When Driving, First Know How to Start Car
Jungle Pants (roommate and bff), and I woke up with a full day planned of apple picking ahead of us – because it’s fall and that’s what muthafuckas do. Yes, it would be a grand day – breathing in the fresh air, bearing witness to the rolling green farm hills, and picking off mother natures food balls one pluck at a time. Per usual, the original sentiment of the day never quite holds true.
Both of us take public transportation or we transport around via our person – so we would need to rent a Zipcar to drive out to northern Maryland.
Obstacle 1: Starting the Car: As a woman now in my 30’s (dammit. it’s real when you read it) – I cease to amaze myself with the amount of things I can fuck up doing.
And I take that back – Obstacle 1 was Finding the Car.
Obstacle 1: Finding the Car: All of the Zipcars close by were booked so we walked 2 miles to next closest one. It was tucked away in a hidden alley behind some randos house covered in ivy and behind the same large boulder that was in Indiana Jones. After an hour and a half of walking through back corridors and crossing through peoples lawns (why do they do this?) we came about the two Zipcar parking spaces. We found the car we reserved that ZipCar named “Carlos”and were ready to hit the road.
Obstacle 2: Starting the Car: I turned the key and the dashboard lights v’roomed on but nothing else did. I turned it again and again – it seemed like it was on but just really quiet.
Me: “Oh I see – it’s probably an electric car.”
Jungle Pants: “Oh yeah, those are really quiet. I got one of those once and they’re impossible to turn on.”
Me: “Okay cool – so we should just go then?”
I reversed out of the spot and the car slowly rolled backwards to block the alley and then stopped. Then when I tried to put it in drive it didn’t move at all. Shit-balls.
Just as we slowly backed our car across the alley in what deemed to be an off or neutral setting another Zipcar patron strolled up to check out her ride for the day – not noticing us and our situation at all. She was an older lady with long straggly grey hair, probably in her late 70’s. Jungle Pants and I both watched her as we sat in the car blocking everything and not moving as she walked confidently towards her car. We ogled at her as she proceeded to take 500 plus photos of the car at every angle, I assume for liability reasons. She even took a few of the the engine and underneath the car – this was a full body inspection and no butt-hole was going un-inspected. I felt weird watching it. We snapped out of our glare and I tried to move the car by stepping on the gas – nothing. The engine was blatantly not on. We found a notice in the glove compartment that stated if the car did not start to call a service number.
Jungle Pants called the number and put it on speaker.
Zipcar: A lady answered, “Hello, Zipcar customer service, how may I help you?”
Jungle Pants: “Hi, yes – our car isn’t starting. We tried turning the engine on and it wont start.”
Zipcar: “OK, are there any engine lights on?”
Me: (I interject and yell into the phone) “YES! THEY ARE ALL ON.”
Zipcar: “All of the dashboard lights are on?”
Us: “Yes, all of them – every single one.”
Zipcar: “But it’s still not starting?”
Me: “Nope, not starting – unless it’s a very quiet start.”
Zipcar: “Sorry, a quiet start?”
Me: “I don’t know – never-mind.”
Zipcar: “That’s odd because I just had that car booked and the driver returned it with no problems – I’ll just do a bit of a re…set..”
Us: Sorry, what?
Car honks loudly out of nowhere
Us: Hello? Who’s there? Where is that? We’re blocking the alley and someone is trying to get through!”
We turn around and no car is behind us…
Zipcar: “Yes, that was me I reset the dash.”
Me: “GEEZUS Christ lady.”
Meanwhile the other lady is still taking pictures of her car so she hasn’t noticed that she wont be able to pull out once she’s done scrap-booking.
Zipcar: “Can you try turning the car on now?”
Me: “Yes, I’m trying still the same thing – I think the battery must be dead or the engine is blown out..” “Yes, the engine is blown out.”(not even a thing)
Zipcar: ” I don’t think the engine is blown out….(???) and as for the battery we just had this car out with someone else so it doesn’t make sense.”
Jungle Pants: ” Well, it doesn’t work ma’m and we’re stuck in the middle of an alley! And we’re GOING TO BE LATE FOR OUR APPOINTMENT!”
(apparently important appointments also count as picking apples in rural Maryland)
Zipcar: Well we can try and book you in another car but the closest is 5.4 miles away.”
Jungle Pants: “Okay but the whole reason we got a Zipcar is not to have to have a Zipcar to get to the Zipcar and we’re already late – very, very late.”
(note: there is no being late to apple picking…)
Jungle Pants steps outside of the car.
Jungle Pants: “FINE – We’re going to have to push.”
Me: “Ok, I’ll step on the gas.”
Jungle Pants starts pushing on the trunk – and it’s barely even rocking let alone moving anywhere.
Zipcar lady is still on the phone on speaker listening to our struggles.
I call out to the older woman: “Excuse me miss! I’m sorry we’re blocking you in and we need to get this car moved – I think the engine blew out….could you help push?”
The woman gives us a weird look and then joins Jungle Pants at the trunk to help.
I hit the gas. Nothing.
Why I think a 70 year old woman would help us achieve anything let alone this particular task – I have no idea.
Zipcar lady still one the phone: “Uh, hello?”
Jungle Pants yelling to the roof of the car where her phone is laying.
Jungle Pants: “Yes, hello! We’re pushing it ’cause it’s blocking everyone in. We have to push. Don’t you have a manual for this? There should be a manual…”
Zipcar: “A manual to start the car?”
Jungle Pants yelling: “I don’t know just like a generic car manual…” “YOU HAVE TO SEND HELP!” We’re stuck.”
I’m still in the driver seat occasionally stepping on the gas. Nothing. Jungle Pants and the old lady give it a rest since they basically just gently rocked me to sleep rather than actually moving the car. Jungle Pants hops back in the car with her phone.
Jungle Pants: “You’ll have to send help – we cant move.”
Zipcar: “You have your foot on the brake right?”
I look down at my legs and then look up at Jungle and do a slight “Nah” shake of my head. FUCK.
All the dashboard lights turn on I put my foot on the brake and the engine roars. The Zipcar lady hears everything.
Me: “Oh…that worked.”
Zipcar: “Ok, are we okay now – is there anything else I can help with?”
Jungle Pants: “Nope. That’s good – thank you.”
Me: “Well, I blew that. I think I just wasn’t pressing down hard enough or something and I thought it was an electric car and you know how quiet those are…….” <insert lists of things you say to cover your own ass…..>
We reversed out of our diagonal alley barricade position and waived to the old lady.
As we pulled away I yelled out the window, “Hey Lady!” “Thanks! It was the brake..hahaha…you know… the brake!”
She smiled and nodded but she knew we were just idiots. And I did too.