So it’s been maybe three years since I sold my rolling hug of a car, and much to my surprise, I haven’t really missed it. When I sold it I was living in San Francisco, where public transportation took me pretty much everywhere I wanted and needed to go, and it was really nice not having to worry about whether or not my car was going to start leaking gas and/or burst into flames at any moment. But then I moved to Oakland, and started to feel the pain and strain of not having a car at my disposal.
Since moving to Lakeshore Land, a simple trip to the vet involves driving Marco to work all the way over in Marin, at 5:30 in the morning (!), then back home to wait until the vet opens, then over to Berkeley for some medicinal Piggy poking and prodding, then home for a few hours, then back to Marin to pick up Marco — basically the whole day is wasted on the sad fussbudgetry of automotive maneuvering. Throw in a pair of airport pick-ups and drop-offs, bulky luggage, and a dinner reservation (as was the happy challenge during Swivel magazine Brangien’s ultra fun visit last weekend, YAY!), and the car-free lifestyle becomes an impossible puzzle of borrowed cars and brain sizzling hyperscheduling.
And then, right in the middle of all my recent coordicar frustrations, I found the exact ride I’d been (idly) looking for on Craigslist these past few months: ladies and gentlegiants, the Hyundai Accent Hatchback!
After six years of the ridiculous vintage car with whiplash seats and zero power steering (but five different ashtrays!), I was set on buying a car that had airbags and retracting seatbelts. I also wanted something completely nondescript, because I was ready for a break from the rolling conversation piece. I wanted something that I could lose in a parking lot, something that wouldn’t tempt crazy people to corner me for hours to talk up after-market wooden steering wheels. And the Hyundai Accent is just such a car! It also has an appealing awkward ugliness, something that speaks directly to the part of me that so appreciates the orthopedic nurse look.
Isn’t it beautiful?
Other variables I also wanted in my next car: a 5-speed stick shifter, air conditioning, under 80k miles, hatchback (I like that stunty shape), SILVER (the very Lone Ranger best for hiding dirt), and under $5k.
And this posting on Craigslist, it had every single one of the musts on my list, AND it was only $3800! So I scrambled for my phone, and a very nice woman answered right on the first ring.
ME: I’m calling about the car you have posted on Craigslist. The Accent? Is it still available? Because it is PERFECT IN EVERY WAY!
CAR WOMAN, distracted: Oh, uh. It’s available, yes…
ME: How about tomorrow. Could I come see it tomorrow?
CAR WOMAN: Unhh. Maybe?
CAR WOMAN: Actually…okay, since you’re a woman, I’ll just tell you: I think my water just broke? I actually thought you were my mom calling.
ME: Oh wow. WOW! This is so exciting! Is it your first?
CAR WOMAN: Yeah…and that’s the thing: since I’m new to this and I’m not really sure what’s going on, we’ve already had one false alarm this week. So maybe I’m not having a baby today? I don’t know. But we’re heading off to the hospital now, just to see what’s what.
CAR WOMAN: So either it’s not happening and we’ll be back home in a few hours, and I’ll give you a call about coming by tomorrow, or…
ME: Maybe, if I don’t hear from you today, I’ll just wait a few days until you’re settled in and give you a call then?
CAR WOMAN: Oh, I’m very responsible, I’ll for sure give you a call.
ME: No rush! I mean, you’re having a BABY! Maybe. Actually you should probably get off the phone and hop to it, right?
WOMAN: Ahhh…okay. But how about you give me your name and number, and I’ll call you either later today, or later…in the week.
ME: After you HAVE A BABY!
CAR WOMAN [laughing]: Well, keep your fingers crossed.
ME [miraculously managing not to say, “And you keep those legs…uncrossed”]: Right so my name is “Evany,” that’s “Evan” with a “Y”…
CAR WOMAN: Hey! “Evan” is what we’re naming the baby!
ME: Nooo! Ha! Well I’ve always suspected that “Evany” originally came from someone who was hoping for a boy but had a girl instead and made the adjustment on the fly, and…Oh my god I’m babbling. You need to get off the phone! Right now! And have a baby!
# # #
So I gave her my number and then a few hours later her husband called to say that they were at the hospital and the baby thing was happening for real! And now, four days later, they’re all home and tonight Marco and I are going to go see the car, and the baby.
My ever-practical mother, upon hearing the story of the car, said, “You should really have a mechanic check out the car before you buy it.” Which of course is completley sage advice. And yet…they’re naming the baby Evan! That’s a total sign of meant-to-be-ness! What more do I need to know??? I’m actually thinking of publishing an alternative Consumer Reports (the Magical Mystery Guide?), that gives buyers pointers about all the mystical forces and signs that clearly indicate a winning purchase — a car with all the features you’re looking for? At BELOW the right price? With a significantly named baby in the mix? Buy! Buy! Buy!
So I have my money-order all ready to go, and I think it’s going to take something truly off-putting, like a urine-style stench or a non-functioning engine, for me to pass on this car. (Watch I totally just jinxed it, ha.)
Unfortunately/fortunately last night Marco announced that he had lucked into tickets to tonight’s “very exciting” Sharks game, and given the timing of everything, this means we’ll have to look at the car on the way to the game. So if I do indeed buy the car, we’ll…have to drive both his car and my NEW SILVER HYUNDAI ACCENT to the Shark Tank? Or leave one car behind and then circle back for it later? At 10 o’clock, in the dark, with our brains frozen with Dippin’ Dots? Huh, maybe owning a second car isn’t really going to simplify my life at all. Oh life.