Thursday, November 04, 2010

In Praise of Math

Let’s just get this out of the way: no one is more surprised by that title than I am.  Okay, maybe Sean is.  And my Dad.  And my sister-in-law.  And just about everyone who reads this blog. But trust me; I’m the most surprised.  But alas and alack, I must be honest and say if I’d been quicker with my figures I wouldn’t be spending my driving time this week in a Hyundai Accent.

When Sean and I were in Chicago two weeks ago, someone rear-ended Michael.  Thankfully no one was hurt, but the back end of my Malibu was severely crunched.  (Also, if a 16 year old has to have an accident, it’s nice when no one’s hurt and it’s not his fault, a fact my Dad, who was with him, and the policeman stated over and over.)  Parts had to be ordered and they came in this week.  So first thing Monday morning I drove to the dealership to have it repaired.  And then I went next door to the Enterprise lot to pick up my loaner, which I’d have for the three days it takes to fix my car.

In the event of an accident, our insurance plan allows for a $25/day rental.  When I got to Enterprise I said, “I’m allowed $25 per day and I do not want to exceed that limit.”  The very nice employee said, “Well, for that fee I can offer you the Hyundai out there, or if you want to upgrade…”  I immediately cut him off.  “No – I only want to take a car that is in our plan.”  “But it’s only $.65 a day extra, and you’ll have power everything in that black Chevy Cobalt,” said the Enterprise guy.  “Nope, I don’t want to pay any extra.”

He walked me out to the Hyundai, gave me the key and I was off.  In a teeny, tiny four-door with roll-up windows and no cruise control.  It was fun for the first five minutes.  Then, not so much.

So for you all up on your math facts, you’ve already deduced that for $1.95 extra I could be driving a Chevrolet Cobalt.  Not exactly a Cadillac, but compared to the Hyundai it’s a dadgum Bentley.  I, unfortunately, didn’t figure that out until I was half-way home, and by that time my arms were vibrating wildly because the steering wheel shakes at 60 mph. 

The Hyundai is $16/day.  The Cobalt, $25.65/day.  Not only did I turn down the relative luxury of the Chevy for less than the price of two McDonald’s diet Cokes, I wasted $27 of our benefit that we already paid for in our insurance premiums because I didn’t do the math.  And today the repair shop called and said they may not finish my car until Friday, which means I have to drive this thing two more days. 

All because I didn’t do the math.  Darn you, addition!

I have a little time between two school commitments tomorrow; I think I’ll swing by Enterprise and see if that Cobalt is still available.  Because now that I know I’m losing potentially $45 of our benefit I’m not sure I can stand it.  Plus, I think I can swing the buck thirty it will cost me to drive the Chevy two days.  

Our garage as of Wednesday night.  I hope it looks different by Thursday afternoon!