Saturday, 14 January 2017

Have car, will (or possibly won't) travel

4 December 2015

Community Service Public Warning: Doing battle with solid objects in parking stations is unlikely to end well and should be avoided.

I didn’t take too much notice of the crunching sound of my car’s bumper panel scraping on the concrete bollard stopper thing at the end of the parking space when I parked my car in the morning( I have heard this noise on more than one occasion in the past – what could possibly be a problem?). On leaving in the afternoon, it took me a couple of rounds of the parking station, descending the levels, to work out that the rattly, scraping noises accompanying my descent really required me to stop and investigate the source. Diagnosis, even for the mechanically challenged, was obvious – a front bumper panel half detached and dragging on the ground. Score: Me – 0, Concrete bollard stopper thing – 1.

Summoning all my mechanical skills (read “non-existent”) I worked out that: 1. My car was not driveable in this state  2. I needed either to remove the offending panel (I couldn’t) or reaffix it to where it was supposed to be (I couldn’t). Note to self – put stash of baling twine back into boot (which I had, uncharacteristically and in contravention of almost every other facet of my existence, cleaned out).

Summoning all my problem-solving skills (read “level slightly above non-existent”) I phoned the NRMA. On explaining the situation to the operator, she helpfully suggested I get a tow truck. Summoning all my diplomatic skills (the levels are dropping again here) I helpfully suggested that this sounded excessive, and sending around a nice NRMA person might be more appropriate to the situation. After the requisite hour of penance, the extremely nice NRMA man arrived. My initial disappointment that he didn’t come complete with stashes of baling twine was quickly replaced with gratitude when he produced his cache of cable ties. In my defence, it seems this was not the first bumper-bar-in-car-park malfunction that he had attended. Cable ties in place, I was able to drive home, with only the occasional scraping-on-the-ground sound, and very cautious traversing of those speed humps that I usually largely ignore in favour of a normal acceleration rate.

Once home I did add some baling twine to the cable tie arrangement, for extra strength as well as aesthetic value. Though it was tempting to adopt this as a permanent arrangement, good sense prevailed (for the first time in this saga), and I phoned the insurance company. Three phone calls and a total of 2 hours on hold resulted in a deep and abiding aversion to the jaunty whistling GIO theme tune, interrupted at about 5 second intervals by the pleasant-sounding, but increasingly annoying, assurances of the recorded voice, telling me that my call would be answered by the first available operator….it would seem that GIO has only one operator for the greater Asia-Pacific. The effect of this cruel and unusual treatment is, I imagine, something akin to water torture, and had me yearning for any alternative aural input, such as the call of the Wonga pigeon.

The good news is that my car is now ensconced at the car doctor being repaired. I only hope they can tell that the current “paddock brown” colour of my car is not the colour to which they should be matching the new bumper…. and if it turns out that they wash the car, the $650 insurance excess will have been money well spent (the previous wash coinciding somewhat coincidentally with the last smash repair). 

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