Adventures With My Car Part 2

So, why do today's cars have to come with so many buttons, anyway?

After getting my brand-new “future” car, I had to show it to my best friend, Michele. As soon as I opened the door and she got a look at the dashboard, she began laughing. Not a giggle or a snicker, but a full fledged, gut splitting, hurting your stomach, howling type of laughter that brought tears to her eyes. She kept pointing to the dashboard, then looking at me, and the laughter would begin anew.

Knowing what her reaction would be, I was eager to prove that I could work at least some of the gadgets; namely, the remote start. I had her get out as I pointed the key fob at the car, made sure I hit the “lock” button (the remote won't start unless all doors are locked), and began to push the button.

And nothing happened.

I pushed over and over again; still, nothing. Michele finally took pity on me and walked over to the car and showed me what I'd been doing all that time. I had been furiously pressing the trunk release.

Michele's response to my car reminded me of how we used to tease my mother-in-law, Gretchen. She had absolutely no interest in cars or anything else but comfortable, reliable transportation (probably where Matt got it).

One afternoon, a neighbor came over to show off her brand spanking new car. Gretchen went out, looked over the car and did all the appropriate oohs and aahs. When she came inside, we asked what she thought of it; she thought it was very nice. When we asked what type of car it was, she said, “It was white, with four doors, and the inside was a really pretty leather.” 

And that was her description of a very distinctive Mercedes Benz. We teased her mercilessly for days.

Fast forward to the present, and Karma proves once again that it takes no prisoners.

I had ordered dinner from one of those curbside to go restaurants. I managed to use my Onstar to call the order in, and boy, was I proud of myself. Then, the kid wanted to know what type of car I drive. I went completely blank, and said, “It's kind of greyish blue, and it has four doors. It's kind of sporty, and it's really cute.” When he patiently explained that he needed the make or model of the car, I piped up with, “It's not a Mercedes!” He was confused.

I finally told the kid not to bother, I'd come inside to retrieve my order. I hung my head in shame as I walked from the restaurant's “curbside” service to my car and deposited our dinner in the back seat.

Shortly after getting the car, my daughter, Elyse, was going to drive me to an appointment. When we got in, she noticed that the car was almost out of gas.

I should note at this point that Kells girls are notoriously spoiled by Kells men. This extends to making sure all cars have gas by taking them to the strange land of the “Gas Station.” Kells girls are fascinated by their neon lights and strange machines, but have never actually gotten out of a car at one.

We figured we had enough to get to our destination, since there was no time for Matt to take the car, then come back to get us. Our plans for after we got there? We were going to cross that bridge when we got to it.

Unfortunately, the car wasn't happy with the level of gas in the tank. Being a very vocal future car, it let us know. We determined there was nothing we could do other than pull into the foreign land called the gas station.

Elyse pulled in, and then quickly realized that she had no idea which side of the car the gas tank was on. Looking out the window, we determined (read: hoped) that it was on the driver’s side.

Elyse is a very good driver, however, after trying to figure out which side of the car we needed to pull up to, was a bit distracted. She narrowly missed hitting the tanks. Backing up, she managed to get it in place; but it was a very, very tight fit.

She got out and I handed her the credit card. After a moment, I looked back and noticed that she was standing there staring at the pump with my card in her hand; a look of utter confusion on her face. I knew help was necessary – MY help, though, not so much. But, I was all she had.

I got out, slid into the small space between the car and the gas dispensers, and we stood trying to find the instructions on using the credit card. Elyse finally ventured putting it in some type of credit card looking slot, and we were happy to see that instructions began to scroll across the screen. She got the nozzle out and we turned to open the little gas door. She pulled, nothing happened. I pulled, nothing happened. Back and forth, dumb and dumber stood there pulling at the little door.

Elyse figured that there must be some type of lever in the car to open the gas tank door. She stood watching the door, while I got in the car and began to hit buttons. As I pushed a button, I'd holler, “Is that it?” No. I did it again. And again. And again. It reminded me of one of those, “Can you hear me now?” commercials.

Finally, through the grace of God, I managed to press the right lever that opened the door. I couldn't have been happier if I'd won the lottery.

We unscrewed the little lid inside the door, and put the nozzle in. Elyse pressed the nozzle lever, but no gas came out. I thought I'd give it a try, but to my chagrin, I couldn't make the gas magically bubble forth. She squeezed, I squeezed, she squeezed again and so did I. We stood there with our mouths agape.

Finally, a Good Samaritan, who’d apparently been quite amused watching this little display, came over to lend his assistance. Apparently, we’d forgotten to turn another little lever thing down on the gas pump. He smiled and began to show us what we were doing wrong, and then thought better of it. He pumped it for us, showed us how to get the card out of the machine and sent us on our way.

We couldn’t help but notice as we looked in the rear view mirrors that both he and several other patrons at the gas station were almost falling down laughing.

It's been a while now, and I've figured out what some buttons do when pushed. There are some buttons on the door that I don't have a clue what they're for. I'm worried I might have an ejector seat, I don't touch them.

But I really wanted to learn how to work the stereo system, whose controls are in the steering wheel. I'm a pro at them now, but only after hitting the wrong buttons a million times. You learn fast after you've accidentally turned Def Leppard up to levels that make you fear you blew an ear drum.

There's a clock in the dashboard, and when we picked it up from the dealership, it was set to the correct time. However, with Daylight Savings Time, it needs to be changed.

I drive around with the wrong time six months out of the year.

All in all, I like my car, even if I am a little intimidated by it. But these days, you can't buy a vehicle that doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the modern consumer requires. They say that technology is moving at the speed of light and that you either keep up or step out of the way.

I'm looking into turning invisible.



J.R. sr August 01, 2011 at 12:43 PM
Try doing something that not many car owners do....READ THE MANUAL.


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