Monthly Archives: September 2022

Luddite? Or Just Old?

Several weeks ago, I had to take my car in to get repaired (a friend’s son hit my car). Because my car would be in the shop for three days, I had to rent a car (covered by my friend’s insurance).

My car is a 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser. Manual transmission. Keep that in mind.

The rental car we picked was a 2020 Ford Edge. Automatic transmission. After we looked the car over and the customer service rep handed me the dongle (button start, no key needed) and walked away.

I sat in the driver’s seat and pressed the start button. The electronics turned on and the seat moved forward. But the engine didn’t start.

Huh. I pressed the start button and the seat moved back.

So I tried again. The seat moved forward again, but still no engine start. I tried this several times before asking my husband what I was doing wrong. He couldn’t figure it out for a few seconds until he asked, “Is your foot on the brake?”

Oh, yeah. That’s a thing with automatic transmissions. Having driven a manual transmission for the last nine years, I had forgotten that little bit of know-how.

Sure enough, once I engaged the brake, the car started right up.

I wish I could say my confusion ended there.

Instead of a gearshift, the car had a knob. I had to study it for a bit to figure out how many times I needed to turn it to get to “drive.”

The drive back to work went well. Mostly.

Until I realized the steering wheel was a little too high for me. On my car the adjuster was a little stick that I pulled forward or back to adjust. I see this little thing with a “+” sign. So I pushed it.

Not a steering wheel adjuster. It was a gear shifter, and by pressing it, the car went from gear 4 to gear 3. I pressed it again thinking it would raise the gear. Nope. I went down to first gear and the poor engine is now screaming at me.

So I went the next several blocks with the engine sounding like a moped until it switched gears on its own.

I finally saw the other little button with a “-“ on the other side of the steering wheel after I arrived at work.

I wish I could say my confusion ended there.

The next morning I went to a local coffee shop before work. As I left the parking lot I noticed the rear windshield wiper was on. No idea how I turned it on, let alone figure out how to turn the darn thing off. I’m sure the car behind me thought I was an idiot (and he/she wouldn’t have been wrong) as I flipped switches and turned knobs making the wipers go faster, slower, sprayed windshield wiper fluid—more than once—faster again, slower again. I finally gave up and drove the rest of the way to work with that wiper going during a perfectly lovely and sunny day.

When I got to work, I went to YouTube and searched for a how-to video on how to work windshield wipers on a 2020 Ford Edge. Turns out it was a tiny switch on the tip of the windshield wiper lever.

I’ve always thought of myself as rather tech-savvy, but a two-year old car showed this fifty-plus-year-old woman a far different reality.