Buy or Bye

“Rurururururur” that’s the sound my car made this morning. I’ve been afraid of this. Slight moment of panic and I try again. “Rurururu” but this time it catches. Whew. I catch my sons eyes. He breathes deeply. Guess he was literally holding his breath hoping it cranked. I can see he is as relived as I am that it did.

Before I could be too happy I hear, “Ding”. The message display read: Fil __(oulant. (Bulbs are missing from the display) so I have to do a quick translation in my head-fill coolant–. Crap. I had just filled the coolant last night. It was less than 12 hours later. I am no mechanic but that can’t be good.

“eeeeekkkkkkkk” anyone that isn’t awake before now is certainly wide awake now. It used to just make this noise when I stopped but it’s gotten louder and more obnoxious as the days have gone by.

I turn down the air because though I am grateful for the cool air-after all we spent the beginning of the summer without air-the fumey smell that pours in with the air is gross. And it bothers me. I am afraid to turn it all the way off in case it doesn’t start working again so I just turn it down.

We pull away “eeeeekkkkk” from the curb. In my rear view mirror I see a big wet spot. Ahhh-solved the case is the missing coolant. Speaking of which….

Do over. I’ve got bottles if water in my car just for this very reason. I correct the fluid issue and start the process all over again.

Now that I am flying solo having a cash car scares the beejeeaua out of me. Any day now she’s not going to crank and I’ll have 3 big eyes babies looking at me like,”Now what?” And I won’t have an answer. I don’t like not having an answer. Then, in my glass 1/2 empty but totally realistic scenerio I hear that it can be fixed-it will just cost me more than a little bit to fix. Not an ideal scenerio.

As we start our errands I cross 3 lanes of traffic and whip our into a car dealership. I get out. Here comes a man. I throw up my hands in the international sign for “Stop right there Mr. Car Sales man. “I am not buying today. I am just looking. I. Am. Not. buying!” I am shouting. Nice, Libby, real nice. He extends his arms like I am a skittish horse about to bolt. He’s not far off. “Just information. I am just here to give information.”

He has one used car like the one I’ve been researching. We sit in it and EGAD-the smell. He explains that’s it’s a repo. Maybe now-walking- homeslice could have paid his car payment if he had cut down to-oh 2 packs a day. He drove it off the lot new and a few months later they drove it right back in the lot. He has done some serious smoking and damage while he had it. Guess he knew he wouldn’t be keeping it for long.

I left. But I couldn’t let it go. Now that the idea has formed and the need had arisen I was a woman obsessed.

There is a whole ‘nother story (or 3) that would illustrate my predicament better but it’s Not the time to go there. Suffice it to say this was not something I had planned, intended or was sure I could even get done. Clarity. I needed clarity. I didn’t want it but I needed it.

So I put on my big girl panties and shimmy and shaked (in my cash car) my way to-A CAR DEALERSHIP. I am pretty sure car dealerships are the 10th ring of hell.

I pull up. Slightly sweaty. More than slightly scared. Standing at the door like a sentinel stands a man. A salesman. I immediately start questioning being here and doing this. Since we’ve stopped the munchkin has already unbuckled and has climbed over the seat. She wants to look at all the shiny-happy-new-cars! I freak out on her. Not because she’s unbuckled but because I can’t squeal out of here with her standing on the console. Dude is still standing there. I can’t leave. So I stall. I grab my phone and begin to type and scroll like a mad woman. I can out stall him. I’ve got an iPhone. I text my tribe my idiotic plan.

I also have a 4 year old. The 4 year old had other ideas. She finds the door without child locks and is our the door to look at the cah-has. Dang.

Sentinel Sam is still there. I realize he’s on deck. He’s the next salesman up in the rotation. Dude. ‘This is not your lucky day’ I think as I make my way inside. I am no prize catch.

I tell my story. My face is red, I make no eye contact and I bite the inside of my check so hard I taste blood, but I tell my story. Having to tell my story to strangers is the 11th ring is hell. He nods, widens his eyes at a few points and the says,”we aren’t going to know until we know,” and oblivious to my sheer panic hits ENTER. He looks at the screen a bit, grunts once or twice while I try not to throw up on his shoes. One more grunt and he hits PRINT. My life spits out in 4 quick pages.

My story is now illustrated. In black and white. My sweat turns cold and I am 2 seconds away from passing out from lack of oxygen. 13th level of hell.

