Happy Tuesday and welcome back to installment #2 of “And the Winner is”. Did you miss part one? Go here. Hopefully I will buy a car and finish this today. We left off with me leaving a note at the Mazda/Volvo dealership and heading off to pick up my friend Lisa. I needed a pal to help hold down the fort since I didn’t think test driving with 2 kids including 1 in a car seat would make me a very appealing customer. Not that I care, but I did need to make tracks. I have some thing to say about car dealerships at the end of the month on a Saturday. They are crowded. I am here to suggest the recession is slowing based on the car sales I saw this weekend. Not that I was one of them. Well, I kind of was. I’m jumping ahead. Let’s keep going.
I picked up Lisa in Irvington, New York which is a picturesque Hudson river town in Westchester near Sleepy Hollow and headless horseman fame. Seriously cute. Possibly our next home? Who knows. That will have to wait for the next “And the winner is” installment, which will involve looking for real estate. Coming soon to a blog near you. anyhow, back to charming Irvington and Lisa, a friend I made a bazillion years ago at Quisisana (the lake resort in Maine made famous by the Pancreas series) when I babysat for her oldest daughter. She was a guest, I was a staff member, we became friendly, and years later we’ve joined at the hip. She loves my kids, my kids love her and her husband Jonathan, it’s a good thing. Lisa is “hut” a term I think I have explained, but I will again. This term was coined by our good pal David Cleveland, and it describes a person who can easily assimilate to a lot of situations without a lot of fussy needs. The “hut” term comes from the huts that dot the tops of the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Maine, where long distance hikers can sleep over night. David used to run one of the huts and had to hike up all of the food and supplies for all the hikers, including dozens of eggs and
pounds of bacon. The accommodations are shed-like (a Martha Stewart term) and according to David the hikers who embraced the cold and basic toilet and ate the food available with a smile and a thank you are considered “hut”. If you are keeping score at home, Rob is hut, I am not. My version of hut is different, to me you are “hut” if you can spend a day with me and my kids and build a “hut” out of couch cushions and think it’s the most fun you’ve ever had. Brynn is hut. Lisa is hut. Jacob is hut. Maybe I should change the term from “hut” to “fort” but you get the point. Someone who is along for the fun and is no fuss no muss. Lisa is on a diet that allows her to eat whatever she wants on Saturdays, so I knew that as long as I tossed her a cookie or two along the way she’d be in to help me out.
We left Lisa’s house after a rousing growling game between Jonathan (her husband) and Beatrix, a sophisticated game where they growl at each other and then run around the house. Fun for hours. Lisa and the kids and I were heading to a dealership in Cortland Manor, New York that had the 2,700 mile Subaru, but first we swung into a Honda dealership near Lisa’s house. I wanted to look at the Honda CRV, which Jacob’s Mom Babs drives and loves.
I met a guy I’ll call Dino. He was about 60 years old and jogged around the lot looking at cars. Charlotte followed us–and I forgot to mention this–she had insisted on wearing 5 inch platform heels which she’d just purchased (without me present) with her friend Chrissy from Vermont. The kid is from Vermont. I expected they would buy cute
rain boots. But no, 5 inch heels. So here is Charlotte, tottering around like a colt who is learning to walk, chasing me and Dino around the lot. Lisa was in the car with Beatrix singing Christmas carols (Lisa is Jewish). Got the picture? Rob is playing a tech rehearsal for EVITA, and not playing very much, so he is texting me frequently, my phone constantly dinging in my pocket, making Dino nervous. This is how I shop for cars.
I drove a 2009 CVR, leather interior, more miles than I wanted (40,000) and more expensive than I wanted to pay. Other than that, I loved the car. Really, Hondas are like point and shoot cameras, they are just so simple, they are a start and go car. Basic. Easy. This matters to me because I often have young-ish drivers driving my kids around in new York City. Safety, visibility, easy to drive. Important. The CRV gets big points for all of the above. Dino started to understand that I was a serious buyer and not a dumb girl about cars. This is always an interesting moment for me because men of a certain generation can become very nervous if they aren’t able to make a sale buy bullying me and patronizing me. I do my best to stay very friendly and complimentary to make them feel at ease, but after a point I have to get to business. Dino was trying to convince me that a car with 40,000 miles was still a new car. He also told me the cars had low miles because business brought over oriental workers who couldn’t drive and lease them cars, so the cars don’t get get driven. Really? Offensive on 22 levels. Bye bye Dino.
Off we go to a local Volvo dealership in the (sort of low) hopes that I could score another fantabulous price on a Volvo. I haven’t had any teeth extracted recently nor any visible injuries, so my hopes weren’t high. But still, I’d placed an inquiry online and a guy had called to go fishing about my purchasing power, so why not. I was also a viable buyer as the sales people were looking to hit their month end quotas, so maybe another wisdom tooth deal was possible. I walked in and met a guy I’ll call Vinny. Vinny was the manager of the store, a car salesman straight out of central casting. Big belly, blazer, glasses, silver crew cut hair, called me sweetheart as soon as I walked in. You get the picture.
“Sweetheart, how can I help you?”
“I am here to buy a pre-owned (never say “used”) Volvo with fewer that 40,000 miles. I have a budget, I have a trade in. I am a loyal Volvo customer.” I told him my budget and what I was looking for. He interrupted me 1,000 times and chuckled a lot. He looked at the window while I was talking. He was the kind of guy that said really patronizing things and then laughed after he said them like he’d told a joke. He told me I should lease a car instead of buying, “and the only reason you aren’t is because you really have no idea what that means or what I’m talking about.” and then he laughed at his own joke.
After about 5 minutes of this, I said, “You might sell cars today, but you won’t sell one to me. I don’t like your attitude.” And I left.
Bye bye Vinnie.
We were off to Cortland Manor, New York to meet the guy with the Subaru. I’ll call him Fast-talking-Jimmy. I found Lisa some candy (she shared with the kids), promised her pizza later, and off we went. She’s hut. She’d also bought a car from Fast-talking-Jimmy and said he was a good guy. I was getting excited. It was almost time to buy a car. It was snowing–a sure sign that either Santa or a new all wheel drive Subaru was in our future.(To read the next post in this series, go here.)