License plate

My new license plates.

Advertisements

The car

Yesterday, I decided to take my Mom for a drive down to Kemptville as a treat. When I tried to start the car, all I got was a clickety-clickety-clickety-click sound. The radio was working but the window wipers were really slow. I figured it was the battery… again. I just had it replaced after it died about a month ago! I called CAA and he gave me a boost. We chatted for a couple of minutes and when I said that I had just replaced the battery he suddenly said “Open your trunk!” He closed it after putting the back seat down and looked into the trunk from the inside of the back seat. “Check it out! That’s why your battery is dying so often!” The interior trunk light was staying on when the trunk lid was closed. He removed it and I shouldn’t have any trouble with it.

Loaner: Chevy Cruze

My poor little Toyota Corolla was dead in the driveway on Tuesday morning and since I had a LOT of running around to do on both Tuesday and Wednesday (pick up Ange and Ryan at respective workplaces and IKEA on Tuesday; and run out to Kemptville to get Mom’s OHIP card renewed on Wednesday) I was going to need a car ASAP. The only rental company I could find that had a vehicle on short notice was Hertz. And while I had promised NEVER to rent from Hertz again after the fiasco when moving back from New York (paid in cash to the penny in US$ and was charged as well on my credit card and told I had to deal with the New York City branch… Visa simply refunded my money when I faxed my receipts but STILL!), I had no choice.

They had a brand new Chevy Cruze  for me. Dark blue, 25km on the clock and the brand new car smell.

I set the alarm off in the parking lot of Hertz and took AGES to find the seat adjust handle (there are three… seat tip, seat height, and back adjust which I didn’t find until after I got out of the car later in the day.

A very comfy ride but the pick up was spotty, sometimes having to floor it in a tight spot and then feeling the gas come and go. Good braking. No complaints there. However, as with any American car I have used, it is a gas guzzler. I used half a tank just going back and forth across town and then another half driving down to Kemptville. In my Corolla (2003), while not getting the mileage I did when I first bought it, if I fill up in Ottawa, we can spend the day running down to Kemptville and all over the countryside before filling up in Kemptville (where gas is cheaper than in town) after only using less than 1/2 tank.

Nice car… nice ride… but until the American car-makers get around to building cars that are gas efficient, I won’t be buying on.

My thoughts on Volvos and their drivers

As I have said before, Volvos are very safe vehicles. Apparently, they have a much lower rate of accidents. That is, in my opinion based on thousands of hours on the road, because their drivers never drive them fast enough to get IN an accident. Frequently, the oblivious behaviour of Volvo drivers causes accidents which drives up the accident rates of other model cars.

I have known only one Volvo driver who EVER drove at or above the speed limit and have very rarely encountered a Volvo driver who has not driven at well below the speed limit, gone through an intersection at anything but a crawl, and not been at the head of a line of traffic going well below the speed limit.

Is it the car or the driver?

This afternoon, on the way out to collect a U-Haul van, I was behind a silver Volvo station wagon (99% of Volvos on the road seem to be station wagons — more often silver).

In a 60 km zone, he was driving 40, except through the intersections where he slowed to 20. Sorry… he “sped up to” 20 after crawling out of a stop at every intersection because by the time we got to the intersections, the light was red. I finally was able to slip past him when the road widened to two lanes. Whereupon, he sped (in the right lane) up to pass all the traffic in the fast lane and skim into the lane when the right lane merged. So I KNOW that his vehicle could drive over 60.

As soon as he merged into the lane, he slowed to 40 again along the single lane with no passing allowed, and again crawled through every intersection.

Why Volvo is spending millions on automatic collision detection system is beyond me… Even if it did work, Volvo drivers would never get within 18 feet of another car in front of them to have this system kick in.

I’m glad I’m not the only person who hates Volvos and the drivers that own them.

“So why do I hate Volvo owners? Because they know damn well that if they if they ram you in your proper car, they’ll live and you’ll die. How would you act at work if you nicked a carload of office supplies, seduced the boss’s teenaged daughter and committed nine counts of aggravated fiduciary misconduct and someone else got fired for it? Now imagine how Volvo owners drive.”

I have actually heard Volvo drivers defend their driving 20 km and more below the limit by saying “I drive at that speed to be safe”. In that case, you are an idiot. Driving at 20 km below the limit doesn’t make you “safer” than other drivers. Not driving within the safe speed limit and causes other drivers to get fed up and do stupid things to get around you. That is why in Quebec and other jurisdictions, there are minimum speed limits which are usually about 10 km less than the maximum. Driving 20 km under the limit under normal road conditions is just as dangerous as driving over it.

Get over yourself and get over the mentality that the car you drive makes you a better person and therefore, a better and safer driver.

Now… don’t get me started on Subaru drivers….

“How are you?”

Here’s a question….

When you ask someone “How are you?” or “How are things going?”, do you expect someone to answer truthfully? Or are you just asking out of  form?

Are you taken aback when they answer “Things have not been so good…” or “I’ve been sick all summer”… or “I have cancer…”

I had the experience this weekend of being asked repeatedly “How was your summer?” and “How’s it going?” and then a glassy stare, and an uncomfortable “Oh dear… Well, gotta run.” when I answered truthfully…

In one case, I received a quizzical look and “Welll… Um… thanks for your honesty.” and then they looked for a quick exit. Now, I am not telling them that I have been abducted by aliens or that I have decided to become a sex-worker to support my crack-habit… I am simply explaining how things have been with my Mom sick and how Mom’s memory is. And these people were all members of our congregation, who I have known for years and, more importantly, have known Mom for years.

The “thanks for your honesty” one was from our minister.

