Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A blog about cars. No, not about sports cars or a new car purchase or detailing and "ride pimping" or... I don't know... venting about used car salesmen. More like a couple of random anecdotes regarding events of this past weekend, both dealing with cars. (Can the end of that sentence be considered a clever pun? Dealing with cars... car dealer... I'll admit it wasn't intentional, but I find it amusing after-the-fact. I consider it a funny on my end. You should too. ... additional side note that I didn't want to do a "parentheses in a parentheses" for so I added a dot dot dot within this set of parentheses despite the fact that it's a relatively separate comment (don't know the technical term for a dot dot dot)... darn, parentheses in parentheses, unavoidable. Anyways, long-winded way of saying additional note, I just spent 15 minutes looking up figures of speech to try and determine if what I said was actually a pun versus a euphemism, hyperbole or whatever else... 15 minutes later and I still don't know what it is. Funny that I spent so long looking up that, to no avail, yet I don't look up the real name of a "dot dot dot", though I could probably find the answer to that in under a minute.) Anyways, returning from ongoing side note land....

So, car anecdote #1: You know that horrible moment when you get out of your car and then think to yourself, uh oh.... what did I just do with my keys? And 9 times out of 10 they're in your purse, where you absent-mindedly placed them several seconds earlier as if on auto-pilot, without realizing you had done it. The remaining one out of every ten times they're on the roof of your car or, god forbid, locked inside. Well, Saturday evening I pulled into my driveway and had this moment of panic mere seconds after getting out of my car. Instinctively, I rummaged through the depths of my purse, even though I knew if my keys were there they would be somewhere right on top. After 21 seconds of rummaging I walked back to my car, where I saw them, taunting me on the passenger seat. Okay... not a problem. I'll get the spare. Go inside my house, go to where we keep all of the spare keys, sift through about 19 different sets, don't find my car key. Where's the spare? Let's call people who may know... 15 minutes later, no one knows. Good... missing a car key. I have a valet key, but that's in the car. Time to call AAA. I've never had to call AAA from the luxury of my own home, as its always been a "call from my cell phone, whilst sitting in my non-functional car and usually freezing or sweating to death" type of situation. Calling from home with no immediate needed usage of the car, a definite bonus. Of course, it was this situation where they showed up in 10 minutes, rather than the usual 50+ minute waiting time. Now, watching the half-hour scene that ensued upon AAA man's arrival was mildly hilarious. Let's call this part of the story "Problem Solving 101, or Unsophisticated Methods of Breaking Into a Car". So, some young guy shows up with a rubber wedge type of device and what looked like one of those orange sticks you use when checking the oil level for your car... except elongated to about eight feet. He shoves the wedge in the upper part of my driver's side door, by the window, and sort of hammers it in a bit, to create a gap between the car and the door. Next step... inserts the orange stick. He fumbles around with it a bit... clearly trying to get it to poke the automatic lock button. I stand there, silently watching. 8 minutes later he asks me if it's a "push lock" or a "pull lock". I reply push, to which he groans and says "that explains it". (Sentence sounds raunchy out of context, first part anyways) Then he realizes it's too dark to see what he's doing so he pulls out his cellphone, which he has to open and close every 10 seconds in order to utilize it as a makeshift source of light. I fully realize that at any point I could have gotten him a flashlight or at least offered to hold his cellphone for him and be the designated opener/closer, but my sitting back and watching was much more enjoyable. He tries pushing rather than pulling the automatic lock for several minutes before switching to work on the manual lock... who knows whether he was trying to push or to pull with that one.

Fastforward another few minutes and he switches to the passenger side door. My immediate thought... does he really think it will be easier on this side versus the symmetric other side he was just trying? I quickly realized that he gave up on pushing/pulling any of the interior locks, be them automatic or manual, and switched instead to trying to hook the keys from my passenger seat onto the orange stick and move them up and out of the tiny space created by the wedge-like apparatus. It's at this moment that I curse the large gaughtiness of my keychain preferences. After several attempts at squeezing the set of keys through the wedged gap he tries to just get them close enough that he can stick his finger in the gap and press the unlock button on the key. This doesn't work either. The keys fall from the orange stick, as if in slow motion. He prods the keys with the stick end, apparently trying to press the unlock button on the keys, but all this does is slide the keys around on the car seat. It seems all hope is lost. He pauses, whether he was contemplating the next move or giving his other hand a rest from opening and closing his phone, who knows. He decides to give "bringing the keys out of the wedge gap" an attempt #2. Unsuccessful. But attempt #9 worked. The keys fit out the gap. Who knows how. I thank him for the amusing show and he's on his way. If you were to ever break into a car, I don't think an 8 foot orange stick would go unnoticed, nor the likely half-hour time block it would take to accomplish your feat of law breaking. Not to mention that how this guy managed to successfully get into my car depended upon the keys being locked inside in a visible and "easily accessible" location in the first place.... if I were you I'd just smash the window and replace it later.

