Better to look before jumping in

Oops, sorry, wrong car! When I got into the passenger seat of our rental car, the smell of onions was overpowering.

This did not compute. How did our vehicle get so stinky? While this question was whirling in my head, I heard my husband, from the driver’s seat, ask: Who put this cheese in here?

We had angle-parked our rented Chevrolet Orlando next to a large truck on our last night in Whitehorse and gone inside an establishment to grab a quick snack. Coming out 30 minutes later, we hopped in our vehicle, only to find the offensive onion odour and a small mesh bag of mini cheeses tied to the gear shifter on the middle console. What???

Have we slipped into the Twilight Zone?

I recalled a story my husband told me going back to his pre-Lisa days when he was a freewheeling bachelor.

He had attended a film festival gala, met a woman, shared a couple of drinks and dances then made a date with her for the following evening. She said she would pick him up at 6 p.m. at his hotel. She would be driving a silver Mazda.

Like a German train, a silver Mazda pulled up the next evening at 6 o’clock sharp in front of his hotel. As my husband (please keep in mind he was not my husband at the time) came down the steps of the hotel, his view of the driver was blocked.

He opened the passenger side door and slid into the seat, suddenly aware that the arm reaching to the steering wheel was much more, ahem, plump than the arm he remembered from his dreamy dancer the previous evening.

As he describes it, his mind was reeling, trying to count how many drinks had been involved. They had only shared a couple of dances, after all.

Had he fallen victim to the adage that everyone looks better the night before in flickering, dim lighting?

This was definitely not his dream girl.

It was all happening so fast as he kept trying to close the door but couldn’t, finally seeing the large man outside the door, holding it open and heatedly yelling: What are you doing in there with my wife?

As my not-yet-husband jumped out of the vehicle, another silver Mazda pulled up and he recognized the lovely woman at the wheel, his dance partner and date. Whew! He asserts she was even lovelier than he remembered.

My mother-in-law, Edith, also has a story of mistaken vehicular identity. Many years ago, she was finishing up some shopping and Lee, my father-in-law, had told her he would be another half-hour, that she could wait in the car when she was done.

Getting back to their parked vehicle, she threw her parcels into the back seat and hopped into the front passenger seat.

After 10 or 15 minutes, a gentleman approached the car and asked her who she was waiting for.

“My husband,” she answered, probably thinking to herself it was none of this man’s darn business who she was waiting for.
“Well, this is not your husband’s car.”

My beet-red-faced mother-in-law beat a hasty retreat and found her same-coloured vehicle a few spaces back. To this day, she claims the most embarrassing moment was when she had to open the back door in front of the man to retrieve her parcels.

Back in our stinky rental vehicle, still with the stench of onions, emanating, it seemed, from the white plastic bag on the floor, I noticed two strange water bottles in the cup holders. None of this was there when we got out of the car. We had cleaned out the rental, knowing that we would be dropping it at the airport early the next morning.

Mildly horrified, we looked at each other, extreme bewilderment on our faces. Had someone been in our car and placed all these things in here.

Was this some kind of trick?

Were we on Candid Camera?

We glanced to the left and noticed a large pickup truck, angle-parked beside us. Hey, that was on our right when we parked earlier!

The realization that we were in the wrong car flowed over both of us simultaneously. Of course, the two rental vehicles, one parked on either side of the giant truck, were exactly the same, right down to the interior and exterior colours.

We jumped out as fast as we could, laughing hysterically, hoping the actual drivers of this rental car didn’t catch us.

Seeing us doubled over, with the tears streaming down our faces, giggling uncontrollably, they would likely think we were up to no good.

Follow Lisa on Twitter: @FrontLady

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