This past week my vehicle, a large SUV, needed to have some work done. Like a good little consumer I took it to the dealership where I bought it for an oil change and left with a service appointment.
Before you point any fingers, they were running a special 21% off any work over $100 and because I bought the vehicle there they throw in a free loaner.
It is important to remember that I’m not exactly petite. Some might use a description like “Lumbering Oaf” to describe me. At Six feet tall, 350 pounds I’m not exactly “economy sized” by anyone’s lights.
As I waited to get my loaner car I asked for the biggest one they had. The clerk, clearly a man with a sense of humor, pointed to a silver car out in the drive area. It was the exact same size as the other two escapees from Ringling Brothers. All that was missing was a baker’s dozen clowns to occupy the vehicle.
I wasn’t sure if he was kidding or not, but it became painfully obvious that he was dead serious. It took a few tries to get in past the opening. I was reminded of my days on submarines. I would have been called a “hatch plug” because I filled the hatch and you could submerge the ship with that tight a fit in the opening. My elderly, recently operated on, knees didn’t like it much either. I had the wheel all the way up, the seat all the way back, and I still had to twist and turn to get in.
Once inside it wasn’t much better. My head touched the ceiling. No, make that: My head was two inches higher than the roof when I sat up straight. It meant I would be driving hunched down. I couldn’t straighten my legs or arms, and I was more snugly inserted into the driver’s seat than Andre The Giant in the cockpit of a Kaiten.
As I drove away the service manager ran out to the car. When I stopped and powered the window down he stood a few feet back and tossed an aerosol can through the open window. “Take this, it will make it easier to get in next time.” It was a can of “Pam.”
My transit home was frightening. I couldn’t see much out of the windows. It was rather like driving a Panzer II and only having the driver’s slit to peer through – small windows, bad angles, and low view point. I figured my outlook was skewed until I pulled in to my garage and had to look up to see the top of my lawnmower. Not kidding, it sat lower than the handle on the Lawn-boy. And, amazingly enough, it had the same engine.
After extricating myself from the soda can I creaked inside the house and went to bed.
That night I left a bit early for work so that I could grab something to eat. My choice was reduced to places that had drive-through service, because I knew I’d never get out and back in without the can of Pam. I’d left it on the counter.
Happily I survived the brush with claustrophobia. Upon returning the car to the dealership the next morning I was relieved to see Bobo and his crew ready to take it back and give me my beloved red beast. It did inform my next purchase in the automotive world: anything but that little clown car.