An alarming afternoon

I had a little vehicular incident last week.

Maybe, you heard.

It all started in the parking lot at work on a bright, sunny, scheduled-to-the-minute Tuesday afternoon.

I stopped for just a second or two, as I usually do, to admire my car, whom I have loved fiercely since the day she arrived.

She’s a cute little Bug, blue mist metallic and spunky. Sometimes, if she thinks I’m not paying enough attention to her, she disables her sound system and we ride along in awkward silence until I apologize and she feels ready to forgive me.

Lately, she’s been mad at me for losing her favorite key fob and I get it. She’s 13-years old and particular. I have an APB out on the key chain, which shouldn’t be too hard to find. It has an eight-inch fabric tag dangling off it, with LAURA embroidered across. Subtle, my little Bug and I are not.

She’s a stubborn little pistol, though, and she flat out refused to acknowledge the replacement fob. Last week, I stood in the parking lot clicking in vain.

“Come on!” I said. “I have exactly 13.5 minutes to get to Walgreens and back. Open up!”

She rolled her eyes like a petulant teenager and looked away.

Because I’m the adult here, I took control of the situation. I inserted the key manually, and unlocked the door, which set off the car alarm.

Though she be but little, she is fierce. What can I say? My car has an impressive set of lungs.

I got in and quickly turned the car on, but the shrieks continued.  People began to gather in the adjoining bank parking lot, pointing at me and my car.

I drove off. Obviously. And the two of us careened loudly down the street.

Mercifully, about four blocks down the road, she abruptly stopped screeching. I thanked her and headed off to Walgreens, just a few minutes behind schedule. I pulled into the parking lot, shut the car off, and opened the driver’s side door.

The shrieking started up again. I made eye contact with a surly man in the parked car next to me, got back in my car, quickly slammed the door shut, turned the ignition back on and drove off. The screeching stopped. I made a U-turn, and headed back to my Walgreens parking spot, shut the car off, opened the door and …SHRIEK! SHRIEK! SHRIEK!

I swore, slammed the car door shut, turned the car on and took another lap past the surly man and around the parking lot.

What if I opened the car door while the car was parked but running? That would outsmart her, I thought.

No go.

The third time I drove past the surly man, I left the parking lot and headed straight to the Bergstrom Volkswagen Service Department, which meant I cruised down Northland Avenue with my car alarm blaring, making eye contact with no one.

She stopped screeching for a little bit as we crossed highway 41, but it turned out she was just catching her breath. As I pulled into the service bay, she let loose again.

“Do you have an appointment?”  a man called out over the racket.

“No sir I do not,” I yelled back.

I left my tantrum throwing toddler-car and walked over to the scheduling desk.  

“Any chance you could replace a battery in my key fob?” I asked.

They assigned a nice young man to escort me to the parts department and we had a good talk while another nice man took my disgraced fob. Parts are almost never readily available for a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle, so I braced myself for some bad news.

“That will be eight-eighty,” he eventually said, and for a moment I thought he meant $880, which, don’t get me wrong, I would have paid to silence my angry princess, but come on!

It turned out the whole fiasco only cost me $8.80 and a little public humiliation which, in the spirit of the season, I’m happy to share.

#Smileon, man, because what else are you going to do?

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She looks pretty sweet and innocent doesn’t she? She’s a belter, though, and a feisty one at that.
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We like to get gussied up for the holidays.
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After our traumatic afternoon, I treated her to a spa day.
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We also enjoyed a long drive and slow sunset. I took this shot last night because we’re friends again and that car never met a camera she didn’t love. I still haven’t found my original keys, though, so if you spot them please let me know. It’s only a matter of time before she cranks up that alarm again and lets loose.

6 thoughts on “An alarming afternoon

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