Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Car of my Thirties

Saturday was bittersweet.  I woke up with a list of goals to accomplish, which included draining radiators, raking leaves, grocery shopping, laundry, and car shopping.  Naturally, car shopping was the priority since a) it's more fun than anything else on the list, and, b) it was a beautiful autumn day and I definitely didn't want to spend it at home getting typical household crap maintenance done. 

So, off I went, hubbie in tow, to the dealership.  I have been researching cars for several months, and had resigned myself to the fact that I needed a new car.  The trouble is that, my (then current) car, is the car I bought when I was in my early 20's.  It was my "THIS IS SOOO ME!" car - a periwinkle blue Mini Cooper Convertible with exterior chrome trim (if you ever watch the TV show Scrubs, it's pretty much the exact same car that Carla and Turk drove after they got married and ditched their Vespas).  I built my car - literally, chose every single detail about it - ordered it and watched, almost daily, online as my car went through the building process over in England.  I waited almost 3 months for my beloved Mini to get to the States, and got butterflies the day I drove it out of the dealership.  The car was ADORABLE -- fun to drive, had tons of aesthetic appeal, and is the reason I spent many summer mornings making unplanned trips down the shore, coolers and beach chairs in tow, with the top down and music blaring.  The car was AWESOME!!!  Of course, I bought Winnie (I named my car after Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years) when I lived in an apartment, street parking was at a premium, and before I got married, before MY stuff became OUR stuff, and WE required much more of ALL stuff.  Back when I bought Winnie, I was more concerned about scoring free parking on the streets of NYC than I was about figuring out how to get a 6 foot long sheet of plywood home so that my husband can finish that bookshelf I've been waiting to have built in our family room forever.

When we made our move to the 'burbs a little over 2 years ago, I suddenly become painfully aware of why people looked at me sideways when I told them with bubbling excitement about Winnie.  The car was not at all practical for suburban life...at least not for a homeowner in suburbia.  I can't tell you how many ways I had to contort purchases made at Marshall's, Pier 1, Home Depot, etc. to figure out a way to get something I absolutely needed at home back to my actual house.

So...on Saturday, I went shopping for a more "practical" car - something I can actually seat 4 passengers in comfortably, and something I can actually fit much needed essentials into without being the laughing stock of the parking lot.  It took me a long time to find a car that was fun and sporty enough to satisfy my need for a car I could like even half as much as I loved Winnie.
After months of research and a few test drives, I settled on the Acura TSX.  It's luxurious packaging (read: leather heated seats, nav system, power seats, moonroof, auto headlights, satellite radio, etc.) made it an easier sell for me.  When I went car shopping on Saturday, my plan was to negotiate the best price for the car and get estimates of trade in value for Winnie.  I was NOT planning on buying anything - I wasn't ready, or at least, I didn't think I was.  Needless to say, my day did not go as planned.  I ended up purchasing the TSX, which was influenced by a painful realization that the 2011 stock was dwindling fast, and to get the best deal, I had to move (especially if I wanted a say in what color I got).  I did get a great deal on the car (which I judge by a purchase price that was several hundred less than what Edmunds and KBB were showing as invoice prices). 

As excited as I was to be getting such a fancy automobile, I couldn't help but get teary eyed when Winnie was driven off by a lot attendant who couldn't figure out how to move the driver's seat back.  I think my husband was a little worried that he was going to have to deal with me crying for the remainder of the weekend.  He kept asking if I was OK, if I wanted to change my mind, if he could do anything to help make me less sad.  Finally, I turned to him, wiped my tears, and said, "No, I'm OK - this is the 'Car of my Thirties.'  I'm ready to move on, to accept that I'm growing up, and to do that gracefully.  This car will be a 10-year car, one that I will have adventures in as a 30-something.  I will be OK."  And, with that, we hopped into my new car, and drove home.

Later that night, my husband asked me what I think my "Car of the Forties" will be.  I turned to him and said "I'm getting a Mercedes b*tch!" 

Guess I haven't grown up too much...

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