A few years ago my old co-hort, Chippy, coined this term: lulu's Bermuda Triangle. Boy she wasn't kidding.
Thursday of last week I rented a van for the Pride of Dixie Show. I went about my business and started to make ready to pack. Prior to this I PURPOSELY left the key on the kitchen counter in plain sight. When I went to move the van up to the garage I couldn't find the key. Oh, it's probably out in the garage on top of the quilts or the canning cupboard. Or maybe in my pocket. Or maybe it fell on the floor. Or maybe...
FIVE HOURS LATER...I am sitting at our favorite bar/dinner spot. Frantically trying to locate a LOCKSMITH. But not just any old locksmith, but one who can make a ENCRYPTED KEY with a COMPUTER! I am on my second cocktail at this point. The Doctor is eyeing my glass nervously...if it the liquid gets below a certain level he has the Bartender start another one..STAT.
Did you know that u-haul alledges that they don't HAVE replacement keys for the vehicles? Isn't that so quirky? I have another adjective for it but I can't use it here. You see, I called the local joint where I rented the van. A very nice lady told me I could come and get a replacement key. She'd let the manager know. I RACE to the place before it closes. LARRY, DARRYL and DARRYL were behind the counter. Larry was working with a customer. Darryl 1 was busy ignoring me. And Darryl 2 was counting lint in his belly button.
When I finally get Darryl 1's attention (hereafter known as D1) I chirp my little sad story about the key and could I please pick up my replacement. I am told RATHER sullenly that there 'ain't no replacement key....'
AS I START TO TELL HIM THAT I JUST CALLED HERE and the lady said I could come down an-
'It's a call center".
no, I called this number and-
'It's a call center...calls rollover to Phoenix'
But, wait, I called this local number and the lady said she'd tell the manager I was on my way"
"Call center's in Arizona. We don't have keys'.
**In the background during this the phones are ringing and ringing and rolling over right on out to PHOENIX ARIZONA because THAT MAKES SO MUCH FREAKIN" SENSE!**
At this point the 'manager' aka Larry pipes up:
'Nobody told the manager nuthin'.'
But I spoke to a woman named Sylvia and she said I could come on down.,
'WE DONT HAVE REPLACEMENT KEYS. You gotta call the 800 number for roadside assistance and have another key made. WE ONLY HAVE ONE KEY PER VEHICLE'
What? Why don't you have replacement keys? This is ridiculous....
D1 then says with such an attitude that I wanted to shove the bellybutton lint from D2 down D1's throat:
'It's in yer best interest to fiiind that key. It's encrypted. Gonna cost yew $150 to replace it.
'LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT: YOU RENT VANS. YOU ONLY HAVE ONE KEY PER VEHICLE? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?'
'LADY, I DEAL WITH THOUSANDS * OF VEE-HICKLES A YEAR. WE CAN'T POSSIBLY KEEP EXTRA KEYS...'
*It is here that I know this guy is soo full of it b/c the van I rented two months ago is the same van i have now...I still see the partial 'huff' written on the windshield from move-in at Scott's***
(YOU GUYS STILL WITH ME HERE? BECAUSE I AM ABOUT TO GO WILD.)
"what am I supposed to do now? "
Call the 800 number on the van. Roadside assistance has to git you another key. don't know why call center told you we had extra keys. NO ONE HAS EXTRA KEYS AT UHAUL. (I swear he said that with a straight face).
SO I STORM OUT. GET IN MY CAR. DRIVE. CALL GRACE and reverse our roles (see Post from Friday re: GRace and driving).
LONG HIDEOUS STORY SHORT:
Roadside assistance doesn't have anyone under contract WHO MAKES encrypted keys. REALLY? MORE TO THE POINT>>IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY TO FIND A LOCKSMITH> NO ONE CAN HELP ME AT U-HAUL. I HAVE MY THIRD COCKTAIL.
The next morning I call the 800 roadside # one more time. I finally get an ANGEL who actually seems to care. Later that day...MIRACLE OF MIRACLES...a nice man (CHARLIE) from the Atlanta Metro Service Shop for U-HAUL calls me and tells me,..ready...
HE IS HOLDING THE REPLACEMENT KEY TO MY VAN IN HIS HAND. HE WILL SEND SOMEONE OVER TO MY HOUSE AND DROP IT OFF. NO CHARGE. SO SORRY FOR YOUR INCONVENIENCE.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When I return the van to the u-haul joint The Doctor, who follows me in his car, comes inside. I think he is afraid of bloodshed and posting bail for me as a result of possible bloodshed. Larry is at the helm.
"I AM HERE TO RETURN MY VAN. THE NAME IS HUFF. AND I HAVE A REPLACEMENT KEY THAT THE GUY IN MARIETTA GAVE TO ME. NO CHARGE. but thanks to you I missed my show this weekend. "
"wow. you got a replacement key? that's good." hE SAID ALL SUGARY SWEET.
'WHY DO YOU RENT VANS WITH ONLY ONE KEY BUT DON'T TELL ANYONE HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO REPLACE OR THAT YOUR OWN ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE CAN'T HELP?"
I AM NOT KIDDING ABOUT HIS REPLY.
'WHY WOULD I WANT TO TELL ANYONE ABOUT THE KEY AND ALL THAT? but, hey if you find that other key..."
it is at this point he gives me my receipt and The Doctor is firmly escorting me out of the building before I can kick over a display of packing boxes.
So this is why I didn't do the show this past weekend. I still haven't found that damn key. lulu's Bermuda Triangle has taken another victim. Stay tuned . I am sure going to be surprised one day if I do find it. I think I will put my number on a sticker on that VAN for the next unfortunate victim who loses a key.
lock 'n load!
p.s. The van is a FORD. I think all new Ford vans have encrypted keys directly from NASA.