Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's Coming Back On A Hook

A few years ago I hopped a flight to Nashville to attend a funeral. My friend Mike met me at the airport. He arrived earlier in the day, rented his car, checked into a hotel suite, and waited for me to arrive. Mike is at one time both kind and generous, impatient and a political flame thrower. He equally enjoys the power that comes from being “the heavy” at work, and writing a large check to donate to charity. So, he paid for the rental car, the gas, the hotel, and all of the booze that he stocked before my arrival. He also had a unique exchange with a young Indian lady working behind a car rental counter. I captured the incident on Arby’s Archives. I wrote:

I stood by the curb at Nashville International Airport last January and watched as a Cadillac Escalade pulled up next to the curb. Sitting in the front seat were two men I hadn’t seen in years, friends of mine from Chicago. We were meeting in Nashville for a drive to Hartsville, Tennessee, to attend a funeral. We had traveled from three different cities to lend support to a mutual friend from high school that lost his oldest son in a tragic accident. But before we arrived at the funeral we had to get past one another. We had been close friends once, a long time ago, but things changed over the years.

“Nice car,” I observed, sliding into the front seat, which was vacated for me by Dave, the shorter of Mike’s two passengers. Dave slid into the rear seat. I gratefully accepted the extra leg room.

“It’s a station wagon on big tires,” replied Mike, lighting a new cigarette off of the butt of his old one. “I hate it.”

“Why did you rent it?” I asked.

“It’s all they had,” he said, eyeing me sideways through a thick haze of smoke. “Can you believe that expletive?”

Mike reserved a full size car for our trip, thinking that a Buick LeSabre or its equivalent would be perfect for the ride. When the porter handed him the keys he stood looking for his car, only to realize that the SUV parked in front of him was his ride. He returned to the rental counter to complain.

"What is the matter, sir?" asked the rental car agent.

"Well, you gave me a truck. I booked a full size. You are out of full size cars and offered me your luxury vehicle."

"Yes sir, it's a Cadillac."

"It's a truck. At the most it is a station wagon.”

She shook her head politely.

“Are you kidding?" he asked.

"No, sir. Cadillacs are luxury cars"

"But it is not a car, it is a truck."

"It is a Cadillac sir."

"Granted, I will meet you half way, it is a Cadillac station wagon. I would like a car."

"Well we have our sports models."

"Good give me that."

She consulted her computer, tapping away in silence. "Oh,” she uttered, a look of surprise briefly crossing her face. “Well, the Cadillac is considered our sports vehicle."

"No way!"

"Oh yes,” she explained enthusiastically. “See, it is a sport utility vehicle..."

"But that isn't a car, is it?" he interrupted.

"Well, no, but it is a Cadillac.” She stared at him momentarily. “Boy, those are really nice. Did you drive one?"

"No, and I really don't want an adventure this trip. I really just want a car."

"Well, we have a few compacts. They get great mileage," she offered.


"I have a green midsize Escort"

"They still make those? Pass."

"Well, we have a cargo van. You can move a..."

"Oh, God! Pass,” he interrupted. “Just give me the wagon."


"The station wagon."

"I am not showing a stati...” she trailed off, puzzled. “Oh, you talking about the Cadillac, right?"

"Yes. Upgrade the insurance."

"That's fine, Sir, we can do that for you. So to full coverage?"


"That is 10 dollars a day. Pretty good deal, really."

"Sure,” Mike said, tossing his Visa on the counter. “So no matter what happens, I walk away and a tow truck grabs this thing and it is your problem?"

"Oh, yes sir," she agreed, happy to get my irate friend away from the counter.

"Good. Now point out the nearest retention wall, because this thing is coming back to you on a hook."

"Oh, you so crazy sir."

"Good bye."

Mike glanced at me again as he navigated through traffic to exit the airport. “And that was that,” he explained. “We have this expletive. Sorry, Cadillac expletive.”

“Save the retention walls until after you’ve dropped us off,” I requested. It was the start of a long trip.

That's Mike!


CrossView said...

I remember this post! And I remeber thinking that I'd like your friend. I can imagine lots of laughs and arguments with him...

CrossView said...


jedijson said...

So what was the state of the Cadillac explitive when he turned it back in? Just curious.

I'll continue to pray for him.

Big Doofus (Roger) said...

This reminds me of something that happened to me a few years ago. Boy, I get good blog ideas when I steal them...I mean obtain them from other blogs. I'll try to post it soon. I'm hoping to have another book review up today.

Anonymous said...

wow. just wow. And how dissapointing for you.

Nickie Goomba said...

I wish my rental car place would disappoint me with a Cadillac. I usually end up driving the Chevy with the bad wipers.