Olympic Car Driving
By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for a bicycle.
For the very first time in my life I went on an adventure all by myself; ok, half way by myself. My sister and her husband drove me as far as Biloxi, Mississippi and I went on to Florida alone.
My training for this event began as I tried to rent a car on line. I made it as far as "What size car do you want?" Once upon a time there were cars; just cars, not big cars, not little cars, not compact cars, not sub-compact cars, not economy cars, not midsize cars, not SUV's, not smart cars, not luxury cars, just cars. And their names were Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, Dodge, and Cadillac not Cobalt, Hyundai, Taurus, Elantra, Toyota, Avio, Kia, Fiat, Peugeot, Scamp, Swinger, Jeep, not Escalade, Escapade, Marmalade, or Just Made. I called the car rental place and asked a live person to hold a car for me. "Yes, what size would you like?" "An average size car for one person and one suitcase," I said.
I arrived the next morning to pick up my average size car. The rental agent seemed friendly enough. The car seemed friendly enough. I smiled in a friendly manner, signed the papers, paid the fees, and got the keys. I put the key in the ignition, pushed the gear shift forward which immediately activated the windshield wipers. Through much trial and error, I managed to deactivate the windshield wipers. However, when I tried to remove the key from the ignition to put my suitcase in the trunk, the anti-American automotive brat wouldn't turn loose. My niece said I had to push then pull. It worked but then there was no key hole in the trunk when I tried to open that. "Here, it's in the door." "What's in the door, the trunk?" "No, the button to open the trunk. "Why isn't it on the dashboard" "I don't know, but see there's a picture of the car with the trunk open." "In the door, at the bottom?" "Give me your suitcase." I located the real gear shift in the floor, waved good-by, and drove to the nearest gas station as I was on empty.
That's when the friendship really ended. The car was definitely un-American. No matter where I pushed or pried, or banged I could not open the hinged gasoline cover. I looked all over the dash for some kind of picture of a gas cap. I looked in all the unlikeliest places under the seat, in the backseat, in the glove compartment, above the visor, even the door.
After ten minutes I went inside the station. "I know this is a dumb question, but do any of you know how to put gasoline in this Hyundai rental car?" A child around twenty-two years old said "I do. I have a Hyundai." We walked out to the car. I was trying to push then pull to get the key in the lock to open the door. "You know you can just push the button on the key ring?" "Yes, thank you. I knew that." She opened the door and pointed to an itsy bitsy rectangular button with a picture of a teeny tiny Smurf sized gasoline pump stamped on it at the side of the driver's seat. Now who, but an unfriendly nation, would put the electronic switch to the gasoline cap on the floor of the car? "Thank you," I said again as the child walked away not quite stifling a giggle.
Car 1, Driver 0. The foreign car may have won this round, but there are more events to come. Next week GPS Let the games continue. Stay tuned.