The Rental Car
A few days ago, I reserved a rental car for a work-related trip. I usually reserve an economy or standard car, for that suits my needs quite nicely. When I arrived at the car rental place, of course they didn’t have any cars that size, but would I like an SUV for the same price?
Sure. I just needed to get on the road.
I was presented with this huge, black behemoth. An ominous soundtrack playing in the background at that moment would have been appropriate. While checking it for damage, I thought I should check for any small children left behind in steerage.
I carefully eased out of the rental garage, perched high above the street. This vehicle had state-of-the-art everything. Soon, my lower back began sweating and I realized that the seat warmer thought my posterior was cold and needed to be heated. I began poking at the computer screen in the dashboard while trying to negotiate my way through downtown Chicago traffic.
I kept poking at the screen, unable to figure out how to turn the stupid seat-warmer off. My backside was getting braised. Finally, I just had to pull over to figure it out. Trying to keep my butt from being baked was definitely not conducive to traffic safety.
Soon, I was whizzing down Interstate 57. Suddenly, the heater decided I was cold and began toasting the interior of my cruise vessel. Poke, poke, poke. I veered into the other lane. Poke, poke, poke.
So, I pulled over into a Denny’s for some dinner and to try to figure this thing out. But this brilliant monster wasn’t through effing with me yet. As I turned off the ignition, the seat automatically began moving forward. I was being squished in a trash compacter. It was rather alarming.
I guess the seat detected my distress, for it released me after a few seconds. For the next two days, I kept trying to figure out how to control the damn heater. I never did figure it out! -- Much less hooking up an iPod, GPS, or phone. Getting the radio to play and tuned to NPR was a major accomplishment.
This brings me to my point. With all the new laws banning cell phones and texting while driving, I have to tell you that trying to control the simplest features on that monstrosity was a lot more distracting than texting. Our car manufacturers have included so many bells and whistles that they’ve made these vehicles extremely hazardous to drive!
A couple of days later, I had to rent another car and was able to procure a normal-sized Toyota Sentra. The heater was controlled by a simple knob with red on one side, blue on the other.
Trust me. Highway safety in Illinois vastly improved at that point.