My car died last Tuesday. I also broke four nails and spent 3 days in bed crying, so it’s a toss up as to the actual WORST part of last week, but it was a bad one.
It’s been nearly a 6 days since my car has been passed from shop to shop getting “diagnosed” because it’s “foreign” and no one in this country “speaks its language.” I’m sorry but if a kid in my middle school figured out Mandarin Chinese and Latin, you’d think SOMEONE employable in the city of Jacksonville could figure out a dialect “Mini Cooper.”
The whole thing felt like a pull from God to get a new car. Mostly because the guy at the first foreign car fixit shop I brought it to looked straight at me and said, “Time to get a new car.”
I told my husband I wanted to go car shopping and he immediately replied, “YAAAAAAAS” and started doing a weird little joy-dance. He’s not a big dancer, but he loves buying things like cars.
I decided I want something bigger than a Mini Cooper. Bear helped me narrow the field and we decided to go check out a few cars on a Sunday with the kids in tow. This way we’d have a good excuse to leave when Abe started licking things that people at the dealership would be uncomfortable with him licking.
“Whoops! No more licking Audi R8s, sweetie! Time to go!”
The first dealership had 6 guys standing out front and one of them sauntered over to us with a styrofoam to-go cup in his hand, like, “Eh. I’m just finishing lunch but I’ll help ’em out.”
“Looking for something?”
Of course I wanted to respond, “Yeah, I dropped my pen earlier…”
But Bear responded, “Probably a used 4Runner. You have any in white?”
“Yes. Over to the other end.” This guy was about 6 foot 2, grey hair, with a Russian accent. It literally sounded like everything he was saying to us was a set-up for heist that we may or may not now be involved in.
The walk to the pre-owned side of the lot was longer than the green mile, and Hubs was NOT speaking. Abe was speaking. A lot. “Gonna buy that car, mom?”
Russian guy said nothing.
Finally, we got to the 4Runners.
“I guess we don’t have any in white,” Russian guy said as he peered out over the sea of cars.
Now, to me, it seems like if you work at a car dealership you should have SOME way of knowing what inventory is on the lot. Like a list. A list of cars. That tells you what you have and what you don’t have. So when you’re walking a family of four to what feels like their imminent death by Russian mafia, you can assure them you have the color 4Runner they want.
“Ok. Can we test drive a gray one instead?” Hubs asked.
They guy literally handed us the keys and a loose license plate and told us to “bring it back.” I guess he felt like he’d made it clear Black Widow was waiting in the lounge if we didn’t act right, so he wasn’t concerned about the safety of the 4Runner. We drove it, brought it back, and left before anyone could offer us a shot of vodka.
“Let’s check out the Jeep dealership,” Bear said. I didn’t want a Jeep, but I was willing to try anything. By this point, Abe was holding up really well and Cub was silent and miserable, which was better than Abe’s normal loud and miserable. We walked onto the property and soon discovered you had no choice but to walk through the showroom to get to any of the cars.
*Immediately assaulted by sales associates.*
“Hey I’m Steven.”
Steven is maaaaybe 5 feet tall. He has piercing blue eyes and looks like he wants to climb my entire family while rattling off every feature and spec of all the cars on the entire lot. He also appears to be 12 years old.
I. Hate. Steven.
“What are you looking for?” he asked Bear.
“A car for her,” Bear pointed to me.
“What are you looking for?” he asked me.
“I’m not too sure.”
“You’re not sure?! Well, what have you driven so far today?”
Bear could sense my dislike of the man walking half a step behind me. “We just want to check out a Grand Cherokee,” Bear said.
“Oh yeah! Sure! I’ve got a black one over here!” Steven practically skipped to the car.
“I’m looking for something in white,” I said.
“Oh really? White? Ok. Cool. Why white?”
“Because it’s the color I want.”
“Ok cool. What color car do you have now?” he asked and I squeezed my hands into fists.
“A black one.”
