It’s official, I am now a mechanical Dinosaur. Having been rather knowledgeable about all thing vehicular, today I was Trumped (carefully chosen word) by a car I rented from NASA, that made me out to be a loser.
So, on my way to Guidlford, I go to Enterprise Cars to get what I ordered, a cheap Ford Focus or the likes. I fill out all the forms, signed my soul over to an obscure insurance company and got handed the keys. As we walked out the door for a viewing, I’m told they didn’t have what I ordered so I was getting an upgrade. And, there before me was a large turbo diesel Vauxhall with big wheels and fresh off the production line. It’s called ‘Insignia’, though ‘Inquisitor’ would be more appropriate. The assistant smiled and disappeared. Then the adventure began.
As soon as I got in the car, it sort of booted up all by itself. It flashed warnings about impending doom, but left me hanging because the danger sign never quite hung around long enough to read – something about releasing the park brake by holding your tongue between your front teeth until blood flowed. Then it all went quiet.
So the first test was starting the car. Fail. Five minutes later car is going and blood pressure increasing. Hand brake is a placebo switch that doesn’t do anything because angels of darkness decide what you really need. Release the clutch (yes, Poms don’t like autos), the brake light goes off automatically and all is well, until I stop at the roundabout. The engine shuts down by itself, which is a nifty fuel saving feature, but it’s only nifty if you know how to get the motor going again. Now I’ve seen this before. All you do is touch the accelerator and you’re off again. Nope. Not in a manual you don’t. Now all this is happening at one of those 10 lane roundabouts the UK is famous for. So I’m the first person at the entrance to the rounabout, half the UK is behind me and the Space Shuttle isn’t responding. The accelerator is unresponsive, the ignition thing is redundant, heart attack was imminent. After what seemed like a couple of days, it finally starts, but I’m still not sure why! After a couple of satanic roundabout rituals I discover it’s all about the clutch. As an act of humility, I pulled over, after half an hour of suffering, to read the 700 page owners manual and lost the will to live. Apparently it’s ‘a driver’s car’, assuming the driver is 17 and has NCEA level 3 in Play Stations version of ‘Doom 12’. I have named the car, Wormwood, after the little devil in the Screw Tape Letters.
It even looks possesed.