Marcellus My cell phone rang. I had been waiting at the Syracuse Airport for a half-hour, anticipating my spouse’s arrival from his weekend celebration in D.C. at the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps. His plane was due in about 10 minutes. It was 11:15 p.m. Who else would be calling me at that hour?
The spouse was still in D.C. His plane left on time, taxied onto the runway, then returned to the terminal. Why? The pilot had exceeded the number of hours that he was allowed to fly. Are you kidding? My spouse and the rest of the passengers would be guests of U.S. Air for the night. There wasn’t much either of us could do. I told him to think of this as an adventure. I’d go home and come back tomorrow. Little did I know.
I turned the key in the ignition. The dashboard lit up and a big green key appeared ghost-like on the instrument panel. The car buzzed, no tell-tale pathetic cranking, just a buzz and the green key. It was then 11:30 p.m. What to do? Should I get outside and look under the hood? After all I did take driver’s education. Being an educated woman of the world, I did what was appropriate. I called AAA.
The guy at dispatch asked a few diagnostic questions, told me that a tow truck was on its way and then tried to help by troubleshooting the problem. The big green key was a clue. “Your car is disabled,” he said. “This happens when someone tries to break into your car or start it with the wrong key.” “You’re kidding”, was my brilliant reply. When did this theft attempt occur? I just drove to the airport and have been in the car since I parked. But what do I know? Thus began several odd remedies that included waving my key fob over the steering column, exiting the car and locking and unlocking the door eight times. Nothing worked. My fate was sealed. The car had to be towed. I explained to my sympathetic dispatcher that I had no way of getting home. “You have a complimentary car rental with you AAA membership.”