Life Matters

Which one is it?

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I recently had the pleasure of driving a rental car. The circumstances under which it came to be were unfortunate. My son was driving my car (because he had no gas, of course.) Someone ran a red light and “T-boned” him. He was injured and still receiving treatment, and the insurance company kindly provided me with a rental. The name of the mid-sized car was unmemorable. The tan color, much the same as my mangled car, was about the only thing recognizable.

When initially sitting in the car, my legs had to stretch out as far as they could to reach the pedals. I mistakenly started driving before the realization that such was not an affective way to drive. It was fine for the tips of my toes to put additional force on the gas pedal, but such a technique does not work at all well with the brake, which soon became apparently clear when the car in front of me almost got creamed. Pulling into the closest parking lot, I played the game “pull this handle, what does it do?” In an effort to move my seat forward, multiple options awaited my curiosity. The seat was raised several inches into the air, moving my legs farther from the pedals, but adding a bit of fun to the adventure. Another handle quickly flipped the seat back into a flat, sleeping position, great for a nap, but not so great for driving. Finally finding the correct lever, I moved the seat forward within an effective range to work the pedals with my whole foot. Success! (At least for that endeavor.)

As my luck would have it, the skies then opened up and a barrage of rain spewed out onto the windshield. Quick! Turn on the windshield wipers!

The game of handles commenced again. Turning one handle, my right blinker clicked loudly. The rain torrent continued to impair any view for moving forward. My fingers found another switch, and the music station changed, followed by a huge increase in the volume of the music. I admit there are times when listening to loud music was a delightful participant activity, but this was not one of those times, and what the heck kind of music was that anyway? Using my other hand, I found a handle that sprayed the windshield with washer fluid, but also wiped it off. Unable to take my eyes off the road to further explore the actual windshield wiper button, I settled for this method for the ride home; wash, swipe, wash, swipe. The windshield washer fluid was emptied by the time I arrived home, but at least the rain had repeatedly been swished away, (and I had the cleanest windshield ever.)

Over the next several weeks, driving the rental became more manageable. Not driving, however, became problematic. Every trip to Walmart or the mall caused any memories of the details of the rental to waft away, replaced by “What kind of car do I drive?” as soon as I exited the store. Trying to remember where I parked was useless because on my way into the building, my mind would have been pre-occupied with all the joyous new purchases I was about to make. So, after shopping, cart full of treasures, there I would be, standing outside with the sun glaring in my eyes, trying to figure out which car was mine. Not being an automobile aficionado, all mid-sized, tan cars look alike to me. Without my old method of tying an oversized flower onto the radio antenna, none of the cars were instantly recognizable. I’m not proud of the fact that I had to use the panic alarm on the key in order to hear the loud, emergency purposed, horn beeping which would signal where, in fact, the rental was waiting for me. Worse yet, sometimes the sound was so far away it was like a maze to find my way through the cars, carriage and all, to get to the location of the sound.

Hubby, deciding that having a rental was affecting my mental health, hurriedly found a new (used) car for me. He chose a nice, tan, mid-sized car. Before I could go to the DMV to register it, the VIN number had to be verified at the police station. I parked carefully in the “marked” spot and the lovely police officer came over to check the VIN, which did not match. What? How could it not match? Somehow I had chosen to drive the rental car for the VIN check and left my new car at home in its parking spot. I really miss the days of driving my huge, 15 passenger, raised roof van. Even though I no longer have as many children to cart around, and as difficult as it was to drive, it was always easy to spot in a parking lot.

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