On the Horizon: A Car [Nerd in Transition]
Just over a year ago my 1993 Volvo kicked the bucket. I wasn’t terribly sad. I hated that car from day one. Apparently it hated me right back. The first month I had it the radiator blew cracking a gasket head and doing 3 grand in damage. For the next three years that car spent more time parked than running. When it was working it inhaled gas like Tony Montana. While the large trunk might have been appealing to border running coyotes, it didn’t do much for the single girl searching for parking in Los Angeles. The best thing about that car were the seats and the sound system. Had it not felt like I was driving a lazy-boy I would have gotten rid of it sooner. So after it sputtered to a hot death at the top of my hill my neighbors and I pushed it into a parking spot where it sat for two months until I made the call and donated it to charity.
Since the death of the Volvo I have done my best with a bike and the limited public transportation offered by the city of Los Angeles. I have also had to burden friends with endless requests for rides and as you know I already have difficulty maintaining friends so this certainly hasn’t helped. I believe that though many people now enjoy my calmer, more optimistic (for me) demeanor, they are tired of being my unpaid taxi driver. There is a strain that while unspoken I definitely feel, so I gave up on trips to Trader Joe’s and almost every late night event months back. In the last year the dogs and I have gone on less than 5 hikes, which was once a daily routine. Now our walks consist of choosing to go left or right at the bottom of the hill. And the very idea of doing more than two activities in one day across the city is a fucking joke! Typically I spend almost 2 hours in transit, one way, and that isn’t accounting for traffic.
Finally after a year of struggling to save for a down payment I broke and asked the parents for help once again. As a grown woman who rents her own house, pays her own bills and has a full time job, this was much harder to do than when I thought bohemia was cool and romantic. This time, however, I made one simple request; I only wanted help with a down payment. I am perfectly capable of making car payments and was willing to go it alone in attempting to secure a loan. What I did not want was for my mother to railroad me into another four door sedan. I also did not want my father to hand over one of their big old Michigan driven cars. I wanted to pick a car I actually want and be wholly responsible for it.
After a month of debate, which included my Father trying to send my Mother out here in their 90’s Oldsmobile Aurora and leave it with me (an idea I vetoed immediately because it’s a luxury vehicle that’s well over ten years old) they settled on finally giving me cold hard cash. Once I had the money I began the process of searching for the perfect vehicle to end my imprisonment atop the mountain.
I know what I want, a Mini Cooper. That is what I am going to get. It is small enough to park anywhere, yet roomy enough for myself, three dogs AND a load of groceries. They are one of the most fuel efficient cars on the road and only required oil changes every 7 months. As an added bonus, Mini’s are sports cars that were created to race but don’t look like a mid-life crisis on wheels. The resale value is impressive and not one person I know of with a Mini has ever complained. Plus they are just dang cute.
This week I found my Mini, I hope. After trolling Craigslist on a daily basis, I found a chick moving to NYC looking to unload her beloved gold Mini. Yep I said gold. I’m going to be that person. I took it for a test drive and it was over, I was in love. The owner happens to be methodical in her care of the car. She has every single maintenance receipt with the title neatly stored in a manila folder. I’ve never seen anything like it. It makes me think that she has no credit card debt and actual savings in her savings account, I wonder what that’s like? The Carfax report came up clean, it has low miles, is under 10 years old and she only wants $9000 for it, due her rapidly approaching cross country move.
But I don’t have the car yet and I might never get it. On Thursday I headed to the credit union and applied for my first ever car loan. Once I finished the paperwork I handed it over to the loan officer with an eager grin, she looked it over, helped me with missing details and said I would know in 24 to 48 hours. Ok that’s not so bad, except for the fact that the loan officer then rushed out of the credit union on her way to a doctors appointment and informed me she would work on it tomorrow, Friday. Now it’s Sunday. The chick with the car moves on Thursday. I won’t know if I am approved until Monday on the earliest, possibly Tuesday. She is willing to wait until Monday before finding another buyer. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon all week, and half a mile away I can see the finish line banners. The only question is: Will I get there? Will I be approved and cross the finish line with victorious arms in the air? Or will I be denied and collapse in a pile of shit as my bowels release knowing I will have to start all over again?
UPDATE: I did not get the loan. I have no car.
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featured image credit: marty.mankins