Saturday, July 12, 2008

For the Love of the Ghetto Honda

I'm in Rhode Island now and I finally have enough down time to sit down and type for once. The day has been kind of hectic as the logistics for the race tomorrow were downright asinine. Let's just say that it's beyond the level of complication that a full Ironman would require, and it's only a half.

We have rented this huge, hulking, monster of an SUV for our trip here. Since we need a bigger vehicle to carry the bikes and luggage with, we usually require something larger than the typical mid-size sedan. The rental agencies lately have been more than happy to discount the larger SUV's and mark up the "cross over" (euphemism for station wagon) because customers want the one that does'nt burn a half tank of gas going to the grocery store when gas is at $4 a gallon. This one was the "premium" of it's day. Leather seats, heated mirrors, adjustable pedals, electronic keys, and I counted 4 sun roofs!

Back at home I have this crappy (let's really say shitty) Honda CRV that I had bought before the turn of the millenia. It's underpowered, wobbly suspension, stick shift, and that's pretty much it. It's also been in about a half dozen "incidents", most of which were not by me (Liz). It also has for some unknown reason, about a dozen chainring marks on the ceiling. It's not a pretty car. It's the kind of car I wished I had in college. I ended up buying a new cheap car in high school which sort of meant you had to at least try and take care of it. My friends all had cars that cost less than their bikes and gave two shits about what happened to it. I liked that. I sort of like where the Ghetto Honda is right now, where it's market value falls right under the value of one of my race wheels. It's awesome when you can triple the value of your car by putting your bike inside of it.

At home, we have this game that's played on the highway called "Speed, Cut, Stomp" that every insecure asshole loves to play. Basically the way it's played is you find someone that pissed you off for creating some perceived slight, then you SPEED up to just a little ahead of them, and then you deliberately CUT into their lane and STOMP on the brakes. I really havent played the game on other people, but I've seen other people play it, and I've been on the receiving end once or twice. The beauty of the Ghetto Honda, is that it doesnt follow the rules of "Speed, Cut, Stomp". The whole premise of "Speed, Cut, Stomp" is that the person on the receiving end is supposed to step on their brakes to avoid a collision. Not Ghetto Honda. It doesnt care about things like straight metal or paint. It tells the other car to "Come on in. Old Painless is waiting!" The Ghetto Honda leaves the game with damage that no one will notice and the guy who played the game (hoping you would have followed his rules) gets a $2000 need for a new paintjob on his shiny SUV.

So, the real part of the story is Liz and I are at the beach to drop off our bikes and go for a swim. I tuck the electronic key fob into my jersey and ride the coast for a good 20 minutes. We rack the bikes, grab the wetsuits and head to the beach. Maybe it was all the bikini's or thongs, or whatever, but I simply put my wetsuit on and jump in. Key fob included. Liz and I swim to a couple buoys, call it a day and head back to the car. I then realize that the key fob was still in my pocket. I fish it out and it's dripping water. Not good. I press the unlock button and nothing happens. Since this is the only way to use the car, the prospect of us getting screwed by this is pretty good.

I pop the fob open and see that it takes a normal watch battery and I quickly locate one at the bicycle mechanics tent. No luck. There was a real metal key intended for opening the doors in a "back up" situation inside the car, but since the doors won't open with the fob, we can't get to it. Furthermore, I don't even know if the car will turn on with the metal key because the only ignition socket I saw was for this key fob, that is obviously soaked and not working.

By some stroke of luck, I had left the sun roof slightly open (one of the four!) and we figure it might be possible to take a coat hanger or a stick and punch the "unlock" button, which would be just dandy at this moment. We start digging around for what we could find. Bike lock cable: no go, cardboard poster roll: no go, reaching in with our hands, hoping they would magically extend to the button: no go. Just then, one of our parking lot neighbors start giving us a hand with a 6" mobile phone antennae that is destined not to work, when he notices the car radio antennae is loose. He unscrews it and creates a good 4' stick that will reach the button. He tries it and gets close, but his hands are too big for the gap in the sunroof and the antennae is too bouncy on the button to do anything.

Enter Liz. Small hands. She creates a duct tape "finger" and wraps it around one end of the antennae, reaches in, and actually pushes the button. Twice. Nothing happens. Figures. Fancy car turned itself off. Then our parking lot neighbor comes up with an idea, use some clothes line, make a noose, tie the noose to the antennae, lasso the lock button and pull. Three attempts and he pops the lock. Great!!

As soon he opens the door, all the alarms go off. The key fob doesnt work, so it won't turn off the alarms. Pushing all the buttons relating to the car, and even putting the useless fob into the ignition doest do anything in stopping the alarm. The alarm goes off for at least ten minutes. Cops are driving by, our neighbor is calling the rental company to see if they know how to turn it off, and I'm punching the dashboard in a hopeless attempt to stop it. Then it stops. I don't know why, but it does. I hate car alarms.

I try the key fob in the ignition, and at least the car starts. Thank God. The fob still does,nt work to open doors though. What we did find out though, is if you used the metal "back up" key to open the door, the alarm starts going off. We did find out that if you started the car, the alarm stops. The problem though is the time between opening the door, inserting the fob, and turning the ignition, the alarm goes off alerting everyone that, yes, you are entering a car. The routine for the day has been doing a 1,2,3, Go! in a mad attempt to bust into the car and turn off the alarm. I'm at about 3 honks before I can turn it off, but most of the time it's alot more than that. On race morning, we have to get into the car at 3am while everyone else in the hotel is still asleep. That'll be fun.

I miss my crappy Honda.

No comments: