Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rental Car

I had an opportunity to get a luxury rental car from Sixt, a company I had never heard of, for this trip, for the same price as everybody else was charging for your domestic 4-doors.  I figured, what the hell.

But when I got to the pick-up desk at the Seattle airport, all they had was a Mercedes SUV, an ML-350. This thing was a tank, and it drove like one of those Oldsmobiles from the 80s, which is to say, like a boat. It had a big engine.  It was "swag," as Graham has taken to saying, but I was not very comfortable driving it, physically, or socially.

And then on the second day, while we were still in Seattle, I started to get a message on the dash saying it was low on coolant.  "Check the owner's manual," it advised.  Not really my plan for vacation.  So the day we were to leave Seattle, I called up the rental company, and they said "just bring it back and get something else," which is the plan I had decided made sense too.

So I went back out to the airport, and I saw that they had a BMW 5-series, a Camry, and maybe a Volvo wagon too.  And when I got to the counter to trade in the paperwork, I said, "just put me in a Camry," and then I paused, before saying "or I could take the BWM 530 or the Volvo." But it was too late.  She had jumped on opportunity to give me the Camry.

I think it was the right thing.  The controls are just like my Prius, it gets good mileage and, now that I am out here in the hills, I see very few fancy cars.  Lots of Subarus, Hondas, Toyotas, and, yes, trucks.   It feels like a place where people aren't expressing themselves through cars, which is nice.

Chapel Hill used to be a little more like that.  Now I see more Porsches and even more exotic Italian things.  I am at home in this Camry.

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