Rental cars are a funny thing. They’re always unique, but you have them for such a short time that it’s relatively hard to develop a decent relationship with them. Woe be to the traveler that ends up with a government gray compact that gets parked in a big lot in an unfamiliar place. I’ll admit to walking up and down the lanes pushing on the panic button in hopes of setting off the alarm. I did it one time and seriously shocked a guy getting into his car which he had mistakenly parked next to mine.

This time I’m rolling with a Chevy Equinox. It’s not a car, and it’s not a truck. The website calls it a “sport utility car” which I guess makes it a “SUC?” Anyway, it’s a car in search of an identity. You sit in bucket seats that evoke minivan, except that the back seat is standard and there are no sliding doors. It doesn’t ride badly, it’s just that it gives you a sense that it’s confused.

To its advantage, this particular one is Deep Ruby Red which makes it easy to find in an anonymous parking lot. So far I’ve found it every time I’ve gone a-lookin’.

Today though was different. I checked out of the hotel and went down to the lot. My Deep Ruby Red Equinox was right there where I left it. I punched the door opening button and grabbed the back door handle in order to toss my bag onto the seat. It was locked. I punched the button a second time, hearing the locks disengage. Still locked. I looked at the lock pushers in the door – they appeared to be in the “up” position. Tried the button again – still locked even though I was clearly hearing the locks responding.

Pivoting in place, I realized what was going on – someone had parked their Deep Ruby Red Equinox right next to mine. The locks were working fine, they just weren’t working on the particular car I was trying to get into. Backing up and assessing the two side by side, it was obvious that the offending car was not quite an Equinox, despite its Deep Ruby Red paint. It was a similar model, but a bit shorter and squatter. Now fully apprised of the unique subtleties of the Chevrolet product line, I tossed my bag into my car and went off in search of breakfast.