Automobiles: The local Hertz franchise near me is the worst. First of all, they never ever give you a car with a full tank. Once I rented some new model mini-SUV and the manager and I had a chat about the car. He said he used it to haul his 5 kids around over the weekend. Later on, I realized the tank was only at 3/4 and there were candy wrappers under the seats. That is not good customer service.
This time, they tried to stick me with a Jeep Patriot. What a crappy car. Usually, I’m only driving from here to there so the car doesn’t really matter much but this time, I was keeping the car for a week to drive around Baltimore and southern Maryland. I didn’t get as far as the next stop light when I knew I had to take it back. Noisy, uncomfortable and lousy visibility. They traded it for a car I never heard of before – a Nissan Rogue. It didn’t look like much at first but it was great. It had the best vent direction design I ever saw. I might consider buying one for that feature alone.
Like almost every car I’ve been in, though, there was a sad lack of little compartment to stand my cell phone in. I know you’re not supposed to be distracted by a phone when you’re driving, but seriously, doesn’t every beep, tone and blip that comes out of the radio sound like an incoming call? It’s far more distracting to me to grab for the phone and hold it up to see if it’s lit up or if I missed a call. I need to have the phone where I can see the screen so I know if I need to pull over and attend to things. Don’t forget, I’m doing all this driving while tending the usual business fires.
Radios: Thank goodness I wasn’t burdened with one of those satellite radios this time. I never know what to do with them.
I usually set the radio to scan FM stations until I find something I like — sometimes it scans for the whole trip. Driving down on Monday it was All Whitney/All The Time*. Coming back it was an over-abundance of Like A Prayer and I’m Sexy And You Know It.
[*The governor of NJ ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff over state government buildings today. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I think I’m in favor of it. I don’t recall a similar flap when he did the same thing for Clarence Clemmons. I guess Christie wasn’t such a prominent threat to President Super Genius then and didn’t need constant criticism from “reporters”.]
Roads: The whole Baltimore-Loop-DC-Beltway thing is a big clogged up, under construction mess. Very aggravating. I could use a little time away from driving on any road that ends in 95.
Also, I was at a slight disadvantage because I never updated the maps in my GPS since we bought it three years ago. It all but said to me “there is no exit 4A, you moron” when I was looking right at exit 4A and it was recalculating like hell for the whole trip. My idea is to update the maps – Sami’s idea is to just buy a new one since the prices are not that much different. Opinions?
Bonus material: I didn’t have any time to keep track of eBay while I was away so I had to get the pent-up need to shop out of my system with an immediate trip to Christmas Tree Shops when the trip was over. I bought the cutest little sparkly peep in a top hat for $1.29. I can heartily endorse sparkly peeps as tension relievers. Get yours now.