Skip to the end. A white slip of paper slides across a faux wood desk. A number is on it. It’s the old, “here is what I can so for you,” ploy. The used car I came to look at is-of course-not there. The piece of paper is a new car. Not my idea. Don’t want a new car. Don’t need a new car. Need a car. Need a car that works. But mr sales guy is illustrating how for the low-low price of $20 or so-less than the monthly payment on a used car (merely the cost of a dinner out) I can be in newer, nicer car with a longer warranty.

I am paralyzed in indecision.

Ding goes my phone. I get a message,”DO NOT BUY FROM EMOTIONS!” My tribe is chiming in at this point. I read it and put away my phone.

I see the number. I laugh. I am asked, “Not what you had in mind?” What part of my story wasn’t real clear to you? I want to ask. I refrain. I say no to his question. He ask for a number that would look better. Because I am nervous I give him one. The second I say it I want to pull it back. It’s not a true number-it’s just less then the number on that page. He leaves. I slump in my chair. This is exhausting.

The salesman entertained me with stories of how much he loved his car-which just happened to be the same as the car I was looking at-while we waited. I try and appear enthralled to keep him distracted so he doesn’t see my 4 year old pressing her nose against his glass window. I ask a random question about his family when she starts taking her squished face and drags it THE LENGTH IF HIS GLASS OFFICE. My mean-mommy eyes have no effect on this child. Nor does my hiss “stop it”. The free soda has taken it’s tole. She’s now booty dancing in the hallway BETWEEN THE ALL GLASS CUBICLES. I want to crawl under the desk. I crack. I sprint out of my chair mid-story and pole vault into the hallway where I grab her up and sling her past the glass wall decorated with facial smears and into the faux leather seat. I managed a hissed “behave” in the process. She hhmps and throws herself back into the seat saying -verbatim-“geez mom. Chill out.” I died. How many humiliations can one woman face in a single day? “She’s your pistol isn’t she,” asked the salesman. “…and you’ve got 3…” His voice trailed off. Yeah dude-I get your point.

Offer man is back and guess what…that magic (fake) number I had-he can get me there. I am in luck…he went and on. I saw the interest rate in the piece of paper. In black and white I see-My story does have a price. A real price-not just an emotional one. It’s a hefty one.

I nod and listen to his explanations and manage not to cry. That number, no matter how high, seems worth it to feel safe. To feel like I can get in my car with my babies and feel secure driving them around. Heck-driving without a gallon jug is water would be nice. But then I remember that there have been more then one week of meatless dinners-and not because we are vegetarians.

Buy or bye?


5 thoughts on “Buy or Bye

  1. We hate that people (mostly women) are so intimidated and dread visiting dealerships. Unfortunately, there’s so many dealerships that prove the bad stereotypes true, so that’s no help. You should not only feel safe in the car that you choose to drive your precious babies around in, but also feel comfortable with the dealership that you’re buying it from.

    If you don’t mind us asking, what vehicle were you considering purchasing?

    – Nora, Jeff Gordon Chevrolet

    P.S. Your post was very entertaining to read – love your style of writing!

    • I am/was looking at Ford Focus. It’s hard to know what is prejudice against car dealerships and what is reality. I admit to being scared at the process itself so I was ultra alert to all the stereotypical nuances of the process. I intend to “girl up” and go at it again.

      I don’t think you could possibly understand how much your PS meant to me. This whole writing thing is a dream that I am chasing in my simple little blog and I am terrified every time I hit send. Your little PS have some some courage to keep at it. Thank you.

  2. Well it’s definitely a big decision and something you don’t want to screw up. And you definitely don’t want to feel like you got screwed over either. I’ve spoken with a lot of mothers (customers) who refuse to come in with their children – specifically for the reason of the experience you had with yours. Kudos to you for doing that! In my opinion, its actually a good test of whether the salesman/dealership cares about your needs. If they grow impatient, become increasingly pushy, or even suggest you come back another day without your kids (yikes), they are only interested in making money off you. So next time you go out, don’t be afraid of bringing them again. In our “un-biased” opinion, you should go take a look at the Chevy Cruze. There’s great rebates, financing, and leasing incentives on them right now. AND Chevy has a better warranty that comes with 2 years/24,000 miles of free regular maintenance. (<- facts)

    And, yes, of course! It's different than most mommy blogs out there. It's very fun and humorous the way you tell stories. So, please, keep at it! And good luck finding your new car!

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