Saturday, February 6, 2010

So I'm sitting in my rental car, space 241, with a key fob thing-a-ma-jig in my hand. And suddenly it occurs to me... there's no keys on my key fob thing-a-ma-jig. Not a single key.

But they told me the keys were in the car. And they were. Sorta.

The key fob thingy was sticking out of a hole in the dashboard near where you'd find the gas tank release or the hood release. And I had to yank it to get it out of that hole... so I guess that's where I needed to stick it back in... to... what? Start the car? I don't know why, but I did.

Then I saw a button on the dashboard that said START. So I pushed it.


I pushed it again. The doors locked and the lights went out. But nothing else happened.

I pushed it again. The lights came back on. I pushed it ten or twenty more times, each time causing the lights to either come on or go off. Once the radio came on, too. That was fun.

There was a picture of a brake pedal on the dashboard and the words "emergency brake" next to it. I alternated between pushing in the emergency brake and then releasing it. But that was a waste of time.

I refused to get out of my car and go ask the folks at the Hertz desk how to start the car... I just refused. I didn't want to look stupid, after all.

So I called my daughter. She laughed at me. She was three states away and laughed that I expected her to show me how to start the car all the way from Texas. I asked her anyway. And her advice was great. PUSH THE BUTTON.

Yeah, I'd already tried that.

Then, out of the blue, the car started. Why, I'll never know. 'Cept I did notice that I had inadvertantly put my foot on the brake. The real brake, not the emergency brake. That must've been it. It was the brake all along.

And off I went. I was stylin' in my 2010 Nissan Altima HYBRID with only 100 miles on it. The smell of this new car was intoxicating...

I was most impressed though by my push button car. All you had to do to start this car was PUSH THE BUTTON! And, of course, have your foot on the brake.

But the funniest part of it all? That this was NOT modern technology. Back when I was oh, about three years old, my mom drove an old 1957 Chevy... (she called it a Chivy, in her thick Texas accent) that had a button on the dashboard to push... to start the car. Too bad we didn't keep that car. It'd be right in style now.

And even funnier? The next morning when I came out of my hotel and got into my car? I followed all of the above procedures. Even had my foot on the brake... and that darned car WOULD NOT START! I was so frustrated.

I was very close to getting out of the car and looking for someone to help me... when... all of a sudden... the car just started.

I still don't get it. And I dread turning the engine off each time I get out of my car... for fear that I won't be able to start it again...

Sure wish my mom was around. With her Chivy. I'll bet she could get it started. And she'd probably also know the incantation that needs to be recited four times before the engine turns on... she was smart that way.

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