Friday, August 26, 2011

How Mom got trapped in My Sister’s Van

I went to Lynch Park with my sister and her three small children and my mother. Lynch Park has two beaches, a playground a rose garden and an ice cream stand, so it’s the perfect place to take small kids. My Mom used to take my sister and I (and all of our cousins) there when we were kids for the same reason. Unfortunately for us, Lynch Park has lately removed all their trashcans in an effort to save money. (Because allowing people to throw litter on the ground and make the place disgusting isn't going to eat into your revenue stream the way having trashcans will?)

We spent the morning on the beach, and aside from the part where my smallest nephew decided he was afraid of seaweed, we had an enjoyable morning. We ordered take-out from Dom’s Trattoria in Beverly Farms and ate the take out at a picnic table. Because there were no trash cans Mom and I took the pizza boxes and plates back to the car to throw out in my trash. Here is where the problem arose.

We got stuff into the trunk, but then Mom wanted to put my niece’s shorts (which had gotten wet) into the car to dry so that my niece could wear them later. Mom pulled on the handle of one of the back doors to the mini-van and the car started crying. “Now we’re going to have to go get your sister.” Said Mom. I didn’t want to walk all the way up the hill to where my sister was, because then I’d have to oversee the three small children while she walked out to the parking lot. Also, the car would be crying and using up its battery the whole time this took, so I called my sister to ask for help. Unfortunately, she wasn’t answering the phone. I kept calling her.

After another 5 minutes of trying to get doors opened, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. I don’t drive—but I troubleshoot machines for a living. I asked for the electronic key fob. I pushed all the buttons on it (luckily for us, this key fob did not have a panic button which sets off the car’s alarm.) When I hit the button for close and lock all the doors (I assume-the key fob is a bit worn so the icons convey less information than they originally did) the car stopped crying. But now my 70-year-old mother is trapped in the back seat and the back doors won’t open (when she tried to open them the car started crying again.) She was uninterested in climbing back into the front seat to go out the two doors that work.

So I did the thing that made the most sense to me. I sat in the driver’s seat and turned the car on. “Do not turn the car on!” Said Mom.

“Mom, if I’m going to figure out what’s wrong with the car I have to sit in the Command Center.” (A friend of mine laughed her ass off when I described the driver’s seat as the “Command Center” but I think my metaphor was not too wrong.) I had unhappy machine. In order to figure out why it was unhappy, I turned it on and went to the place where all the information was displayed.

“Turn the car off!!” I really don’t know what she was thinking—*I* know I can’t drive—I didn’t plan on solving the problem by taking the car for a spin. “Turn the car..!! Oh. It’s in Drive. Put it in Park.”

“How do I do that?”

“Move the lever—no not that lever—the other one. Up one. No up one more.” My mother has a Master’s degree in Education, but apparently this does not apply when Teaching How To Operate a Motor Vehicle.

“So..the doors wouldn’t open because the car was in dive?” I asked.
“You didn’t put the car in Park when you ‘parked’ it Mom?”

It was at that point I heard my phone saying “To replay this message press 1.” So the whole episode was caught on my sister’s voicemail.

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