Herald and Journal, Aug. 21, 2000

An alarming, but learning experience


They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I can vouch for that.

It's always when I think I have everything under control that I find myself most vulnerable.

That's what happened when I, very innocently, drove the Mercedes to my grandson's baseball game.

Of course, Tom was the cause of my embarrassment. After all, he's the one who bought the car.

Tom went to a car auction and somehow bought a 1988 Mercedes and a 1960 T-bird. I could understand the T-bird. For a long time, he has been wanting to replace the T-bird convertible he totaled back in the '60s. (That's another story.)

But the Mercedes?

"Hey, it was in great shape and the price was right," he declared.

I'll have to remember that line for the next time I go to a doll show.

I guess I was especially skeptical of the need for the Mercedes because we already had more cars than we could drive. At the time, there were two licensed drivers and six licensed vehicles on the farm, not counting tractors.

That's how I came to be driving a Mercedes to my grandson's baseball game in Waconia.

The drive there was uneventful. I parked in the school parking lot, and managed to find the field where the boys were playing.

My two younger grandsons came to meet me, so I knew I was at the right field.

I enjoyed watching the game with my daughter, Sara, while her husband, Keith, coached the team. After a while, Gina and her husband, Mark, arrived with my grandson, Ethan. It was fun watching the ball game, and the grandkids.

I had brought some fruit snacks and Go-gurt for them. After all, what are grandmas for?

When the game was over, it was time to drag my body up off the ground and head for the car. Mark and Gina lingered to talk as we walked up the hill to the parking lot.

I took out the keychain with the remote for opening the car doors. That was the best feature of the car. I had used it several times, with no problem. You drive to work, you get out, you push the button, the door locks. You come out eight hours later, you push the button, the door unlocks. This is wonderful, I thought.

Earlier that evening, when I parked the car, the button didn't seem to want to lock the doors, so I had used the key to lock them, instead.

By this time, the parking lot had cleared out, except for Mark, Gina, Ethan, and I. Mark and Gina strapped Ethan into his car seat, and got into their car as I tried vainly to use the remote to open my door. It didn't work. Then I used the key.

As soon as I sat down on the seat and started the car, the horn began to beep steadily. I was shocked. What did I do to cause this?

I turned the key off, and got out of the car. It continued to beep. Thoroughly embarrassed, I looked around to see if anyone else was witnessing my ignorance.

Mark and Gina were laughing hysterically. The car stopped beeping and I got back in and started it again. As I attempted to drive away, it let out another string of incessant beeps. I tried driving around the parking lot, as it continued honking away. I gave up, stopped and climbed out of the car again.

Now, I was really getting perturbed because the car wouldn't shut up no matter what I did. I was sure the police were on their way. If I would have had a stick of dynamite, I would have lit it, tossed it under the car, and ran.

In desperation, I did what I always advise my husband to do when he can't figure something out. I read the instruction manual. Thank goodness, it was still in the car.

The thing to do was to lock the car with the key again, and then, unlock it the same way. That would turn off the alarm.

Finally, silence. I got back into the car again and prepared to start it, hoping the only sound I would hear this time would be the racing of the engine.


At last, I was driving home in blissful quiet. Now, I know why I like my Audi so much. No alarms.

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