June 13th, 2009

krazy koati

My curiosity runnin' wild

I've been spending several hours each day after work this week going to dealerships around either work, home, or the yoga center, in the desperate hope that I can find the perfect car for me that doesn't cost more than I already have in savings. I can't, so I'm going to end up financing something, and don't think that hasn't got me worried. I suppose that in the grand scheme this isn't a lot of work considering how rarely I do need to do it, but all the car shopping is really cutting into my Europa Universalis III time, not to mention giving me several more hours dressed in work clothes instead of things that are comfortable (nice as it is with everything I own now fitting loosely) and watching Phineas and Ferb.

My first venture was with my mother, who was interested in how I might go about shopping and in what I might buy, and we went to the Toyota dealership where she and my father got the Something last year. This is where I was introduced to the Scion tC, where the car inside the showroom had ample leg room and the one I test-drove was a bit cramped; this turned out to be because I didn't have the seat as low as I could. An inch more made a huge difference. After Tuesday, I had a rental car (a 2007 Malibu LI or U, depending how you want to read it, neither of which letter pair seems to actually be a Malibu), and went out on my own. I don't like making quick decisions. I like being able to look through large piles of exactly known prices and feature lists, and not being pressured in making a buying decision, and not having to answer surprise questions about options I had never considered and lack strong or any opinions about. Clearly I'm well-outfitted for car shopping.

But I also started to get the hang of it by Thursday, I think, striding into dealerships just a touch nervous and being able to quickly deliver my price range, need for an automatic transmission (I know the theory of stick shift, but it has always struck me as just driving with a tedious extra chore attached), and I'm expecting a new car but open to certified pre-owned for the right model. I try out sitting in something, then driving something (maybe a different thing), and collect one of the sales person's business cards which, unfortunately, lack his or her name because she or he has run out and has to steal a card from a colleague and cross out that name and write in a different one. I suspect this business card shuffle is part of the script. If it's not it's a much too freaky coincidence.

So far the nearest-to-right pre-owned model was a three-year-old Pontiac G6 with low mileage but also a bit of a shudder on braking at highway speeds which the sales guy swore he'd get the mechanics to fix and a previous owner who smoked. And Saturn forfeited itself by closing all the dealerships that anyone in my family could remember having ever seen at any time, ever. One of them's now a used-car lot, and the others are empty. Also I've been sitting in awe and wonder at the 'Wikicars' web site inclusion of automobile reviews, since it does seem like the Wiki concept is antagonistic to the reviewing concept.

Things got odd Thursday, when first a Ford dealer gave me the chance to try out their Focus and drive it around where I liked without the dealer in the car. I'd thought they wanted someone authorized to ride along and make sure the test-driver didn't spontaneously drive the car to Calgary or something, and to ask multiple times what the test-driver likes best about the car. The Toyota dealership next to it (not the one I went to first) got even stranger: the dealer there didn't ask for my driver's license to copy, or even take my name, he just said something to the effect of ``I like breaking hte rules'' and obviously I couldn't drive there if I didn't have a license, so just take the car and try it out and no, he doesn't need to go along. My test-drive was accompanied by the nagging sensation I had probably stumbled into some odd crime ring. Something doesn't feel quite right about it, anyway. Friday after trying out the Nissan Versa I realized I was sick of trying out cars and was ready to buy something, preferably a car. This should not be held against the Versa.

At this point, I am most likely going to get a Scion tC, possibly the Special Limited Edition Release Series which does seem to handle better even if I'm not sure it handles all that much better. I think I'd rather have a six-CD player than whatever a ``TRD Rear Sway Bar'' is, but I feel the same way about ``Alloy Wheels'', which seem to lack precise definition to me past the ``wheel'' part. I just hate the sense that I'm rushing into things, but I also need these things done.

This all has me terrified.

Trivia: Before the 1866 Prussian-Austrian War, Luxembourg had been a member of the German Confederation yet under the sovereignty of the King of the Netherlands. It remained in the German Zollverein until 1918, when it formed a customs union with Belgium instead. Source: The Struggle For Mastery In Europe, 1848 - 1918, A J P Taylor.

Currently Reading: In The Wake Of The Plague: The Black Death And The World It Made, Norman F Cantor.