Ditz in the Dessert

Well, I'm not in the dessert really, just closer to one here in Southern California than my typical day in Kent, Washington. After several days in a very rainy Richmond, VA for a NASCAR race over the weekend, I had to buzz off to Long Beach, CA for a couple of meetings with my boss. Everything seemed like a typical So-Cal trip, the 90 minutes in the airport, the 45 minutes on the tarmac before take-off, the 120 minutes in the air, another 20 minutes landing and getting "de-planed"; you know the drill. Well I finally make it and head off to the glorious Emerald Aisle where I can select the car of my choosing.

I decided to wander into the tiny booth to ask specifically which cars boast satellite radio (I love satellite radio) and get the info about looking for strange antennae mounted to rooftops. I shlepp my gear along the heralded aisle and decide to tap into this idea of being a little green this trip and head for a Toyota Prius with the tell-tale antennae shooting up from the pale blue rooftop. Now, I've driven one of these before and found the experience interesting so I figured I'd examine the vehicle a little more closely this time and pay attention to things like: pick-up speed, braking, radio speaker quality, seat comfort, and the like. (Who knows, maybe I'll actually buy a "green" car someday?) I hop in and do the mirror adjustments, seat belt adjustments, find where the lights are, and plug in my GPS so-I-don't-get-lost-for-the-thousandth-time electronic lifesaver, and we're off!

I get to the checkout stand w/ the railroad crossing contraption and wait to be checked out. While there I try to find my favorite oldie comedian station on the satellite radio. Being a very busy morning, the cars immediately start lining up behind me, so when the guy finally takes my credentials, I breathe a sigh of relief. I hate holding people up. Guess what? I can't figure out the satellite radio! I ask the guy when he returns and he shrugs and hollers at another worker who says "that one don't got it!" The man asks if I want to switch cars. After a quick glance in my rear view mirror, I decide I'll have to live with out Bill Cosby for my 72 hour trip. Ah well; I head off into the LA freeway system.

I arranged to meet a co-worker after work for dinner at my favorite Long Beach restaurant, Open Sesame (a Mediterranean eatery of note), and head out of the office at 5 o'clock to meet her there. It's only about a 20 minute drive, and the restaurant is well worth the effort. Well, my cute little Toyota Prius had a totall different idea!

I insert the rectangular "key" into the slot, put my seat belt on, and then hit the power button. Now, you can't hear this car start. Your only indication that the car is running is this dashboard computer that shows the power. I hit the tiny park button to get it out of park and maneuver the tiny little lever into the reverse notch (it doesn't stay there, like a normal gear shift knob would) and try to back up. It goes about 3 feet and neatly stops at an awkward angle successfully blocking the car next to me. Great. I try again and again to get the car to backup to no avail. I anxiously hope that whoever owns the car I'm blocking is working late tonight! I hate holding people up. So, I shut the car down, take off my seat belt, open and close all the doors thinking maybe it won't go if a door is ajar; nothing. I fasten the seat belt on the passenger side. I go through the whole routine again and again: nothing. What is with this car? It worked fine earlier in the day!

Sure enough the owner of the blocked car comes out and wants to leave. I jump out of the car to explain my dilemma. She nicely explains she knows some friends who have the car and they haven't had any problems. Do I want her to call one of them for me? Nice.

After another 10 minutes of repeating the starting process, I decide to peek in the glove compartment to see if there's some sort of "Prius for Dummies" manual or something. Sure 'nuff! Intersting that the manual fell open easily to the correct location (anyone else have this problem???) and I found out you have to have YOUR FOOT ON THE BRAKE PEDAL in order to start the car! How stupid is that? I dutifully go through the steps to start the car, only putting my foot on the brake pedal BEFORE I pushed the power button. Guess what? It started. I moved the car. The lady got her car out. I headed off to Open Sesame.

Boy did I feel dumb.

Needless to say, I was late to dinner. My friend had a table already and was enjoying my story about the time I accidently flung my fork off the table and onto the sidewalk (we were eating outside). After dinner I made the mistake of almost trying to get into 2 other Prius's parked on the same street. Apparently they are a popular model here in So-Cal; so is the color blue.

My GPS so-I-don't-get-lost-for-the-thousandth-time contraption kept shutting off, even while plugged into the cigarette lighter. Apparently my fuse is blown. I got lost for the 1001st time here in So-Cal. I just can't seem to get it right down here.

Ahhhh travel. Don't you just love it?

1 comment:

Rosemary Ochs said...

Sounds like you had a great time. Wish the whole family could have been there to laugh at you... um, I mean with you.