Interior Trunk Release: Not Just for the Kidnapped, Apparently!

I can’t be the only one that thought that was the sole purpose of those get-out-of-trunk-free pull tabs under the lid, right?

I'm sure this is one of those features you never hope to need...

I’m sure this is one of those features you never hope to need…

Sole purpose until Wednesday night, that is.

You see, I did something fairly dumb on Wednesday: I left my lights on and completely drained my battery. It’s not the dumbest thing ever, of course, and I know people do it all the time, but this is the first time in all my years as a car owner to do it, and yes, it’s dumb.

Especially because I’m usually religious about checking the lights when I get out of the car.

But Jenn, isn’t your car new enough that it makes noise if you open the driver’s door when the lights are on, I hear you ask?

Yes, yes it does. It’s also the same chime that the car sounds when you open the driver’s door with the key still in the ignition. And Electra and I don’t always agree on that fact.

See, Electra is a 2007 Saturn Ion 2. And Electra gets very possessive over the car key, often not wanting to give it up, especially in the summer when the steering column gets overly warm. It’s just the way she is. When she got her ignition replaced as part of that big GM recall I thought that would solve the issue but, no, apparently the attachment goes deeper than that.

To convince her that it’s okay to release the key, there’s a dance that involves recranking the car, jiggling, jostling the wheel, or releasing the car from Park and putting it back, sometimes forcefully, to give her peace of mind.

At any rate, more mornings than not, key in my hand, Electra still tells me with that strident chime that the key is still in the ignition and no I will not let you use the power locks to lock the driver’s door, you don’t want to be locked out of the car, do you? And more mornings than not I manually lock the driver’s door and make sure the light are turned off just in case.

Except that morning, obviously, and the poor battery was so dead I wasn’t even getting clicks. And I was the last to leave the office. Of course.

But it’s okay, I pay for roadside assistance as part of my car insurance, so I’ll just call them up and make use of it.

Or not, as the muzak that played while I was on hold was some Lovecraftian love-child of a 14.4 modem and a cassette tape being played backwards. It squealed and squelched and assaulted my ears. Just in case someone was listening/talking I shouted into the phone that I couldn’t understand anything over the caterwauling. But I sat there on hold for 5 minutes before it cut out on me.

So I called back, went through the phone tree again for another 6 minutes of less-screechy “music” before getting disconnected. There’s also been a voicemail from the insurance company trying to figure out if I needed assistance or not, so I called AGAIN and held for 23 minutes. Long enough for their ‘you’re call is important to us, please hold/higher than normal call volume/we’ll keep playing music til someone picks up but won’t keep making these announcements’ spiel three times. Judging from my phone history those are 8-minute loops.

About that time, though, one of the guys in the building behind my office came out to move his car and I flagged him down and asked for help.

Him: What side is your battery on?
Me: Neither, it’s in the trunk.
Him: Really?!

Do you know that it never occurred to me that the trunk release button on the underside of the dash required at least a little juice from the battery. I mean, you can use that button without the car being on at all, the key nowhere near! But apparently the Ion2 puts the car in severe lock-down when the battery dies, because I was also unable to remove the key from the ignition. And that aforementioned dance? Yeah, I couldn’t get the stick to move. No matter how hard I pressed the break or pulled the shifter, it wasn’t budging.

So, um, how was I going to get into the trunk to the battery?

That once-ridiculed interior trunk release, that’s how!

Granted, I had to get into the trunk to use it, but my backseat folds down in two sections so it’s possible. Except for the fact that the latches that keep the seat backs in their upright and locked position are released from–you guessed it–the trunk.

Thank your celestial deity of choice that the last time I put the back seats back up, one had not fully engaged its latch. And then blame Murphy for the fact that it was the smaller of the two sections that would open so that I could shimmy through. A barrette and a piece of my dignity were the only things lost in the process.

Because sometimes the thing you most need a picture of take place when no camera is handy...

Because sometimes the things you most need a picture of take place when no camera is handy…

Let’s also say a thank you to whatever still, small voice prompted me to wear pants that day–the first time in weeks. If I’d been wearing my usual dress or skirt ensemble… well, it’s probably best not to go there.

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