Last year in Georgia, Ruth was driving on I-20. We were on our way to Athens. Unavoidably, she ran over a huge tire remnant that clung to the underside of the car for several miles before breaking free. There was a noticeable rattle in the rental, a Fiesta that was anything but festive. When we got to Madison, we pulled off I-20 and began looking for a place to look underneath the vehicle and assess the situation. We stopped at a gas station, and they suggested we take the Fiesta to Walmart. The 2 men at Walmart removed a strip that had been attached to the car but had mostly broken free and was causing the rattle. They saw no other damage and said the car was drivable. We went on to Athens and contacted a Ford dealer who was able to get a strip just like the one that the Walmart men had removed. We made an appointment to have it attached the next morning. It went well and we were in Atlanta by early afternoon.
We knew before we even got to Fort Worth from the Dallas-Fort Worth mega-airport that renting a Mini Cooper in Texas was not a good idea. People drive big vehicles there very fast, and it was rush hour. We checked into our hotel, and Ruth realized when she reached for her credit card that she had left her purse in the other car we had considered renting, a much larger intimidator. The decision was made for us since we had to go back to DFW to get the purse. Luckily, the first vehicle was both untouched and still available. Ruth’s purse was on the floor under the back seat. We switched vehicles and were back in Fort Worth for dinner and a fine evening.
Ruth wants me to tell a tale where I had a problem now because the first 2 stories dealt with her difficulties on the road. I have had many incidents too. I hate driving in Italy because Italians drive like Texans but also follow the unwritten rule that tail-gating drivers are responsible for all in front of them but nothing behind. We were with a friend who spoke Italian like a native. I could barely say “Hello” in Italian. Tom told me that if I saw a patrolman raise a baton and swing it in a circle that it meant I was doing something wrong and should pull over. Of course, this happened almost immediately….in a tunnel. The Italian traffic policeman was especially furious with me, but I didn’t know why. His voice rose alarmingly as he tried to deal with a driver who could not understand a single angry word he uttered Tom remained stoically silent and refused to interpret. In complete frustration the Italian gave me back my international driver’s license and motioned for me to proceed after he dramatically reached in and turned on my lights. I was supposed to have them on, even in a short tunnel. For as long as I drove, I left the lights on while admiring Tom for not coming to my defense with his perfect Italian.