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Oh, the Irony (Fender Bender: Denouement)

Got a call late yesterday that my car was ready, but I was unable to get there in time, so I waited until this morning. I was there promptly at 8:00 and within moments of my arrival, they had brought my car around and parked it near my (despised) rental (from hell), engine running. I transferred all my crap from the (hated) Corolla (may it burn in car hell) to my Element. Not only had they fixed the rear of the car, they washed it inside and out, and it looked and smelled great. And everyone there was incredibly nice.

When Scott handed over my keys he reminded me that there is a lifetime warranty on their work, and should I have any problems at all <ominous chord>, I should not hesitate even a moment to call.

I climbed into my running car, cranked up the air and a podcast, and set off.

I asked my GPS what was the quickest route to get from the collision place to work, and it told me to follow Old Norcross until it crossed Buford, then turn left on Buford.

Which meant traffic was god-awful on I-85 S. Great.

I did this, and when I reached the aforementioned intersection, I saw a Shell station and decided I needed to stop to get my morning Coke Zero fix.

I parked, and took a few moments to reconnect my car key sub-chain to the rest of my keychain.1 I bought my Coke and left the store, only minutes having passed.

I put the key in the ignition...and nothing. The car tried to turn over, but wouldn't catch. I tried and tried. Nothing.

After a few...choice words (of Germanic and Anglo-Saxon etymology, applied at great volume and with feeling), I dialed Scott's number. He did say I should not hesitate to call, after all.

I explained what was happening and where I was. He said he'd be there shortly.

Shortly passed, and Scott arrived. With a new battery, just in case. But it wasn't the battery. I had already established that to my own satisfaction, but I let him play with it for a bit.

He was as perplexed as I was. Nothing seemed to be wrong with the car, yet it would NOT turn over.

He told me that he could give me a ride back to the collision center (which, remember, I had left not 30 minutes before), get me another rental car, and have my car towed to Gwinnett Place Honda (right around the corner from the collision center) to have it looked at.

As he was pulling his car around so I could transfer all my crap again, I started to detach my car key from the rest of the keychain...and I noticed that there were two ignition keys attached. I hadn't noticed before because I simply wasn't paying attention. Clearly, Neither was Scott.

I held them up as he approached to help me unload and if a forehead slap could be conveyed by the eyes only, he did it.

See, what had happened was this...

Classic Collision "lost" my keys. Without mentioning this to me, they simply called Gwinnett Place Honda and had them make a new key at their expense (about $100). Honda keys have a chip built into them so that you have to have that key in the ignition or the car won't crank. This way, no one can simply copy your key and steal your car.

Then, later, they "found” my original keys, and attached the new one to the sub-chain along with the old one.

When Scott drove my car around, he just happened to put the right key in the ignition. The car cranked, he drove it around, and left it running. When I stopped to get my drink, however, when I got back into the car, I put my original key into the ignition. Apparently, when Honda makes a new key, they invalidate the old ones.2

I got back into the car and tried the new key and lo! the car cranked instantly, no muss, no fuss. I was so relieved, you cannot know. Scott and I both had a good laugh. I thanked him for coming to help me, and then I made my way safely to work.

The only thing I’m still wondering about is this: when were they going to tell me about the new key?

[On a side note: I use the words ‘so,’ ‘just’, and ‘apparently’ a lot, app—see? I eliminated four ‘justs,’ two ‘sos,’ and at least one more ‘apparently.’ Must keep an eye on this.]
  1. ”Keychain.” That word sounds so odd, for some reason. Is that right? Why do we call it a “keychain” when there’s no actual chain? At any rate, I have one of those with the detachable sub-chains so you can, you know...give your keys to a valet or garage without having to pick at it until you get the key out of the loop-thingy.
  2. I’ll have to verify that, because I have two more keys at home, which may also no longer work, now.

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