Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Because our spare car has become another casualty, my wife and I decided to rent a car for a week while the Ford is in the hands of the Gilford Guru. If the game runs more than a week we'll pursue other options.

The '95 Toyota unfortunately ended up in the hands of an unimaginative local mechanic who goes by the rate book no matter what. The collapsed strut the Gilford Guru could fix for about $180 got an estimate of about $400 from the guy nearby. And so it goes. The tow to Gilford would be prohibitive, so it may be "game over" for faithful Rusty.

The Gilford Guru did say he'd check out one last option for transporting the Toy before we write the official time of death. If Rusty comes back for another farewell tour it eases things considerably.

Meanwhile, the rental car. We signed up for an econobox, but the rental company upgraded me to a small hippo when I got there.

"Don't you have an econobox?" I asked.

"No," said the very nice rental guy. "We're upgrading you to the small hippo at no extra charge."

Before I could say anything he looked thoughtful. "Oh yeah, it will cost more in gas." Beat. "But it'll be great in the snow!"

He was very nice and I didn't want to be a prick, so I didn't say that I'd seen far too much ditch bait like this on its side with its summer radials in the air, and that I felt a lot more secure in a little econobox. They'd upgraded me, after all. Who wouldn't be tickled?

I remembered 2002, when my in-laws reserved a small SUV for four adults, an 11-year-old and all our luggage on a wedding trip to the Seattle area. That time, the rental company "upgraded" someone who didn't need an SUV with our car and stuck all of us in a Ford Escort. The best joke was that we met the people who got the upgrade at the wedding. They were telling everybody about how they arrived at the airport around mid-day and got such a nice treat from the car rental place.

Whoever got my econobox, wanna trade?

For now, I have to make a big sign to stick on the hippo, saying "Please don't hate me. It's a rental."

When the tranny comes out of the Escort I really want to get a catapult and fire it through the front windows of a certain Ford dealership. The Gilford Guru suggested a trebuchet was more hip, but I want something with a flat trajectory. I want that transmission casing to come in low and level, spewing burned fluid and small parts. I savor the thought of the explosion of glass shards and the sharp "whack" it will make when it hits the nearest display model.

The Guru said, "with a trebuchet, you could throw the whole car." As usual, I like the way he thinks. But the car was basically sound until the botched repair in Niantic. I hate to waste anything useful.

Until next time, kids, remember to get regular oil changes, check your tire pressures and never trust a dealership service department.


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