We have a new car.
I can see how car shopping might be fun, if you’ve got the luxury of time to look around, and you’re not planning the whole time about how you’re going to afford it, and you don’t have to go do test drives on your lunch breaks.
We looked around a bit in the evenings, but we always had to take B with us, and I’ll be straight with you: he can be kind of a drag sometimes. Like when you’re just trying to stand there under the stadium lights and see how many miles this Jetta has on it, and he’s shrieking because riding around in the umbrella stroller is no fun. Not to mention, you can’t test drive anything together because someone has to hang out with the kid and try to make car shopping fun.
We went on our lunch breaks a couple times, but those car salesmen (they’re always men) really drag things out, and you can really only look at one or two cars before you both have to get back to work before someone notices you’re missing.
We were under a lot of pressure to get a car purchased, because for the last 3 weeks I’d been driving my parents’ lime green VW Beetle, which was a lucky break. They just happened to be flying to Italy for the month of October, and planning to leave their car parked at our place anyway, a couple days after my old car (which I got last September) had some kind of crazy electrical malfunction, and burned mostly to a crisp.
So. My parents’ vacation was nearing its end, and they were flying back to SFO on Monday, so we knew we needed to get this thing under control. So last Friday afternoon, Drew and B and I went to a new (used) car lot, one we hadn’t yet visited, to poke around. Almost immediately we spotted a new-looking gold 2008 Elantra…whose major selling point was the 22,000 miles on the odometer. I’ve never had a car with that few miles. I didn’t even know they could have that few miles. Don’t even new cars get that much just from the factory?
So we both test drove it (separately), then we dickered a bit with the salesman (who was super nice), then we said we needed to go talk about it and come back that evening. We walked back to the Beetle in a turmoil of emotions, and then stood there for a few minutes discussing it. We ended up turning around, marching back inside, and buying the car.
It’s going great so far and I think we made the right decision. Someone else would’ve snapped that thing up if we hadn’t.
Last Wednesday (five days later), on my way to work, I noticed that there was a light on on the dashboard. It wasn’t a light that I recognized, and I spent every traffic light flipping through the manual, trying to place it. Finally I found it: low tire pressure. When I got to work, the tires all looked good, but I was (am) still very cautious about this car, so on my lunch break I drove to Arco.
I thought the optimum PSI was printed on the tires but I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I just made sure they were all about 32, which I thought sounded right. The air kicked off, so I got back in the car and started it – the light was still on. I googled “optimum tire pressure for a 2008 Elantra” and some anonymous person somewhere said it was 38. Okay. So I went back inside, asked the woman behind the counter to turn the air back on, and I filled the tires all to 38.
By this time, a girl had pulled up behind me and was waiting for the air. I finished up and she approached me and said she hadn’t done this before, so I kind of walked her through what she needed to do, feeling very good about myself and all my Car Skillz.
Then I got back in the car, started the engine – and the light was still on.
Drew had texted me, so I called him and told him about the light, and as I was saying, “Maybe your dad needs to take a look at it–” the low tire pressure light TURNED OFF! I started cheering for myself. (For some strange reason, he didn’t join in.)
Listen: it’s rare that I can
a) identify something is wrong with the car;
b) put my finger on exactly what that thing is; and
c) fix it by myself.
This calls for, like, a victory dance or something.
Which I did, in the front seat of the car, all the way back to work.
You gotta celebrate the little things sometimes.