(Or…how NOT to rent a car in Sweden.)
So last week there were numerous discussions about renting a car for use on Sunday when my uncle would be free of his barbershop judging duties and could spend the afternoon and evening with us. This was necessary because my uncle is a pretty big guy and would not be comfortable for any more than three minutes in my mother-in-law’s tiny Toyota Starlet (yes, that’s *really* the model name) that we have borrowed for the duration of my my Mom’s visit. He knew this and even offered to pay for both the rental and the gas. That factor alone made it a "done deal" as far as I was concerned.
Dr. Darling, in her usual "concientious consumer" way, started investigating rental places and prices on the internet. Meanwhile, in one of these numerous discussions it was even decided that my Mom would put the car and petrol on one of her credit cards since it would be simpler for my uncle to pay her back in U.S. dollars than to pay myself or the Swede back in Swedish Kronor. In another it was determined that Dr. Darling would be the designated driver since she is the only one of us who has a Swedish driver’s license.
So imagine my surprise when, on Saturday night as we’re making plans with my uncle for the following day’s excursion, I find out that NEITHER the Swede nor my mother had reserved a rental car. Given that my Mom doesn’t speak the language, I could hardly blame her for not doing it. Dr. Darling, on the other hand, had no such reasonable excuse. She said she wasn’t sure we had ever decided that we were going to do it (which I wasn’t buying given the aforementioned numerous discussions), but I suspect it had more to do with her pathological aversion to making phone calls. Evidently was MY job to make the rental reservation even though I was A) working full-time and would have had to take care of it during business hours, B) not licensed to drive in Sweden, and C) not paying for it.
Now had we been in the U.S. this probaby wouldn’t have been such a big deal. But I was not at all confident that we would be able to rent a BIG car in SWEDEN on a SUNDAY morning. After much scrambling around (and many
expletives cutting remarks and icy glares) we did manage to secure a big Saab station wagon, but it did not make for a very good start to the day…which thankfully turned out to be wonderful in spite of somebody’s weird phone phobia.