Now, it isn’t as though I am going around unloading on everyone I meet… I’m talking about the people who supposedly “care”.

I sometimes feel like I am from some other planet. When I ask someone how are you? I certainly hope that they are going to say fine because they are. But when they tell me they haven’t “been fine” or that things have gone terribly wrong in their lives, I don’t take this as a personal affront. I stop and listen and offer my sincere wishes for improvement… Even offer to help, if I can.

On the very rare occasion when I encounter someone who I know just complains for the sake of complaining, I probably won’t ask “How are you?” because I know the answer. But why bother asking, especially someone you know well and supposedly care about if all you want to hear is “Great!”?

How about actually caring how someone is? How about that, for a change?

how are you

Or maybe I should just hand out a card that allows them to check off the answer they want to hear….

___   Absolutely peachy-keen

___   My life is complete, now that you asked me

___   If I was any happier, my head would fall off

___   Short of shitting bricks of gold, I couldn’t be happier

___   These are tears of pure, unadulterated, fucking joy….

And, while we are at it… Why the fuck is no one using their damn turn signals this week? Did I miss the memo?

People that burn my butt…

This morning, I drove down town for our bi-weekly chiropractor appointments.

As usual, I tried to find a parking space but found that the only free spaces were taken by taxicabs idling in front of the Public Library instead of in the taxi rank outside the Indigo Hotel where there is ample space.

No, firstly, they aren’t paying for the parking spot, which is illegal. Secondly, they are idling which isn’t just bad for the environment, here in Ottawa, it is against the law unless it is above a certain temperature or below a certain temperature. Thirdly, when it is suggested that they need to move their vehicles they either ignore you or are downright rude and refuse to move.

index_en-1

Often, as I am up in the Chiro office, I watch the cars parked along that section of Metcalfe Street and can see the same taxis parked for well over 20 minutes. Often, when I come down tot he car after my appointment, the same drivers are in the same spot or have merely moved up one spot when someone who had parked has moved their car. Often, they are out of their cars, chatting while their cars are idling.

There is no Earthly reason why I, who am willing to pay for parking, should be shouldered out by taxi drivers who DON’T pay for parking. Especially, when parking downtown is at a premium.

So… while I drove around the block for yet another time looking for a space (using yet more fuel and causing more pollution) I find myself behind a line of cars waiting for a woman to cross the street who is slowly ambling across yakking on her cellphone.

So I yelled at he “Get off you fucking phone and cross the street”. As I made my way down the street, she barreled up to the car and whacked my window. As “luck” would have it, after finally getting a taxi driver to move and park my car, who should wander up the street but the woman I yelled at. She called me “vicious” and said she felt “sorry” for my mother because I was so “rude”. She said she had some sort of “injury” which was why she was so slow crossing the street. I opined that if she has an “injury” she seemed to have recovered from it and didn’t seem to be having a problem when she ran up the street to whack on my window.

Fact. She was walking and talking on the cellphone and was too preoccupied with that to know just how slowly she was walking and was oblivious to the fact that she was holding up traffic while she carried on a conversation. Not only is it silly and vain to walk on the street carrying on a conversation on your phone, it is dangerous. End of story.

daln247l

Regarding the taxis idling, I emailed the taxi company and Cc;d the city bylaw enforcement and the mayor, attaching the relevant City bylaws. So there… Pttthhhhttt….

UPDATE!

I received this response from Christine Vonk at Blue Line, the main culprit in this…

“I have forwarded your e mail to managers and they will ensure that messages are sent out to all drivers regarding this issue—I am sure this will be dealt with asap—thank you for your concerns!”

$1 a day…

You can’t beat the price of renting a car with CityFlitz! At a flat rate of $1 per day… Yes… that is one dollar, a mere Loonie per day !

For the outlay of $1, a choice of fuel-efficient cars (MINI Coopers, MINI Cooper Clubmans, Smart cars, VW Beetles and Toyota Prius),  you have free 24/7 pick up and delivery, free WiFi in every MINI, and unlimited mileage.

“Catch?” you ask? Well, yes. There is a catch. A number of catches to be precise.

Catches…

  • The car you get is essentially a moving billboard for companies and events.
  • You have to drive at least 30 km per day
  • You have to stay within the CityFlitz “zone”
  • and you have to register as a CityFlitzer*

* Cost for CityFlitz “membership”

One-time Security Deposit (fully-refundable)    $350
Annual Registration Fee     $35
Monthly Membership Fee     $7
Daily Car Rental Rate     $1

Oh… and currently, the company is only in Toronto, but plans are afoot to open outlets in Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

CityFlitz promotes itself as a members-only “car-sharing” service rather than car “rental” company. This means that rather than simply renting and returning, you are responsible for adhering to a series of membership rules (which include being least 23 and have had a license for three years, with no speeding convictions 20 kilometres above the speed limit and no at-fault accidents in past two years…).

There are 120 members and a waiting list of 4,000. Members can only book a car for one day at a time and can’t make a booking again until 48 hours later. Given the number of cars and the number of members, it is obvious that demand outstrips availability. However, the company says that with increased demand, they are adding new cars to their fleet.

Members are responsible to filling the gas tank and topping up the windshield fluids, as well as any bumps and dents that they get in the car. As well, they pay for any kms below the 30 km daily minimum ($4 per km).

If renting a car in a single day or for a whole week without any sort of responsibility beyond making sure you don’t have an accident and MAYBE filling the gas tank before you return it is all you are interested in, I would suggest using Hertz or Avis. But if you want the semi-regular use of a car and can work withing the rather large list of rules, perhaps “car-sharing”, whether with CityFlitz or some other company, this might appeal to you.

City Flitz Cars

City Flitz Cars

%d bloggers like this: