Our beloved car, Patrick (named after the best mixture of feminine and masculine ever) is getting old and sick and our crazy long-term life plans, along with Chase’s hardcore commute, mean that we need a vehicle with good gas mileage. Something new(er) than our gorgeous 1991 Mercedes Benz.
There is something particularly wonderful about driving the last generation’s luxury cars. Patrick has a leather interior, wood panelling, seats that work for both Chase and I (two very different sized people)—he reminds you, even with his heavy wear and age, that you are in a very smartly designed and very expensive vehicle.
Having both grown up in different kinds of isolation, in the era that we did, Chase and I are both part of the dying car culture. We go on drives for pleasure, he has to drive for work, when we think of trips they’re all centered around the journey, eating miles and feeling the wind in your hair (no car we’ve owned has ever had a working cooling system).
So, we’ve been discussing buying a new car. Like, a brand new car. The possible miles per gallon are becoming amazing because of new laws, we are reaching a place where we can afford one. Most importantly, we want to let Patrick rest until we can afford to give him a new engine, transmission, all the other things that could get another 100,000 out of a vehicle we love that deserves a few more years.
We have a lot of friends who are not part of car culture. But we are. In the three years we’ve had Patrick we’ve put 72,000 miles on him. We could have driven from one coast to the other and back again, with miles to spare. A lot of that was driving into the sunset, along the ocean, across the West.
We figure that in ten more years car culture will be dead and we want to use that time while we can. I personally want a diesel, so that we can convert it when petrol is no longer an option.
So we went to go look at a smart little number today. We knew what to expect going in. Chase dosed himself with kava and I love power games, so we were pretty comfortable with the traditional car sales situation. The car drove well, reminding me of the BMW sporty car we used to have. It also reminded me that Patrick is so much better than anything we could afford new. It could have been a good match.
When we sat down to talk numbers I didn’t expect to learn that, though I feel like we comfortably tread the normal, square life—with my 401k and salary and our pretty modest lifestyle—we are still not actually “normal”. First time car buyers at 29 With “only a couple” credit cards (of Chase’s, I’ve had none) on the credit history. There was much tongue clicking and uncertainty. The kind of people they want to give good financing to live lives I can’t understand.
After burning up a younger guy with questions and smiles that didn’t reach the eyes, we ended the afternoon with a wonderful older lady who had just the right amount of fucks to give. And we smiled, shook hands, and left without a car, getting an email from her not much later reassuring us that the price we’d discussed wouldn’t change, if we decided to come back.
Chase summed up the experience pretty well as we drove away in our sadly clicking, beautiful and old car. “If I was a more skeezy person, I would have told them that the car is great, but I’m not hard.”