A tale of unfortunate rental car karma…

 I have no idea why San Diego rental cars are cursed, at least when I’m the renter. I’m just glad I escaped without another incident since things seem to happen in threes.
I didn’t actually care for the first car anyway, it drove more like a Boston whaler. But it seemed ok until the third night. I was getting a few things out of the car and catching a ride with friends, but it wouldn’t lock with the key fob. Odd, but whatever. I just locked it from inside the door and closed the door. Which actually stayed locked ~ perhaps that should have been the second clue that something was amiss.


We went to the game (SDSU lost) and they dropped me back off. As they drove away, I realized that the car wouldn’t unlock with the fob. Ok, cars used to not have these electric things, I’ll just use the key. I pulled it out of the fob and tried to unlock the door. Nope. Grrrr.

All I had was my wallet and phone and keys. Luckily I had the gate key to the marina too. That is much more useful than a toothbrush. Down to the boat, figuring I’ve slept in my clothes plenty of times before, maybe not as sober. I called the rental car place, but was told they couldn’t do anything until 6 am and that I needed to call back in the morning. Annoying, but I was tired anyway.


That was my first night on the boat, I had been staying with friends in Oceanside. Early in the morning I was woken up by a loudspeaker voice announcing that it was going to be rough and that for safety everyone should come up to the office or something like that. I was completely confused, but there was no rocking so I waited. In a few more minutes a realized that it was the loudspeaker on a fishing boat that was leaving with a passel of tourists. Ah. But now I’m awake and it is almost six, so up I get to check on the car situation.
It still won’t unlock with the electric key fob or the key. But somehow the trunk knows that I have the key nearby and will open. I have no idea why, but at least I can get my clothes and such. There is also a release in  the trunk to let the seats down, so I crawl through and unlock the doors from the front. Hooray! Now the fob seems to work and I can lock and unlock the doors (tested from inside!).


I’m still really tired, so back to the sailboat for another hour of sleep. Then up again, showered, and ready for my conference. Except now the car won’t start. Seriously. I push the start button, and nothing. So I lock and unlock the doors and curse a lot. Eventually for some reason it starts. Now I’m late for my classes and super irritated. The ‘customer service’ rep on the phone makes it exponentially worse, telling me that I have to take the car back to the airport to trade it in – after insinuating that I can’t work a door lock. Oh, and make sure you fill that gas tank on your way…
I get the car traded with moderate hassle and successfully attend the second half of my lectures. The following day- no problems! 


The next morning as I’m leaving the parking space, the car feels weird. Flat tire? I didn’t notice one. I turn up the aisle and am met with terrible crumpling sounds and the car basically stops. What the??
Apparently someone left a wheel in the parking space in front of me which I couldn’t see from inside the car. I vaguely remembered seeing it in the lot the night before, but not in front of me. Now this wheel is wedged under the doors and I can’t back up or go forward. Guess I’m going to be late again.

Long story shortened a bit, I rummage around the lot and find a concrete block, then borrow a piece of wood from the tackle shop. I also noted that while they did give me a 2×4 piece, none of the three men working in the store offered to help nor even seemed remotely interested in my odd plight.

My ramp wasn’t high enough, and the car doesn’t seem to have a jack. Or a spare tire for that matter, just some inflatable thing. When I see a work truck start to pull out and leave, I flag the guy down to see if he has another board or a hydraulic jack or something I can use. He looked at me like I was nuts, but at least came over to see what was going on. ‘Well, I’ve never seen that before!’ No, me neither. He was a gem and found a jack from another vehicle and proceeded to actually help me!!


But first he took a picture so his appointment would believe why he was late : )
Happy to say I successfully returned the car and made it home unscathed.

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