Beep! Beep!

Beep! Beep!

“To be fair, this car has driven in Vegas far more than you have.”

My Adultish-Male Child delivered this line when I complained loudly that the Hyundai Ioniq rental car was asserting its authority without invitation. 

This is the line that nearly got Adultish-Male Child pushed onto Route 215 into 53 lanes of swift traffic.

See… I’ve driven more years than my kid has been on the planet, but that doesn’t stop him from being annoying and telling me how to do things.

Then the little black Hyundai Ioniq started to do the same thing, and well… I got snarky. This car was its own backseat driver.

The whole rental car procurement process had changed quite a bit since I’d secured one from start to finish of my own accord. Come to think of it, I’m not sure that I ever rented a car entirely solo—shared responsibility, yes, but I think this may have been my first.

(This is a sign that I need to travel more. A lot more. Just so I can get this process down pat.)

At the Vegas airport rental car hub, we got to pick out a midsize car from two entire lines of possibilities. Had I understood what would happen, I’d have interviewed these cars and danced down Google rabbit holes before choosing. I know nothing about cars. I just want them to go from A to B without breaking down. The first car looked like it would do just that.

A to B.

Had I known how “intelligent” (aka opinionated) the Ioniq was, I’d have picked the dumbest car in the lineup. The one that flunked out of geography, math, and physics.

All the subjects, really.

But I had no idea. Tired after travel and flights, we snagged the first car we came to.

Electric/gas hybrid. That’s new to me. But, they told me I only had to worry about topping off the gas tank, not figuring out charging stations and such. So, great.

The Hyundai had a push-button start. No big deal—just remember to take the keys out of the car when you park.

It started so quietly that, more than once, I pushed the button multiple times, thinking the thing had died. Even had to roll the window down to try and hear the engine. I couldn’t hear it. And I can hear the Hub’s wristwatch tick from across the room with the TV on…

When my SUV starts, I know it. I can feel the engine. I can hear the engine. If I can’t feel my SUV’s engine, it’s dead. Simple.

Not this car. It wanted to keep that secret to itself. “Maybe we’re ready to roll. Maybe we’re not. Put me in drive and see what happens.”

This car is a jerk.

Then, the car would randomly rev. An angry, passive-aggressive sigh. If my SUV did this, there’s something bad wrong. My SUV is not passive-aggressive.

Then the driving. Adultish-Male Child complained I was goosey with the gas/break. Well, give me a second to get used to the new machine. In any other new-to-me vehicle, this usually only takes a few miles, and I’m good. Like riding a bike.

Someone else’s bike, but still. The sensations are the same.

Well, this bike had too many bells and whistles and insufficient basic manpower options.

The Ioniq doesn’t like curbs. So when you’re about to park near one, it brakes for you, then lets you inch forward on its own terms.

Or rather, this model balks like a horse at rapidly running water full of snakes… then it calms down and lets you inch forward. Watching for snakes the whole time. Not a smooth parking experience.

This Hyundai comes with lane-keep assist, meaning if I was a fraction of an inch too close to the white line or the yellow line, it literally took the wheel from me and beeped. A little negative reinforcement declaring, “You’re not good at this. Here, let me help you with that.”

Beep. Beep.

A fellow writer uses the term “inflicting help” when someone offers help that wasn’t exactly asked for.

In the grand scheme of things, I’ve not been writing for that long, and her input is valuable. When Miss J inflicts help, I don’t mind it. It’s helpful. And she doesn’t beep when she offers (uh, inflicts) her help.

But when a car inflicts help, that’s an issue. I have, after all, been driving longer than it’s been “alive.”

It continued inflicting help throughout the whole trip. It nagged me if the car ahead of me was moving and I’d not started rolling.


It nagged me about the weather and possible slick road conditions. Indiana gal. Got that one under control, thank you very much. 

Beep. Beep.

Then the thought occurred to me. There are lots of me’s in Vegas driving new-to-them cars in a place they’ve never driven before with multiple lanes of traffic and lots and lots and lots of distractions.

The buses and vans in Vegas have screens on the backs advertising shows and attractions. You are bombarded with input. Flashing everything. Pedestrians—high, drunk, and simply disoriented from all this input—deciding to jaywalk, stumble off curbs, and play chicken with traffic.

Adultish-Male Child might tell you that I nearly hit a man carrying a white cane with a red tip.

I saw him. I did not nearly hit him. This particular gentleman was moving really fast and scrolling on his phone with his not-cane-holding hand, so I’m not sure he was qualified to carry that particular kind of stick.

Or, perhaps I’m way off, and he was an exceptionally adept visually impaired human. If he should be consuming this blog in the form of audio translation—or reading it on his phone—my deepest apologies, Dear Sir. Though I came nowhere near to hitting you, had you been in danger, the Hyundai would’ve perceived your cane as a snake and took the brake and the steering wheel from me way before anything untoward happened.

And, Dear Sir, in my defense, I was fighting two entities—one I rented and one I birthed—trying to tell me how to drive in a town determined to keep me too discombobulated to keep it between the lines.

Beep. Beep.

During one particularly frustrating episode on the interstate, I snarked, “I would so disable everything on this vehicle. Pull wires, plugs, and circuits until it was nothing but manual.”

And this is where that opening line came in: “To be fair, this car has driven in Vegas far more than you have.” Sometimes, he can be so… right. It’s annoying.

I wonder if Little Miss Muse ever wants to pull wires and reconfigure circuits on me until I behave the way a functioning author should.

“Yes. The answer to that is yes.” Little Miss, on cue, flits over to the desk and starts reading over my shoulder.

“I mean, once you get going, you’re fine. But—”

“But I require you to take the wheel and put on the brakes all willy-nilly?”

“Exactly.” She’s proud that I figured it out. Or proud of herself for providing the invaluable assistance. “Sometimes when you write, it’s like you’re driving an unfamiliar car through 53 lanes of traffic.”

Then she grins. Big. Wide, bubblegum-breath smile.


“I’m gonna start yelling ‘Beep! Beep!’ when the storyline goes off track. Or even close to off track.”

“That’s not going to be helpful.”

“I’ll take the wheel. Just a little nudge here and there. Like the Ioniq.”

“Not helpful.”

“A little tap of the brake. Or a rev-up of the imagination engine. I have all the bells and whistles a muse needs to get a writer from point A to point B.”

“Oppositive of helping.”

“Teach Trudi and Zeppo to do the same.”

Good grief.

“Beep! Beep! Time to get to the work in progress.”

“If Zeppo starts parroting you, you’re fired. He’s new, and he doesn’t know how things work around here yet.”

“I don’t think you know how things work around here yet.” Little Miss can be so… right sometimes. It’s annoying. But I really do need to wrap this up and head to the work(s) in progress before Little Miss ruins an entire staff of imaginary friends.

“Beep. Beep.” That was Zeppo.

It’s gonna be a long week.

Love the Blog? Try These!

Compilations of 100 posts, complete with commentary from Little Miss Muse!