Recently my beloved red Jetta coughed and gave up the ghost with little warning. Sure, she may have had no AC, and the ceiling may have been falling down and shedding orange sticky goo over everything, and half the windows may not have worked, but she was a good little car and her death was a blow to me!
But, since she wouldn’t cart me around anymore, I was required to take up the arduous business of car shopping. I usually consider shopping fairly fun, but when it comes to car shopping, my knees shake and my toes clench and my mind becomes as muddled as your brain during an algebra test. In case this ever happens to you, I have outlined the stages of used car shopping to help you get through the difficult process.
- Denial. “Surely my car will still work,” you think. “Surely I can just put several thousand dollars into it and rebuild the engine and replace the clutch and get a new muffler and still drive it! Never mind it’s only worth a thousand by now. Anything to avoid car shopping!” When this doesn’t work, it turns to..
- Anger. You simply cannot BELIEVE your faithful little car would do this to you! After you treated it so well, after you taped up its sagging ceiling, after you stopped using its broken windows, after everything you’ve been through together! What kind of faithless payback is this?
- Gloom. You give in and start shopping. But you only look for an exact replacement. Same make, same color, preferably has the same sagging ceiling for familiarity’s sake.
- Sanity. Meanwhile, as you drive your borrowed ride, you begin to remember how nice it really is to have some of these superfluous luxuries such as AC and cup holders and windows that roll down. Who knew it was possible to drive to work with your coffee intact and your feet chilled? Maybe you want something different after all.
- Despair. So many cars, so little time! All the reasons you hate car shopping hit you full force. The hours on Craigslist, the fruitless evenings spent going to look at duds, the fear of acquiring a lemon, the headache of getting all your info updated and paperwork done. Ugh! You resolve to move to a big city and only ride public transportation.
- Determination. Since moving isn’t an option, you know you have to buckle down and do this. You put on your big girl pants and start sending links to your brother to assess. He tells you all the reasons you shouldn’t buy the vintage Fiat, and sends you back some more practical links, like almost vintage Japanese models. You narrow down the options, until you reach…
- Success. Finally, the search pays off, and you locate a nice little beater to carry you around for the next few years. You spend a lot of time feeling guilty for how much help your brother was, when you never help him with anything. You also spend some time feeling peeved at how much emptier your bank account is. But mostly, you just feel relief, and hope that this thing will faithfully accompany you the next hundred thousand miles. You christen it Edgar on suggestion, a homely, brave name* to depict its homely, brave character. And so the cycle ends, till the next engine explosion.
*Name and description by Lynette.