Today the membership upgrade took effect. I planned for an afternoon excursion to deal with the car, hoping that Sunday afternoon would be slack time both at the airport and for AAA.
1:40 PM: airport's pretty busy, but I luck into a parking space for my rental car about 5 down from the CR/V. Place call to AAA, explain that the car is in a parking deck, must be towed because of the engine overheating, and that it's a "4 wheel drive on demand" which means a flatbed tow truck or one using a dolly. We discuss the problems of the low overhead in the garage, so I know the operator gets it. She announces at the end of the call that it's 1:48, and I should have service by 2:48.
about 2:15: supervisor calls back "to discuss your service call". "Is the car in a garage? Do you know the clearance? (no) We'll need to send a service truck to help get the car out of the garage, then a tow truck." (We discuss that the car can perhaps be driven that far, if a service person fills the radiator.) "Someone will call you back immediately with an ETA."
No call for ETA.
2:30: bad-quality call from service truck--"Ma'am, the airport people can come jump your car faster than I can get there." "But I don't need a jump-start--I've got radiator problems!" "Oh, you need a tow." "I know, but the car's in a garage." "I'll contact AAA."
[By this time, I'm standing at the edge of the garage but in sight of my car, trying to improve my cell reception. And reading my library book in little snippets. Lovely atmosphere--about every 5-10 minutes an extra-loud takeoff will set off a nearby car alarm. That car owner is going to have a lovely homecoming...]
3:15: I call for a status. After some research, the operator tells me it will be 50 minutes, and asked if someone didn't call me a few minutes ago with an update. (no) They have apparently just found someone who deals with parking garages. I b*tch a little about the time and my sinking cell-phone battery. She tells me it will be 40 minutes.
I walk into the terminal, use the bathroom, pay a dollar for a can of Coke Zero (caffiene!), and retreat to the car to read in a little more comfort.
4:00: tow truck driver calls as he is entering the garage, and I direct him to my car. He's extremely efficient--checks that he needs a dolly, pushes the car out of the space, hitches it up. He knows the procedure to get out: I'll have to fill out the "tow truck form" and probably show ID to prove that it's my car. I gather my 2 parking tickets (CR/V and the rental) and lead the way to a cashier's booth.
4:10: cashier roughly knows what to do, which is to call for her supervisor and also start filling out the form. Supervisor either can't understand her Caribbean accent, or isn't paying attention, as it takes 2 calls before he comes. Meanwhile I have filled out the top of the form, the tow truck driver does the bottom, and we wait for the supervisor. At least there are enough cashiers open that we aren't backing up a huge line. Supervisor finally appears, asks if that's my car ("yes"), skips an ID check (who would go through this effort to steal a 10 year old Honda CR/V, anyway?), and signs the form. I hand off my credit car to the cashier, and she runs the first ticket and keeps the card. I pull away, stop the car, and go back for my credit card and receipts for both tickets.
4:20: I head home, and hopefully the tow truck driver delivers my car to the shop up near my office. I had picked up a night-drop envelope this morning and filled it out, so he can just drop in the key and put the envelope in the slot.
Tomorrow's episode: The Repair Estimate.