I don’t like shopping.
I’ve said it before, I know … but I really don’t like shopping. It always seems the bigger the purchase, the more annoying it is to shop for the item.
Purchasing a vehicle, therefore, daunted me. Especially since I last shopped for a vehicle 14 years ago. I hoped, however, that the new tools available to me that weren’t as well-developed the last time I put metal under my pedal would ease my search.
Off I went … to the internet.
Going online is not only second nature to me these days; it’s like a second home. When I was first introduced to the online world in 1991, I was immediately drawn in without a look back.
(If I have to shop, I may as well start off where I’m most comfortable. Best of all, as long as the curtains are down and the webcam is off, I can wear (or not) whatever I like.)
I knew my price range, which helped me to narrow my search. Nearly to nothing, it seemed. I realized then the more major car dealerships would be of no use to me- I wasn’t in the market for a new car loan, just a new-to-me car.
Luckily, there were any number of smaller, used car dealerships available online as well.
(In the online world, it’s possible to find almost anything, of course. And usually even twice! The second time just tends to have a naked body involved somehow.)
I found a number of vehicles I thought would be sufficiently adequate, made a few print outs, a list of locations (oddly, a number of these dealers had the same address), grabbed my ever-suffering roommate (since he had a vehicle that was not crushed), and off we went.
As it turned out, the mysterious shared address was one large car lot shared by 16 different dealers, all of whom had offices in a row at the end of the lot. We parked and began to wander, looking for the vehicles that matched my print outs.
20 minutes and five vehicles later, we had not been approached by any salesmen. I found this remarkable- usually, when at a car lot, I’m pounced upon almost as soon as I put my foot on the ground, leading me to check to see if I negligently left a fresh porkchop hanging around my neck.
As we were just about to leave, a salesman finally appeared, produced an enormous ring of keys, and unlocked the door of the first vehicle I pointed out, a silver pickup truck.
Although on my list, as I looked through the window of the truck, I was concerned to see the steering column was damaged. It looked like an enraged gorilla had forcibly ripped the ignition switch out. As I opened the now unlocked door, the … fragrance … that blew forth confirmed that yes, a gorilla apparently had lived within the truck cabin.
It must have been for a long time. And he hadn’t washed his socks. Ever.
(I know gorillas don’t wear socks. I also know it smelled like this one had. In the sun. When it was hot.)
My head spinning, we moved on to my next choice, another truck. I liked the looks of this one; it was small and reminded me of the truck I drove in college. Most importantly, the air inside didn’t smell like gorilla.
I got into the truck, struggling to fit behind the steering wheel. I know I’ve increased in size since college, but I hadn’t before encounter such a … crushing reminder. Holding my breath, I finally managed to wedge myself into place.
My knees stuck up painfully around the sides of the steering wheel. I was afraid to move my arms.
“What do you think?” asked the salesman.
“ , !” I replied.
A cloud of bats suddenly flew by overhead. In the distance, dogs began to howl.
“The seat can be slid back,” he said, indicating a lever buried somewhere underneath me and the seat.
“ ,” I squeaked.
Not far away, there came the sound of shattering glass. Somehow, dolphins began to whistle and click near by.
I sucked in my stomach even further. With black spots beginning to appear in my vision, I managed to contortion my arm between my legs and stretched for the adjustment lever. With a final heave that felt like my shoulder was dislocating, I lifted the lever with my fingertips.
The seat slid back half an inch.
“There you go!”
The salesman looked pleased. I felt my internal organs begin to shut down.
I popped myself out of the truck, my face now matching the paint.
“Maybe you should look at something bigger,” my roommate suggested. Wearily, I shook my head in agreement.
And so the morning went. I looked at a few more vehicles, choosing two to test drive. The first one was easily ruled out, as the salesman was unable to find the keys. Considering the enormity of his key ring, we weren’t surprised.
The second vehicle was not a color I would normally choose for myself, as I’ve never believed bright yellow really reflects my personality. But as my father used to say, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
(To be honest, that saying has never made any sense to me.)
The interior of the SUV looked nice, and smelled decidedly gorilla-free, which was a plus. The salesman pointed out the leather seats, a luxury I’ve never experienced.
The test drive was short and quick, mainly because of the leather seats. The vehicle ran well, sounded good, and fit me almost like the vehicle it was replacing. While it was slightly pricier than my budget, I would have considered it still if only the “luxurious” leather seats had not reached sub-lava surface temperatures while sitting in the direct sunlight.
Disappointed, we left the vehicle, trailing sweat and the smell of burnt leg meat. Like the prince from Cinderella, I was beginning to think I’d never find the right fit. Maybe my princess was a gorilla, and the glass slipper that was my vehicle wouldn’t fit because she was wearing socks.
(To be honest, that makes even less sense than my father’s old saying.)
We trudged back to my roommate’s car. I resigned myself to spending the rest of the day looking through more online ads, hoping for just a few more vehicles in good shape and in my price range.
“You know,” the salesman said suddenly, “there is one more vehicle you might be interested in. It just came in, and we haven’t had a chance to put up an ad for it.”
And there it was, the ship that was my prince coming in like … like a begging … horse … (I really need to work on my sayings). A dark green SUV, right in my price range, clean and simian free. I raised the hood and, just as I had on all the previous vehicle, poked around and checked the oil and hopefully looked like I knew what I was doing.
The keys were found and a test drive taken. Although I was a little rusty driving with a clutch after years of having an automatic, the ride was relatively smooth, and by the time we returned, I was sold. I’d found my next vehicle. The cloth-covered seats had sealed the deal.
I’m hopeful I’ve found a vehicle that will last me for a number of years. That would be … sufficiently adequate.
Unlike my sayings.