Family Sedan Sans Family
For the past three years, I’ve been watching a crack on my car’s windshield grow larger and larger. I didn’t address it at first, because the crack was so small that it was hardly noticeable. When I first noticed it getting bigger, I didn’t have the money to replace the windshield. Then, when I did have the money, I had grown so close to the crack that I didn’t feel the need to take care of it. I became one with the crack. I named her Mindy and enjoyed watching her slow journey across my windshield. When I went to get my annual inspection, they told me that I would pass as long as the crack did not connect both sides of the windshield. Well, I know a challenge when I hear one. So I encouraged Mindy to continue her courageous trek.
About a year later, a rock hit my windshield, creating a new, pretty flower-like crack. Mindy now had a friend in her journey. I wasn’t bothered.
Really, the cracks were the least of my problems. My Pontiac Grand Am was coming up on 10 years, 147,000 miles and some interesting stuff started to happen. Like three out of the four speakers blew, and listening to the radio with the windows open was no longer an option. Oh well, guess that just means more quiet time to think on road trips. Then, the dashboard started coming up, effectively removing itself from the windshield. No biggie, no one notices but me. I had about eight flat tires in a period of six months (remember this story?), which I blamed on sabotage. Because, you know, I’m such an important figure that people are putting nails in my tires in the middle of the night. No worries, I thought. Getting so many flat tires is actually a really good way of testing your relationships. Chef changed at least two flat tires for me. Which means he’s dependable. And I came thiiiiiis close to actually learning how to change one myself.
Then the siding on the driver side door came up and made a
funny annoying flapping sound when I drove faster than 60 miles per hour. Also not a big deal, just a good reminder to drive slower. Speed kills, people.
Then, my blinker stopped working about half of the time. In order to make it work, I established the following procedure: Turn on my hazards, then my blinker, then turn the hazards off, and the blinker would work. Um, about half of the time. The other half of the time I had the unique opportunity to practice my hand signals. Who knew those would come in handy beyond driver’s ed?
You see, I ignored all these minor, um, flaws, because I’m a smart spender. I don’t need a car payment! I can make do with what I have! I’m not cheap or anything.
And you know, keeping this car had nothing to do with the fact that I was terrified to buy a new car.
It all came to a head Labor Day weekend when I was driving my mom to our family’s place on Lake Gaston. On the way, two things happened:
1.) I tried to properly rock to Rolling in the Deep but could barely hear it over the siding flapping in the wind.
2.) I got the urge to visit the farmer’s market on the way, and when I went to turn, I mistakenly thought that my turn signal was working, when it wasn’t. I was almost rear-ended by an incredibly large truck. Going 45 miles an hour.
I could have died, people. Even scarier, I put my mom at risk. My laziness, quirkiness, cheapness and fear of making a major life decision could have hurt my Mommy.
Two days later I bought a new car.
I’d been looking at cars for a while, not really finding anything I liked. Well, I did like the Lincoln MKZ I saw parked outside my apartment complex. The only problem is I’m not 55. And I’d have to sell my first born to afford a car like that. There’s no way I’m putting my body through the
horror miracle of childbirth only to turn around and flip the kid. I’m holding onto that sucker so I’ll have someone to do chores around the house in about eight years.
I asked everyone what they thought, but really, when you are buying a new car, you don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. You ask for fun. You ask to make them feel important. You ask because an integral part of buying a new car is agonizing over what you should get. But, you really don’t listen to their answers. You know what you like, what you want, and you don’t want anyone’s advice. Unless the advice is telling you to get the exact car you want. In which case, the advice giver is a genius.
Plenty of people told me to buy a used car. I get it, it’s smart, but I simply wanted a new car. Whenever someone suggested I buy a two-door, I balked.
A four-door car was a requirement for me. How annoying is it when you have to lift the seat up to let people into the back? What about when I have babies? I mean, we’ve already established that I’m not selling them or anything, so I gotta find a place to put them!
Yes, I’m aware of the irony. I write a blog titled Simply Solo; I’m in a pseudo-relationship; I can’t even imagine getting married anytime soon; yet I’m interested in a family sedan. For my non-existent babies that I’m going to have to drive to daycare.
I was really excited to purchase a new car all by myself. You see, when I was in high school, I drove my dad’s 1989 Oldsmobile Cutless Supreme. Then I crashed it, primarily because Celine Deon sucks (here’s the full story). After I crashed the car, my father and I discussed how I needed a new car. At the time, I made a ridiculous amount of money telemarketing, so even though I was only 17, I could afford a car. One rainy day, my dad and I walked around a dealership and I pointed out a few cars I sort of liked. A few weeks later, there was a new car in the driveway for me. My mom had purchased it for me with her credit, and I had to pay it off. Which I did, in less than a year.
But I was always sort of bummed out I didn’t get to choose the car myself. I didn’t do a test drive, pick the color, nothing. It was sort of handed to me – but then I had to pay for it. Although I appreciate the generosity of my parents putting their credit on the line for me, and doing all the work in purchasing the car, I always wished I’d been able to participate more.
Purchasing a car is a ridiculously stressful decision. Haggling is exhausting. Test driving while convinced you are going to crash the dealer’s car is terrifying. Explaining that Chef is not your husband and has zero input on this decision and is only there for moral support, but then two minutes later saying that a four-door is a requirement due to imaginary future babies, is just awkward. Having unbearable heartburn through the entire purchase is frustrating, but the feeling of it magically disappearing after signing on the dotted line is a huge relief. Thinking about paying a car payment for the first time since you were 18 is daunting. Making the decision to buy a new car all by yourself, a decision you remember discussing for years with your ex fiancée, is empowering. And no longer driving a piece of crap is priceless.
When it’s done, you get a beautiful new car. In my case, I got a 2012 Nissan Altima, dark slate, leather seats, satellite radio, Bose sound system that can really rock some Rolling in the Deep, keyless entry, rearview camera, pretty headlights, a working turn signal and car payments for what seems like the rest of my life.
So I drive a family sedan, sans family. And I’m pretty damn happy.
My car was purchased from Saul Kazdal from Sheehy Nissan of Richmond (phone: 877-600-4491). I had such a great experience at Sheehy that I promised to mention them on the blog (and I maybe pimped the blog out to try and get a better deal. Can you blaim me?). If you are looking for a new car in the Richmond area, Sheehy Nissan is a great place to go. Just watch out for the popcorn machine. That stuff’s addicting. But really, the people at Sheehy were great to work with, very accomodating and while their job was to sell me a car, I never felt uncomfortable. And Saul has been nice enough to humor my half a dozen phone calls AFTER the purchase was complete and keys were in hand. Now, that’s customer service.
Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.