatic sliding doors. My mind set is more 'privileged' thinking, since I had assumed that most minivans would have this standard.

To move my seat up, I have to dig my heels into the floorboard while pushing a lever and moving forward or backward. This takes great effort on my part.

I have no FOB with this rental. So to lock it, I have to push the "lock" button from the inside, before shutting the door. However, one of it's features is to not lock at the first push of the button, but to ding a warning that you are about to lock it. So I have to push it again to actually have it lock. This takes several tries before I get used to the feature.

Another great feature is that there is only one keyhole. The driver side door is the only door with a keyhole. Not the hatch, not the passenger door. Just the driver side door. So in order to unlock the door, I have to go to the driver side, use the key, open the door, then push the unlock button. The problem is that my habit is to put groceries, kids, bags, etc. either through the passenger door, the passenger sliding door, or the hatch. I haven't gotten used to that feature, so I am usually cursing as I figure out what to do and start moping to the driver side door.

And yet another feature is the radio does not turn off even when the keys are turned all the way 'off' AND when the keys are pulled out of the ignition. I can't tell you how long it took me to figure out that this was a feature and not a flaw, and actually, I am not entirely sure if that's the case...

Even my friend, our babysitter Christina said "Man, that thing is ugly."

The user-friendly Brian updated me on Friday about my other car. Parts have been ordered and they'll get them in sometime next week. I'll get my car back around May 29th. It's only May 11th and I'm stuck with this rental until then...

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