One of the disadvantages of owning an older model of car is that things start to go wrong. Not just with the car, but with the extras that technology deems a necessity – in particular the remote locking and unlocking function on the key or keyring. While the beep and flashing light may be extremely useful when looking for your car in the supermarket parking lot, there is still nothing to beat an old fashioned turn of the key in an actual lock. This is borne out by the latest crime trick of remote blocking, where a lurker with bad intent has a device that prevents the car from locking when you activate your remote. You then go off on your hike or lunch with the girls, only to find on your return that your car was never locked and items have been removed without the need to smash a window. This can be overcome by repeatedly locking the car as you walk away from it, thus foiling the nefarious deed.
However, a common problem is the wearing out of the buttons on the remote, i.e. the cushion underneath that allows you to depress it. One of my cars must now be locked and unlocked manually simply because there is no way of turning the alarm off, and so it never becomes activated. Recently, it turns out that random car remotes can now set the alarm on my car and if someone is parked anywhere within the correct distance, they set in motion a circus of note. My daughter, who is the main driver, has told us of the times she has had to deal with this attention-catching drama, but we never fully understood her pain until today, when I had to use the car.
Underground parking lots amplify noise tenfold, with their absence of soft surfaces to absorb the decibels. and don’t we all glare accusingly at those who inadvertently set off their alarms, subjecting us to that irritating racket. Ready to go home after a morning in town, I turned the key and opened the door. Flashing lights and a cacophany of deafening sound had me scrambling for the remote, even as I told myself the car had no alarm. Worst of all was the hard stares of passers by, wondering why this woman was trying to steal such an old car, or why she didn’t know how to operate it. Nothing would silence the noise, and I even tried starting the car, which surprisingly it did, and I even began to reverse before deciding that riding through afternoon traffic with a screeching alarm was an attention-catcher I didn’t want to participate in.
After about 10 minutes the security guard whose office was only at the end of the row approached to find out if I was stealing the car or had a problem. He unfortunately had no solution to offer, and at that moment the alarm kind of tailed off in exhaustion and mercifully stopped. All was silent again and I reversed and departed as if I had had nothing to do with the entire incident. Tomorrow I will have the remote fixed and I will certainly never glare at anyone with alarm problems again. I might use my own remote to help them.