Thursday, July 23, 2009

Driving Me Up A Wall

I had the displeasure to be in the passenger side of a newly licensed 17-year-old driver. To put it in perspective, I could have taken two busses, a horse and a refugee boat from North Korea faster than this kid would get out of the driveway.

Ok, maybe US experienced drivers take this for granted. We get in, we turn car on and we GO. Including the seatbelt, I’m counting maybe five steps before I’m cruizin’ down the boulevard looking for some road rage to make my day.

But this young Mario Andretti apprentice with “especially bought for the occasion new sunglasses” took the Art Carney art of driving and adjusted everything except his attitude. I sat with little control watching his seat move -up.back.down.forward. and back again-.lumbar support stiff-lumbar support normal-lumbar support recessed. The moon roof open……shut…halfway open, tilted and then up again for venting.

By the time the car even was started, the battery in the car was drained from finding the right song on the radio station to match his driving experience (think: repetitive and without talent). I truly felt like a dog walker who is watching the canine sniff for hours determining the right spot to relieve himself…as I screamed with controlled determination. “JUST GO!!!!….We are only driving to QUIKCHEK, not preparing for the INDY 500.”

Seriously, does anyone really need to sniff the TREE air freshener before you back up? NO! If it isn’t working, you would know if you got the car moving. I’m not asking for much, I just want to be going faster than A/C that he is now adjusting … for each…and…every…..vent angle … “Dude, it’s AIR, not chocolate or beer coming through those vents…what are we waiting for…the new model to come out?”

I understand the over caution, the newness and the fear of young drivers. I even appreciate the fact they focus their hands on the 10 and the 2, align proper mirror adjustment, etc.. , but I will bet NASA has less check points than this kid and three shuttles were launched and returned to Earth before I ever moved away from the curb.

After cup holders were checked for proper alignment and the trip odometer was set at -0.0000….AGAIN, I lost all patience and decided to do what any adult would do in my situation. I bribed him. “Get me to the store within FIVE minutes and I will pay any speeding ticket, plus buy you a BIG GULP of Mountain Dew and a Snickers bar. However, if you don’t move this ½ ton piece of aluminum and glass in 10 seconds, your next adjustment will be prying your body off the pavement as I will push the one part of this car you haven’t touched yet….. the EJECTOR BUTTON.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lesson in Time


Early one morning, I thought I was the only one in the office. I witnessed three noisy maintenance men with their hands full carrying big analog clocks to exchange and hang throughout my building. Because just changing the batteries would be too much for just ONE person.

These diligent walkers of the hallways, (Think Flavor Flav with work boots & tool belts) stomped down past my work area not quite respecting my personal work space or need to concentrate.

With my focus gone and my Adult ADD kicking in..Did I mention I just saw a birdie?

I couldn’t resist being the smart a-- and ask, “Hey, any of you have the time?” All three of them in complete synchronization, switched their armful of Big Bens to their other hand to check their generic wrist watches. As the realization of my remark set in their heads, the skinniest one of the three turned and said with both his big and small hands not moving, "Yes, I'ts SUNDAY, next time look at the calendar and maybe you won't worry about the time."

Doesn’t matter now, but I'm sure it is too late for church.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Feeling Used at a Used Car Lot

Been to a Car Dealer lately? In this economy, walk into a new or used parking lot and experience what it is like to be the hot chick at a night club. Laugh if you may, but they swarm around you with shiny gifts, gold chains and smiles. And they move in so close you know what they had for dinner three nights ago. I kept hearing….“HOW YOUUU DOIN?” echoed across the tiled showroom as I browse for my next mode of transportation.

OK, the gifts are more like stale donuts sold by men with OLD SPICE and yellow teeth, but I’M getting attention and that is what matters the most.

There is a new policy with car salesmen; they will be literally fired if they allow you to leave the facility without buying a car while on site. I know, as I saw the ‘memo’ pinned on top of his 1968, 1969 and 1971 salesmen of the month awards. (1970 was the year of the Ford Pinto…’nuff said)

This isn’t a joke. I gave my car keys for them to evaluate a trade in and no matter how many times I tried to leave, my sales rep said he would be back with my keys but he conveniently ‘forgot’ and came back with a new offer instead…”a better solution to get me to decrease my payments”.

Please don’t ask me what I WANT to pay a month (its always $29.99 of course) and THEN think I will be happy if you add 172 months to the length of the loan to get the payments down. To me, THAT isn’t a “solution” but more of a rolling mortgage I’ll never pay off. I’m buying a car, not protection from organized crime.

However, to be fair, I did walk in and tease them by slipping a comment of how I’m willing to pay in full…WITH CASH… just to watch their Leisure Suit Larry eyes bulge and the hidden cameras all go on alert as their manager, Jabba the Hut, tries to figure out how to get me to buy two cars and then agree to add LO/JACK and safety sealant to make back his profit margin after I leave.

Seriously though, PAY CASH? I don’t even buy gum anymore with cash but Dwight Schrute’s twin sure got excited when I said, “I didn’t know Ben Franklin was on EVERY $100 bill, did you?”

The ad on the internet said the car I want is available today for the unprecedented low price of $10.00 over bluebook. Who’s blue book? The one on your desk that says, How to lie to your customer and still look in the mirror? I repeatedly told you that I didn’t want the lime green Taurus no matter what deal you can give me…AND more importantly, I like my interior to match or compliment the outside paint job, not look like the salt water taffy assortment pack I got at the shore last week.

As I negotiate the price down to three Denny’s Grand Slam breakfasts and a gift card to 7/11, I left listening to him whine how he is now going to get fired for selling that car for so low.

Too bad, I just want to drive away feeling like the new car smell is going to overtake any Old Spice that has lingered by my senses and not wake up in a cold sweat tonight wondering if I could have got a better deal if I wouldn’t have asked to add SiriusXM radio, moon roof, blue tooth enabled phone and a personal driver three days a week.