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It Takes An Armada

Due to a mishap at Hertz, we ended up with a Nissan Armada for our summer vacation car rental. For our smug, two-hybrid family, the Armada was an embarrassment, both in terms of size and fuel efficiency; it’s he kind of car you want to kick.

One day, we were driving maybe three miles per hour down a sandy, woodsy Cape Cod road, the potholes making our massive car rock like an amusement park ride that is not so amusing. A man and his wife—80-ish, right off the cover of AARP magazine—were walking towards us on the skinny road.

As they passed us on the passenger side, the guy banged his fist on the car, stuck his head in the window and yelled, with such force that he spat all over our daughter Nora, “What the hell do you think you’re doing driving this monster in here??!! You almost hit me with that damn mirror!”

He went on to yell other colorful stuff, and I didn’t really blame him. I mean the car was gross (although, as Nora would point out later, not as gross as the spit shower).

Now, it could be argued (as it was, with exasperation, by our other daughter, Elizabeth) that the man’s rage, which was a 10, might have been more like a 6, had it not been for the parking ticket that Tom had neglected to remove from the windshield.

(Tom has the unique ability to see fine print on NO PARKING signs that reads, “…unless you want to.”)

See, if you’re driving merrily around with a hot pink ticket flapping on your window, you should at least be driving a Prius. They don’t like scofflaws in Massachusetts, but they really don’t like the ones whose carbon footprint is the size of Godzilla’s.

I wonder if Tom would even have been ticketed in the first place (for parking creatively at the farmer’s market) if he’d had the decency to go food shopping in a car that was smaller than the Madison Avenue bus. He’s never been busted before and God knows he’s parked everywhere except handicapped spaces and tree tops.

We’ll never really know the answer to that. But if you are renting a vacation vehicle, and Hertz tries to dump that Armada on you, request something less offensive, which would be pretty much anything else on the lot.


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