It is said that God gives you only as much as you can handle, and I generally believe that to be true, but I don’t think God was keeping count last week. We made settlement on our house on Monday and four days later, on Friday, I was involved in a low-impact car accident on my way to lock up after the painters had finished working for the day. I am okay and Peanut is okay but, sadly, the Jeep is not. It’s not totaled, but it’s going to be totally expensive to repair. Our insurance company is not pleased, particularly because they only acquired us as clients last week, when we consolidated our new homeowner’s insurance and auto insurance into one policy.
It is also said that timing is everything.
Despite their exasperation, our insurance company is generously providing me with a rental car while the Jeep recovers at the body shop. It turns out that $50 a day gets you a pretty spiffy rental. I am currently cruising around Long Island in a white 2012 Nissan Maxima that is so wide and roomy, it may have more blind spots than the Jeep. But that’s not the best part, as Matt at Enterprise pointed out when I went to pick up the car. The best part is that it has a push button start, which is, supposedly, convenient. But in order for the car to start, you need to carry the keys with you, so, really, the only step you’re saving is sticking the key in the ignition. (R. Kelly would be so disappointed).
Matt started the car for me before I drove off the Enterprise lot. I had no trouble turning off the car when I returned to my in-laws’, but I ran into issues when I went out later to pick up some ingredients for dinner. I pressed the button, just like Matt demonstrated, but the car didn’t start. The radio played music, the air conditioner blasted air, the headlights shone brightly, but the engine didn't roar. I pressed the button again. The car turned off. I checked to make sure I had the keys in my purse. I did. Embarrassed, I called Enterprise.
“Are you pressing the correct button?” Matt asked over the phone.
“I think so.”
“Do you have the keys with you?”
“Is your foot on the brake?”
“Oh! You have to put your foot on the brake when you start the car?”
Seriously, what is so convenient about a push button start?
A few days later, after finishing up some errands, I got into the car, checked that the keys-that-don’t-start-the-car-but-are-still-essential-to-start-the-car were in my purse, put my foot on the brake, and pushed the button to start the engine. I shifted into drive, but as I pulled out of the parking lot, I could tell that something was very, very wrong. To accelerate, I had to put all of my weight behind pressing the gas pedal, and if I removed even the slightest pressure, the car jerked to almost a complete halt. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get the car to exceed 40 mph- a fact that seemed to disgruntle my fellow motorists on the Jericho Turnpike- and the RPM gauge was spinning wildly. When I finally reached home- a bundle of nerves- the engine was overheating and the entire car wreaked of burnt rubber.
“There’s something wrong with the rental,” I told my husband.
He drove the car around the block. When he returned he handed me the keyless keys and rolled his eyes.
“There’s nothing wrong with the car. You were driving in manual rather than automatic.”
You mean I successfully drove a stick shift five miles and didn’t even know it? Look at me, all sporty!
A few days after that, I was in the car jamming to “The Last Episode” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (because Minnow was obviously at home with her grandparents) (if my children are surprised about anything about me as they grow, I think it will be my impressive ability to recite East Coast/West Coast rap as if it were Byron or Keats), when I pulled into a Whole Foods parking lot. I attempted to exit the vehicle, but the doors were locked. I pressed the unlock button on the door panel, but the doors remained locked. I removed my seatbelt and tried again. Still locked.
I was trapped! Panicked, I began beating on the door with closed fists while cart-pushing patrons observed in horror. What the F is wrong with this demonic car? It's constantly changing the rules on me! Then I realized: The car was still on. Calmly, I pressed the button to shut off the car. Dr. Dre abruptly stopped singing and the doors automatically unlocked.
Perhaps it is a safety feature that one cannot exit the Nissan Maxima without first turning it off. Perhaps it is fun that one can toggle between an automatic and manual transmission. Perhaps it is marginally convenient that one needn't fish for keys in her purse to start the car.
Perhaps, but I can't wait until my Jeep comes home.