Saturday, July 12, 2008

Of Keys and Cars

Anybody who knows me well, knows of my terrible luck with automobiles. Come to think of it, I have terrible luck with birds as well. Blue jays, not as friendly as they look. And Mr. Blue bird on my shoulder would never be "satisfactch'll." He would be there to hurt me because birds are very angry creatures with small brains and creepy stares. If you've every been walking across a busy street in broad daylight and had a bird sweep down from his domicile to attack your naturally curly hair, you'd be with me on this.

So driving... I've definitely had my share of accidents. And when I'm in an accident, I'm never rear-ended by an apologetic driver with the courtesy to say, "Are you okay?" or "I'm so sorry." I'm always hit by a person I've completely inconvenienced by the fact that my car was at a dead stop in I-4 traffic or in a, lets say, Target parking lot. The person who hits me say's things like, "So how long's this gonna take?" or "I don't have time for this. I have to pick up my kid." Word of advice: Never trust a person driving with a compact disc flag hanging from their rear-view mirror. Ever. I don't care if it's a Brazilian flag, a German flag, or even an American flag. If you are hit by an automobile sporting one of these, get every bit of information you can. Even draw a sketch of the person who hit you. If you aren't good at drawing, take a mental photograph or even one with your cell phone. Which ever is more convenient. This person will surely yell at you a lot for making them pull over after hitting you then try to flee the scene to pick up their child at "daycare."

I could go on all day with stories of my misadventures in driving. What I've noticed as of late is that my car luck has somehow spread to my husband. Apparently my virulent strain of driving misfortune is highly contagious. I try to wash my hands often, but ten months of living together has turned our apartment into driving malady petri-dish. It started off as an innocent loss of keys. Joel's keys went first. To this day he swears I threw them away to which, I say: Yes, I probably did. He did have an extra set which was helpful but those were lost about three weeks ago. We had a spare key made but unfortunately the manufacturers of Hyundai decided that having a key alone isn't sufficient enough to prove you are not in fact stealing the car. You also need the remote. The very expensive Hyundai remote. If you unlock the door with the key and open the door, the alarm goes off. Then, if you insert the key into the ignition you cannot turn it until the alarm goes off for two minutes. That is how long it takes for the car to be convinced you are not a thief. You can then turn the key to start the engine. Apparently if you are willing to sit through two minutes of very high-pitched, high-decibel sirens, you must have innocent intentions. I say cars have faulty logic. To avoid all the rigmarole, and keep peace with our neighbors, Joel simply leaves his car unlocked. We would be worried about it being stolen but there isn't much in that car to invite a thief. He doesn't own woofers, as the young kids call them although I suppose a robber greedy for eye drops and empty soda bottles might very well hit the jackpot with Joel's car.

Two weeks ago, Joel graduated from simply losing keys to the inevitable, getting rear-ended on the highway. Of course despite his innocence in the accident, he still managed to receive a ticket for not having proof of insurance in his car. Police officers in our county don't mess around. They also don't want people to like them very much as I've learned.

So Joel's car is totaled and we are now on the hunt for a replacement automobile. To me there isn't much more nerve racking than shopping for cars. Let's just hope we don't get a lemon. Or a tangelo for that matter. I don't really care for citrus. Except grapefruit, I like those very much. To look on the bright side, it could be worse. We could be shopping for a parakeet or weaver-bird or some other winged creature. For in the wise words of Gilbert K. Chesterton:

“A turkey is more occult and awful than all the angels and archangels.”

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