You may not know this, but I have a tendency to be a bit of a rule follower. This is not to say that I never do anything wrong or have never had a traffic ticket (bike or automobile), but I am not one who willingly or purposefully "bends" the rules. Generally.
The latest example of this paranoia comes courtesy of the fact that I am presently driving a rental car. Not just any rental car, mind you. It is a tricked out kick-ass Ford Focus, complete with sweet rims and leather interior. It is by far more luxurious than anything I have ever driven or owned, but don't worry, I still prefer the simpler features of my Corolla.
When one rents a car, one signs a contract agreeing to do or not do certain things. I agreed to make sure that there is no damage to the car and put the gas level back to where it started when I return it. I agreed not to smoke in the car. I agreed to be the only driver of the vehicle. I agreed not to have any pets in the vehicle.
Most of the rules listed above are not difficult to follow. The last one is where I found myself in a bit of a dilemma. You see, a year ago when I had my last Corolla in the shop, I did not have a dog. Now I do. According to my normal schedule, Lena and I would have gone back to my house last night in the car.
Faced with the possibility of a $100 fine for having her in the rental car, this plan was momentarily halted. I weighed the pros and cons, I sought the opinions of others and I tried to come up with ways to keep Lena sufficiently contained so that no hair, nail scratches or window schnozz marks would occur. Short of wrapping her feet and fur in Saran Wrap, there was no way.
There was a suggestion of simply cleaning the car before returning it. This would mean vacuuming seats and floor mats, cleaning windows and carefully inspecting the upholstery for scratch marks. Given the fact that I will likely not be driving this car for very long, I did not relish the thought of such a time consuming procedure.
Of course, there was always the easiest option of just letting her ride in the car, putting down some blankets and assuming that the rental company would be none the wiser. I admit, this outcome would have been the easiest and could have actually worked. If only I was not so afraid.
True, they could not drag me through the streets and give me a public flogging for my transgression, but they could force me to pay them $100. While the monetary inducement to follow the rules was great, the greater deterrent (for me) was the fact that I would be breaking my contract.
I don't know about you, but I don't like to break anything. Especially things that I have signed. With my signature. With a pen. For a really cute guy who is apparently trying to "go off coffee." Hm.
So in the end, I opted to take the least convenient yet most rule-abiding route. I went home after work last night and packed up some more clothes so that Lena and I could stay a bit longer at my parents' house. We have an upcoming episode of Auntie Megan's Doggie Weekend Camp coming up on Friday anyway. Might as well stay for the long haul.