I purchased a new car last week, the first in almost 10 years. It comes with a 250-page instruction book, plus three additional manuals to guide you through the high-tech accessories, but there is no key. I always liked the idea of having a key. “Hey, Dad, can I have the fob to the car tonight?” Sorry, that doesn’t have the same charm.
The car also comes with Bruce, the sales guy at Hyundai, who said he will “always be by my side.” He didn’t literally mean that, but he did give me his cell number in case I had any problems. Unless, of course, the problem includes using the Bluetooth cell phone technology, in which case I could drive back to the dealership. That is, if I remember how to start the car.
Bruce was very patient with me. He told me that “before you bring this baby home, you need to know how to take care of her and understand exactly how she operates.” This is pretty much what Mary Ellen’s father said to me the night before our wedding.
My new steering wheel has 12 buttons on it. That’s more than a corset from the Elizabethan era, and probably just as difficult for an inexperienced guy like me to manage. There are also four buttons on the rearview mirror, including a garage door opener, which Bruce told me I would have to sync with my old garage door opener. Or was it my computer? No, maybe it was my smart phone. No matter. When he said sync, I knew I was sunk.
One of the apps I can purchase for my smart phone allows me to disable my car if someone steals it. But why not just call the guy? After all, he has all this new Bluetooth stuff in the car now. Let’s see if he can figure it out. There are lots of ways to thwart a crook.
“This is Dick Wolfsie. Who is this?
“Oh, hi, Dick! I’m Joe. How are you?
“Why did you steal my car?”
“Sorry, I didn’t know it was your car.”
“This sounds like a Seinfeld episode. Now, I’m going to tap this little app and disable the vehicle. Then I have another app that tells me exactly where the car is.”
“Okay, but this is a pretty bad neighborhood. You won’t have any wheels on this vehicle when you do find it. By the way, this is a great car, but why didn’t you opt for the on-screen GPS? It’s hard to avoid the police without it. Anyway, I’m outta here. Thanks for the ride…and all that loose change.
Hyundai also provides assistance if you have a crash and your air bag inflates. The brochure says that within minutes “help will be on the way.” I don’t know what kind of help an automobile manufacturer can provide in a situation like this, but I’m hoping they send a paramedic or a neurosurgeon, not some guy from body and fender repair.
I’m so dense I never know whether something is really broken or if I’m just stupid. Last night I stayed up until 4:00 a.m. reading about the camera that is mounted on the back of the new Hyundai. I memorized every word so that in the morning I’d remember how to adjust the lens angle, and fiddle with the contrast and brightness.
I did forget one thing: I hadn’t ordered that accessory.