June 18th, 2009

krazy koati

Let's go all out and buy a Cadillac too

So with my mother co-signing the note then we were cleared to have me actually do it and sign the papers buying my first car and committing myself to five years of paying for it. At this stage it was necessary to begin signing dozens of papers, all of different sizes, all of them that carbonless copy stuff made with the imprinted bubbles so that I'm never confident my pen, which has been a liquid gel type since I can't find disposable fountain pens anymore, actually presses through hard enough to make an impression. Also there was a pause when the longest part of the contract, a piece of five-layer stuff about three feet long, needed to be reprinted because the printer's alignment was off the first time. The finance guy tore up the first one and tried a second which was similarly off, and finally called over the phone for the guy who knows how to fix the alignment on that printer. The printer guy was going home for the day, so he hoped that printers would either stay aligned or they didn't sell any more cars. The finance guy didn't seem comfortable with the second option. Also his phone ring was the popular ``Are you there? Are you there?'' chirping voice which makes all calls sound like distant, unrelated messages on the public address system.

And so I signed the document by which I agreed to 59 monthly payments of the appropriate amount, and one final payment of ... the same amount. I guess the amortization software is built around the assumption people have more complicated payment schemes. It should simplify setting up an automated payment scheme, though, what with not having to rely on remembering a special case in June of 2014.

In the meanwhile somewhere far off my car was still being cleaned and prepped and pinstriped. For now, the question was: how did I want to pay my down payment? I had figured on a check, and brought my checkbook for its not-quite-annual deployment, with the note that the address on it was still my old grad school apartment (the one from before I moved to Singapore). This would require that the finance guy copy down my driver's license, which is really an unstoppable way of preventing check counterfeiting after all. My mother asked if I got frequent flier miles on my credit card, which I do, and the finance guy noted they do accept up to US$2,500 on a credit card. I hadn't thought of that, but that's not a bad idea after all. This card's set to automatically pay off the balance every month, saving me interest and subtly annoying the Visa corporation until they will someday destroy me.

So it became a combination of check and credit payment, with the check being the first that I've written in the slightly over two years since I bought the Sable, and with the credit card part taken off this means the check was actually for less than I paid on the Sable. It also comes to my fourth physical check since December of 2002. Also I didn't write hard enough to make the carbonless copy in my checkbook. Or possibly the little ink bubbles inside have grown dry with advanced age. The checkbook's a decade old, after all.

I handed the finance guy my check, and my credit card, and he lead us all out his office and over to the payment window, tucked in an otherwise nondescript part of wall. It looked just like the old cubby-hole where students could pay their Student Accounts before my grad school got more computerized and started sending people online until they gave up trying to understand anything. We also had to wait a while because the cashier was off taking care of something else, and my parents took a few pictures of me standing by the window and, in my father's opinion, ``looking paler than I've ever seen you''. Well, it's a lot of money, after all.

My sales guy came back and asked if I'd seen the service center yet. Unusually, I was not able to give a simple answer to that question, and ended up giving no answer.

Trivia: Joe DiMaggio measured his batting stance as forty inches from left instep to right instep. Source: 1941: The Greatest Year In Sports, Mike Vaccaro.

Currently Reading: All On Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery, Henry Mayer.