Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I need a vacation.

Last night, Torsten and I booked a car for an hour and a half to buy groceries, as we do every week or two. After the shopping itself was done, I parked the car in the back driveway of our building and we brought the groceries upstairs to our apartment. We had some extra time before the car was due back, so we went ahead and unloaded the groceries with a mind to ice cream not melting, meat not going bad, etc.

And then we both just completely forgot about the car that didn't belong to us sitting down there in our driveway by itself. I don't know if it was our combined work and family stress that made us just totally put it out of our minds, but once we put the groceries away, we collapsed on the couch and watched Friends. Then we went to bed.

I even got an email about my car account and read it while sitting on the couch, and it still did not occur to me that the very overdue car was still chilling out downstairs.

Only this morning, on my way out the door to catch the bus to work, did I remember that I never returned the car last night. I have no idea what made me remember, but suddenly the events of the previous night played through in my head, and I realized that returning the car was not involved in those events.

To any of my neighbours who like to sleep past 7:50 in the morning, I'm sorry for waking you up with the loudest "Shit!" I have ever uttered.

I tore like a madwoman downstairs to the driveway, where thank God that sign about towing cars left longer than 15 minutes is clearly there for decorative purposes only. There was the car, just as I'd left it, sitting nonchalantly in the driveway. I couldn't get in, of course, because my reservation had expired. So I sprinted upstairs and booked the car for right then, then ran back downstairs, hopped in the car, drove it to its actual home, properly scanned out, and then ran for the bus. Which I made, by about three seconds.

When I got to work I checked my bill to see if we'd been charged hundreds of dollars in late fees. Because it's a minimum of $50 per hour if you return the car late. It has to be that high in order to make sure that people always return the cars on time. And it works. Everyone returns the cars on time. Except us, apparently.

I was trembling as I checked the site, totally prepared to call up and try to argue my way out of it. After all, the car had spent the night only about 100 yards from where it actually lives. I hadn't scanned out, though, and that's how you prove you dropped the car off on time.

It's obviously my lucky day, though, because there were no late fees. Thank god they do not have some sort of sophisticated, GPS-based system for knowing when you're late. Rather, they can tell if you've scanned out, they can tell if the car is being driven, and of course, when they get angry calls from whoever reserved the car after you, they can tell if it isn't where it's supposed to be. But that's all they know.

So I guess they gave me a free pass on the not scanning out part. But oh my god, I'm still shaking from the anticipation of seeing $500 in late fees charged to our credit card. I have never done something like that before. What the hell is wrong with me?

21 comments:

La said...

I think you definitely need a vacation.

Maybe I could come, too?

:)

Stephanie said...

Oh lord. What a mess - I HATE when stuff like that happens, especially when it is SO unlike you! I'll cross my fingers that the ZipCar gods were looking down on your last night and won't charge you the late fees.

And don't you have a lovely vacation coming up soon? Only x more days!

Alice said...

oh man that sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize something like that.... ick, the worst. i'll keep my fingers crossed that the zipcar powers that be remain lenient... :-)

dreamgirl said...

YOURE SO LUCKY!! thats awesome i dont even know how that whole thing worked, but KARMA - pay it forward now :o)

Pickles & Dimes said...

Wow! Sounds like you just zoned out; happens to me all the time in the weirdest ways. Like I'll almost leave the house but then go back inside to grab something meaningless and then I'll see my PURSE on the counter.

Last week, I went to get a pop from the vending machine, came back upstairs and 15 minutes later, realized I didn't have my pop. So I went back to the vending machine and it was still there. So apparently, I put my money in the machine, pressed the button, AND WALKED AWAY.

I'm so glad you didn't get charged any late fees. That would've been such a hassle.

pseudostoops said...

ugh, those are just the worst moments. what a lousy way to start the day.

JMC said...

Wow, you lucked out! I guess no one had booked it after you. If the fees show up later, could you just say that you forgot to scan out, but that the car WAS actually returned? You know... LIE?

Clink said...

I read this and I kept thinking "that is so something I would do."

You do need a vacation! So do I! Meet you at the beach?

d e v a n said...

oops! I hope those late fees never show up!!

TwoBusy said...

Brain fart. Happens to everyone. Glad it (apparently) won't cost you.

LoriD said...

Yay for no late fees. I'm still trying to figure out the car rental deal you've got there. Scanning cars in and out. Hiring them for an hour? It's all so urban and cool!

Banana said...

I HATE it when I do stuff like that. That "Oh Shit" moment and the resulting panic and anxiety is the worst.

So glad you didn't get charged!

Tessie said...

This kind of thing happens to me all the time. I'm a total zone-outer. That scanning in and out is seriously cool though. BACK TO THE FUTURE!

Penny said...

Oops! Glad you escaped the late fees. It would have sucked to have been charged $500 to watch Friends, ya know?

Sarah said...

OMG I JUST REMEMBERED SOMETHING, are you ready for an insanely long comment? Yes? Okay- GO:

Two weeks ago school ended and I had a prepaid lunch card that still had $5 on it that I knew wasn't going to get used for like a month so I decided to use it up on something I normally wouldn't buy. I decided on two Rock Star energy drinks, I think because I was tired that day and knew I was going to be up late, or something. I bought them just as I was leaving for the day and I think I threw them in my backpack, and put the backpack in the back of the car like I always do. I rarely have homework, so the packback always stays in the trunk until the next day of school. Well, this was the last day and of course I left the backpack in the car. It's sat there for two weeks, plus a day. I was in a meeting about an hour ago and someone was drinking a Rock Star. And then it HIT ME. I HAD TWO ROCK STARS IN MY TRUNK. Then I came back to my computer and have been reading blogs for the last hour, COMPLETELY HAVING FORGOTTEN ABOUT MY REMEMBERED ROCK STARS. UNTIL NOW. When you told a story about forgetting something. And now I'm going outside, all the way to my car in the freezing cold, to get said Rock Stars.

So thanks.

Sorry about all the yelling.

Glad you didn't owe a bunch of money.

Saly said...

That is totally something I would do, but I'm a known scatterbrain.

Good that there were no fees though!

Sarah said...

Got 'em! Mmmmm I'm drinking one now.

Stefanie said...

Whew. I am breathing a big sigh of relief FOR you! Glad you got a free pass on that. I don't suppose you'll forget again now!

BS said...

You're obviously a good person with excellent karma...who needs a vacation. Very glad your story had a happy ending with no late fees!

Flibberty said...

Lately I've been doing stupid stuff like this all of the time. This morning, just on my way to work, I completely spaced getting on to the free way and just merrily continued on the side roads for about 5 miles until I cursed loudly and had to turn around and get on the freeway. I have no idea where my brain was. No idea.

I hope the universe sees fit to just give you a free pass on this one, and I guarantee that you will never forget again.

Kristie said...

I had no idea you could check out a car. How cool is that! Do you get to pick what car you want?