In December, I realized I needed a different car- my mechanic told me that I had about $3000 worth of work needed in the next 6 months. So I researched my options online, went over my finances 12 times, counted up my income with a raise, the payroll tax rollback, and the fact that my orthodontist would not be getting monthly payments from me for the first time in 4 years. I was not happy about taking on debt, but hoped to minimize it with my tax refund.
I decided I needed a Man to come with me to the dealership. There was no way I was going to do it alone. Even men told me “Oh, you better bring someone with you, they won’t give you a good deal”. But there was no special man in my life at the time. Couldn’t I just rent a man for this? I had never bought a car as a single person before. So this was new territory and naturally I figured I couldn’t do it. I have this dementia, you see: If I have never done it before, I am pretty sure it cannot be done. Then things conspire otherwise…
I asked my friend Brad, but he lives too far away. I asked Fred, and we finagled schedules to find a time. But a fluke snow storm hit that day, and the dealerships were all closed. It was mid-February, and time was getting shorter on my old car. So on a Friday night at 5 pm, after a really busy week at work, I grabbed my 13-year old daughter, who looks nothing like a man, but might melt the used car salesman’s heart into not screwing us over quite so badly, and we drove to the used car lot. Online, I had found a used car that was in my price range and while not my favorite color (red?!), it would do if the price was right on my trade-in.
I was greeted by Jeff, the man who had been emailing me daily since my initial interest in the car. I was ready for a slick young annoying dude. However, he was a really nice older dad-guy, happy to take us for a test drive. He just laughed when he heard me say to my daughter “Smell the car carefully, Honey. I’m too nervous to tell if it stinks or not. They might have just coated a terrible smell”.
I liked the car. And my daughter assured me that it didn’t stink. But when it came down to pricing my old car’s value, they weren’t giving me what I wanted. So I said I better leave and get some dinner. Then they brought in another guy, Bob, with a little more pressure. I got used to looking at the table and repeating the price I needed and the payment terms I needed. He was frustrated with me, but turned out to be a nice guy too. He tried the dad-talk, telling me about his family.… I smiled and got used to the chair I was sitting in while repeating the terms I needed. My daughter used all the quarters we had on the vending machine.
We found a compromise. But Bob wanted me to buy the car that night (it was about 8 pm by then). I panicked. How could I possibly buy a car without any advice or help from a Man in my life? I blurted out “I have to call my dad”. Bob looked at me like I was a Martian, but said “OK” and left me alone. I dialed my dad in Florida. No answer. I called the cell phone I bought them- no answer. So I called 7 more times (thinking they might just not hear the phone ring?). Then I emailed him. No reply, no pick-up. My daughter and I were completely alone in the gigantic expanse of the dealership -windows everywhere. People driving by could see in and see that we were alone in there. More panic. Again, I called my retired Dad in Florida who has not had a job in 25 years, never had a car payment, and visits Colorado less than 6 days a year, thinking he had good advice for me. No answer. I called him 3 more times. My phone’s battery died.
I took a minute, prayed about it, realized it was a good car, this was a good deal, and took a deep breath or 7. I told Bob I was ready to sign. We left the dealership at 9 pm with exactly the car I wanted, the terms I wanted, and the payment I wanted.
Isn’t it curious that distance, snow storms, schedules, not picking up, and finally a dead battery, all conspired to allow me the chance to buy this car on my own, without the Magical Man to “make it easier”.
I woke up the next morning really happy and in love with my new RED car and my new skills.