On to car anecdote #2: This story has two parts really. First part... I'm driving home at some crazy late hour of say 3:30 a.m. on Friday night slash Saturday morning. As I pull onto my road I see what seems like 8 kids scatter from the middle of the road and run into a nearby yard. Teenagers on a sleepover, I assume. Slow down and drive by them, continue up the street, eventually pulling into my driveway. I was on my cellphone and didn't want to go inside yet, which would risk waking others up and them overhearing my conversation. So I turned off the car and sat there, still talking. Fastforward maybe 40 seconds and I see someone run up to my drivers side door, from behind the car and then like hit it and run in the other direction. I SCREAMED like I didn't know I was capable of screaming. (I have this odd fear that I will be attacked someday and not be capable of screaming because whenever I've tried to fake a scream a.k.a. scream in a non-frightening situation, it hasn't come out right. Now at least I know I can scream.) My first thought was that it was my brother trying to scare me, then I realized he's not 14 anymore and also, probably not awake. Instantaneously I come to the conclusion that it's those kids I passed by, who wanted to scare me so they must have chased my car up the street... otherwise how would they know it was me and my car, since I turned my car off upon pulling into the driveway? Remember, I'm still on the phone. So I'm explaining what just happened, the cause of my ungodly scream, when what seems like only 10 seconds later the same kid runs up to my driver's side window while another comes up to the passenger side. They yell something to each other ("what is she doing?") and I hear the passenger side door handle click. Sound like a horror movie yet? Thank goodness my car automatically locks so the door didn't open. I pound my window frantically and the kids scream and run away. I'm so shocked by what just happened and that these stupid teenagers actually chased my car up the road just to be jerks that I'm just angry, rather than frightened at this point. I'm expressing this on the phone, as I look around to see where any of these kids are and see absolutely none. While normally I would be paranoid and think they're hiding behind my car or a tree, I had an odd sense of knowing they left. I got out of the car, made sure it was locked and not even running, half-tempting them to come back and dare face me, went in the house, locking the door behind me. I was prepared to call the cops, half-convinced they would come back and hit my bedroom window or something to freak me out even further. And although I probably could have called based on what just happened alone, I thought of it more as a "stupid, annoying teenagers, need to grow up" thing than a threat to my safety. Though I didn't think about what could have happened if the one had gotten my door open.

That was part 1. Part 2 occurred 2 days later. I'm lying in bed, it's the morning and I'm awake but lazy and don't want to get up yet. I hear the phone ring and my brother answer it and hang up a few seconds later. I hear my mom ask who it was and he says "it was a recorded message from the police saying there has been a string of car break-ins and robberies in our neighborhood between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m. over the past few days so be sure to lock our cars and leave nothing valuable in them." I sit up in bed. No wayyyyyy.... I think to myself. Those annoying kids were car thieves... or, more accurately, car item thieves? Obviously I'm making a huge assumption, but it's a natural, albeit proof-lacking, conclusion. I decide to tackle my phone-phobia and call the police, partially to be a good citizen and partially because part of me likes being a tattle-tale when I know it's right. They listen to my story and say they're sending a cop over right away to get a written record of my account. Cop car pulls in the driveway a couple of minutes later. I re-tell the story again. I give the physical description of the one-kid I saw, halfway hoping they brought one of those "draws the criminal's faces based on the description" dudes with them, knowing they probably didn't. I'm asked if I could recognize him in a line-up. (This is fun!) My imagination again goes wild and I picture them having a whole line-up of men having to say "what the f*** is she doing?" one at a time, so I can pick out their voice as well. I'm sure I won't even be called again, but I can have my 2 second "crime witness with-little-risk-to-myself-because-criminal-is-a-kid-and-it's-a-petty-items-in-a-car-theft" fantasy. The cop gives me more detail on the case than I am fairly certain he's supposed to before leaving. Now I have some paranoia that the children's gang will find out I gave them a lead and destroy my car or something. But really I'm just hoping to hear some exaggerated, will never happen, story on the news about a group of underage car bandits who were stopped before causing more havoc to an otherwise quiet neighborhood.

Finally, a comment only (very) mildly related that interestingly enough seems more relevant due to the previous mention of looking up figures of speech... the homonym-like relationship between cars and my last name, Carr. Fairly obvious, I know... that connection in and of itself is not what I wanted to point out here. I feel like everyone at some point growing up thought up funny names... Eileen Dover, Anita Bath, Paige Turner, etc. Well at some point my brother and I realized our grandfather actually has a name like this... his full name is Robert Alan Carr... nothing strange, but you could call him Rob A. Carr, pretty funny. This weekend we joked that my brother should name his first daughter Lisa. Any others you can think of? Okay, so it wasn't related at all other than containing the word car.