You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Friday, June 4, 2010

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

On Memorial Day we should have been sitting on someone's deck, drinking gin and tonics, eating chips and salsa, and grilling brats.

We did not do any of those things.

Instead we spent the entire afternoon (gorgeous and sunny) and part of the evening in Dante's seventh? level of hell. I actually forget how many levels there are, but I am sure this place is one of them.

No, not the DMV.

Not the ER.

Worse. At least at the hospital you have a chance at some good news. This place we went you knew as soon as you pulled into the parking lot that the whole experience would be an exercise in pain and loathing. Nothing good would come of it. NOTHING!

Yes. We went to a car dealership.

Two of them, actually.

We had been discussing for a long while about getting a second car. For the longest time we had been the people with only one car. ONE CAR! People couldn't understand how we did that...I mean, isn't that impossible?

Um, no, not really. Sometimes it's inconvenient, but mainly it is about planning things out in advance and since we live in the city, it was quite easy to use the public transport. Also, I'm a cheap ass and would rather spend the money I save on car payments and gas and spend them on Italian vacations, cruises, and booze. Lots and lots of booze.

But now with the baby (DAMN BABIES!) it was becoming more difficult organizing drop-offs and pickups and if something came up maybe I would need a second vehicle. So we knew eventually we would get another car. And we had decided which kind of car we wanted and about how much we were willing to pay.

So it was just a matter of going out and doing it.

So last Monday we did.

It totally sucked. But we did it. I did my best to not get emotionally involved. This doesn't mean falling in love with some shiny metal people-mover and decide I can't live without it. I am pretty cold-hearted when it comes to buying stuff.

No, it means that I somehow don't physically assault the used-car salesman. Like, by punching him in his big, fat, lying mouth. Or something.

What is it about used-car salesmen. Excuse me, I mean PRE-OWNED car salesman. God, what a semantic bunch of horse doodie. I HATE it when people (corporations, advertising, newspapers) use this kind of soft-wording to make things sound all pretty and fancy.

It's a used car. Someone drove it before. Perhaps their dog once puked in the backseat, and their teenage son's best friend stuck a lit cigarette on the rubber console, just to "see what was gonna happen."

I am okay with this. There is nothing wrong with used. This makes things interesting.

An aside. My favorite advertising slogan of all time:


Short and to the point.

So Matt writes down the cars we are going to look at and the dealerships that have them.

We go to the first place, out in Hopkins.

We are barely out of the car before some dude is all over us. In situations like that Matt can be really annoying. He pretends he doesn't know what is going on, what's he's doing, or why he's there. Sometimes I wonder if he even knows his name. He somehow degrades into a catatonic mental patient who's an extra in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

And I turn into Nurse Ratchett.

Used Car Salesman: How can I help you folks today?

Matt: Ummm....
(he looks at the piece of paper he's holding)
Ummmm.... I.....

Me (grabbing the paper): We want to see these cars.

UCS: Okay, did you talk to someone already?

Matt: Umm.... ahhh... yeaaaaaah.

UCS: Okay, great, who was it?

Matt: Ummmm.. Jody? Jordy? Joe?

Me (snappishly): You don't even remember who you talked to?

Matt: Not really.

UCS: That's okay, I can help you! What did you want to see today? Something new?

Me: Used cars. The Hondas. The CR-Vs.

UCS: Great. We have some nice pre-owned ones. Just follow me.

We go inside. Sena is doing great, unlike me. She is cooing and ooohing and watching all the people.

We find out that the model we are really interested in seeing has already sold. But they have a 2007 to show us.

Matt actually speaks up: But they told me that one was still here.

UCS: They probably didn't know it sold this morning.

Here's what I'm thinking: Bullshit.

He tries to show us the 2007 model. It's beige metallic. I don't care for it, and it's more than I want to pay, so I stand outside with Sena and stare anywhere but at the salesman's face. Lest I feel the urge to spit in it.

Matt, for some reason, feels the need to entertain this dude for awhile before saying something vague, like: Hmmm... aaahh....that's nice.

Then he looks at me so I will say, "Hey, we got to go. Thanks anyway."

We get back into our car. Suddenly Matt can speak again.

"They said they had it! He said so!"

"They're all liars. Liars! They'll say anything to get you to come down here."

"We should have come this morning. Dammit!"

"There are others." I look at the list. "Let's go to Brookdale."

We do and find the car. It's a 2006, which we like better. It's black, which we like better. It has a moon-roof, which we like better. It has lower miles, which we like better. And it's a cheaper price, which we really like better.

I tell Matt to take it for a test drive. Me and Sena hang out in the lounge where I manage to entertain her with an old Richard Scarry book. Sena tries to eat it, drools all over the cover and then the book is thankfully taken away by a 4 year-old who comes running into the lounge.

Matt comes back and asks me if I want to drive it. "No, let's just buy this thing and get out of here."

Like I said, I'm a stone-cold beeaatch.

Then we have to go through the whole thing and crap about financing. They had this 2.9% financing poster. Of course, the salesguy says that only applies to 2007 models or newer.

Me: What?

UCS: Yeah, I would love to give that rate to you.

Me: Hey, it doesn't say that on the sign.

UCS: Yeah, umm... you're actually the second person to tell me that today.

I'm thinking, "Only the second?"

Me: You know, that's pretty crappy.

I actually say that to him. Matt looks at the ceiling. UCS looks uncomfortable so he says, "We can still probably get you a good rate."

Me: Uh-huh.

We end up being there for 3 hours. Well, I left with Sena at 5pm because I knew she couldn't go much longer before she got hungry and started screaming.

Matt didn't get back until 8pm, and all the neighbors came over and looked at our new car. They were more excited than me - probably because I was raised as a Scandinavian Lutheran. Scandinavian Lutherans like to notice and point out the blades of crabgrass in the Garden of Eden. All I think is: car payment, car insurance, gas....

But then I drove it. And really liked it.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. It better be a long one.

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