Friday, July 11, 2014

Hold the Door

This morning I dropped our car off at the dealership for the third time in two weeks. It's not falling apart as the number of trips to be repaired might suggest. No, each of these trips happened to be for the same repair, which hasn't yet happened.
The first time they told me what it needed, and that the warranty would cover it, but that I'd need to come back, as they didn't have the part in stock. Ok. That's reasonable, even though I'd been waiting for nearly three hours.
The second time, I had an 8:30am appointment. After hauling ass to drop a monkey off at soccer camp, I rushed to make it to the dealership in time, and then sat and waited. Nearly four hours later, when it was time to pick the same monkey back up from camp, I approached the service department to discover that not only was my vehicle's repair not finished but it hadn't even begun yet.
So I made another appointment, this time verifying that there'd be a loaner for my use while my own car got fixed.
I dropped it off and left in the loaner that was very similar to my car- so similar in fact that my completely unobservant monkeys didn't even realize it wasn't our van. Everything was going well- I wasn't stuck at the dealership all day, I could run errands, and the loaner looked at home parked in the driveway.
Sure, the windsheild's cracked. Ok, the exhaust is loud. And the check engine light is on, the right turn signal doesn't actually work, and the gas tank was empty when I got in. But other than those little things, it runs and it's temporary.
After a morning puttering around the house and make my grocery list, I headed out to the grocer's, content that the loaner would work fine for errand running even if I was slightly ashamed to be seen in it.
Everything was running smoothly until I came out of the store with a cart full of frozen items and attempted to open the back door of the van. Minivans, most of you will recognize, have large sliding back doors. This particular car's door is apparently broken, something I was not warned about when I was handed the keys.
Now, there's broken and then there's broken.
This door is so broken that once opened, it promptly fell directly off the car and nearly onto my sandal-clad feet.
Yeah, picture that for a moment. I'm pulling the handle with one hand while holding the cart still with the other, so my body's contorted, angled away from the van, but between it and the cart. Suddenly, I'm standing there slack-jawed as the door slides off the rails and onto the ground, my hand on the handle the only thing keeping it from crashing all the way down and onto my feet.
This happened, only more dramatically.
I jumped back a little as if I was doing some sort of ragtime dance in an attempt not to have my toes crushed and looked around frantically for help.
Luckily, there was a car full of men just a few spaces over who heard my plaintive pleas for assistance and came to my rescue. Because the three of them couldn't get it, either, another man who just happened to be walking by also came to my aid.
Between the five of us (ok, four of them and me wringing my hands extremely helpfully) we managed to get the door back on and latched and locked and I made a mental note not to ever open that door again under penalty of death. Or crushed toes.
What I've learned from this experience is that A) a dealership who can't even keep their own cars in good repair probably isn't who I want fixing mine, B) strangers can be very kind and C) there's no such thing as full disclosure.
Also, the fact that this even happened is bananas. Like, something from a Rom-Com, only not nearly as funny in real life.
Also, I'm counting down the minutes until my own van is parked back in my driveway and I can be rid of this beastly car that tried to kill me.