“OOh! Ha. Yeah,” he said as he simultaneously looked at my husband and WINKED at him, as if to say, “Oh women. They think cars are like nail polish, don’t they?”
It took EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING not to say mean things in front of my children on purpose to teach them how not to treat a women and then lead my family out the front door.
He proceeded to rattle off a TON of colors and features to me like “heated seats” and “push this little button to close the hatch.” Then he proceeded to say, out loud, “Oh, your husband will think this is cool. Come here, man, while I pop the hood…”
Look. I get it. I’m a girl. I want a car that works good and looks nice. I don’t care if it’s a 2.9 or has 50 horses inside or how many of the wheels drive at once in the mud. I want to go from where I am now to where I want to go next without having to worry about a tow truck driver named Possum telling me about how he tore both shoulders and both knees pushing a tractor out of a ditch while he drags my beloved car to get fixed and I wait on an Uber. But. If you would INCLUDE me in conversations about the purchase of my OWN vehicle, I’m far more likely to purchase it from you.
Steven proceeded to corner, shift, refocus, and reframe the conversation one million times until he had enough information from us to try and make us a sweet deal. “Look. I’m not supposed to talk numbers with you (he was whispering in the middle of a rooftop parking lot wherein we were the only 5 people anywhere to be seen, so I can only assume he was wearing a wire), but I’ve got to move 45 cars in the next 3 days. I can get you some really good deals. But I’ve got to have some numbers to work with for my manger. Let’s go inside and talk about how we can make this happen today.”
“Oh, this isn’t happening today,” Bear corrected him.
It seems that when you tell Steve something, like you want a white car or you aren’t buying a car today, Steve hears, “I’ll take any color car and I’ll buy it today.” In the amount of time it would take me to dissect and write out this man’s technique for somehow roping us back around to the same conclusion of, “We’re not buying a car today,” you could order a pizza, have it delivered, and eat half of it before I was finished.
After two hours of this, Steven said it again. He said it. Again. After hundreds of offers for another bottle of water, one more look at “that gray one”, even offering to paint the gray one white (yes he did!), he asked me, “So what’s it going to take to get you in this car today?”
I paused. I breathed. And I looked him dead in his bright, blue eyes.
“Steven. Look at me in my eyes…”
“Ok ok ok…” he started.
“No. No seriously, Steven. Look at my eyes.”
He did. And he was terrified. I think Bear was smirking like, “Oh this is gonna be fun.”
“I’m. not. buying. a car. today. Got it?”
“Got it,” he nodded, still locked on my eyes.
“Now, if you still have this car tomorrow, or the next day, and it’s for sale for the same price, and I have slept on it and decided I want to purchase it, I will come back here and I will buy this car from you. Only you. No one else. No other dealership. I will walk in, ask for Steven, and ask you to bring me the keys to my new car. But I will not, under any circumstance, buy this car today.”
Steven didn’t ask me to buy the car after that.
I want to buy the car. I really like it. The gray one. (I know, I know, cars are like nail polish to me.) But, for once in my life I want to make a decision on my own time, in my own way. I don’t want to look at the people around me and ask their opinion. I don’t want to die of decision-paralysis and never get the car I want. I just want to say what I want and then walk away if what I want isn’t being offered. That simple. Bear said to the guy at the dealership, “This car is for her. She chooses what she wants.” I feel like that’s why he was put into my life; to remind me it’s mine and I get to choose what I want.
Also did you know the “energy between eclipses” is a thing?! It’s when everything goes bat shit insane between any two types of eclipse experiences. (We had one on the 10th and one this past weekend.) I *just* found out about this phenomenon from a woman who eats kale and talks to crystals. I asked my acupunturist about it and she was like, “You didn’t know that’s a thing?!” So if anything you’ve said or done in the past 7 days has been dramatic, we can blame it on the “energy between eclipses” and then take our shoes off and dance with Mother Earth or whatever.