On a sunny morning, Eddie and I headed out for a tour of a bunch of car dealerships. We went to Nissan first. Nissan has this great little car called The Juke. It's all kinds of fancy. It reminds me of a VW Bug. It's way too expensive and it has leather seats, which I don't like, so it wasn't on my very detailed list of cars I'd researched in the past 24 hours. I'd actually researched cars up until the minute we left.
The guy at Nissan was less than helpful. He didn't know if they had a Versa. Then he wandered around outside and asked a guy on the lot who was like, It's right there. The car was practically in front of him. He opened the passenger-side door for me to see the car. Because, you know, I would be sitting in the passenger seat while driving, of course. I read the window sticker as he talked to Eddie, clearly not interested in saying anything about the car because he knew we just started looking. As in, I don't care about you and your need for a car. I asked if they had the sedan version because he was showing me a hatchback. He said he didn't. Then he said that leasing the Versa wasn't worth it. That's when I was like, yeah okay just give me your card and we're going. Nissan is currently running a leasing special for the Versa. I'd found it in my research. So this guy either had no clue or was lying.
We went down the road to Honda. We'd been there for a nano-second when Eddie was car shopping. We looked at the car parked outside. It was the Fit, which I'd read up on. Eddie was like, This car is ugly. A saleswoman came outside and asked if we were interested in cars. I was like, yes, I'd like to see the Civic. She brought us inside and pointed at the car and opened the door. It was the driver's side door, so already, this was better than Nissan. I sat in it and didn't like it. There's a weird screen thingie on the dash right in front of the steering wheel that was blocking my view. I asked to see the Fit outside so she got the key. I sat in that and liked it because I could see everything. The back was too huge, though. It's also a hatchback and has way too much room for me. Eddie liked the space and I was like, what are we going to do with it? He winked, I rolled my eyes, and the saleswoman stared off into space as she'd been doing for the entire time. I asked about how it handled in the snow and rain, and she said, Good. She didn't elaborate. The only thing she elaborated on was the monthly cost of a lease for the Fit, which was somewhere in the 300s. Um, no. Not for this car. Maybe mid-200s. There's no way anyone in their right mind would shell out somewhere in the 300s for the Fit. So that ended that.
We tracked our way back towards home and went to Toyota. I wanted to see the Corolla, the Scion, and what I'd remembered that morning as their small car, the Yaris. The Carolla was huge. The Scion was like driving a sedan version of a Hummer. So very wide. Eddie told the sales guy that he wished he'd seen the Scion before leasing his Chevy because it was hooked up and nice. For him. For me, way too big with too much excess space I'd never use. I'm not a fan of waste.
The salesguy said that they had a Yaris across the street so we could take a walk over there. Sure. We followed him as he crossed the middle of Merrick Road with traffic coming from both ways. Seriously. So we played some human Frogger and caught up only to have him speed walk two blocks. Eddie was like, He's taking us somewhere to kill us. I laughed.
Then we got to a building that looked abandoned on the outside. When he opened the door, I was like, Omigod, you're right--he's going to kill us. It was abandonded and broken down on the inside as well. So what did the two of us brainiacs do? We followed him like puppy dogs. Through a door and poof, a garage full of Toyotas, one that had an alarm going off non-stop. It was an icky room. We weaved through cars until he found the Yaris. There were a few in different colors. I sat in it and liked it immediately. I said it was the most comfortable one I'd been in. We walked around the car, looked at the trunk space, and read the sticker. The guy said that they normally don't lease the Yaris but it was still an option. He asked if I wanted to test drive it. Sure.
The ride was smooooooth. He explained that it was an upgrade from the old Echo, which I had driven a few years back during a road trip with S. I loved that car. Now, I was driving along in its offspring. The interior was nice. The color was nice. Everything about it was nice. So we went inside to do some pricing.
My poor Saturn was sitting in the lot, looking on in horror as we did the pricing. The appraiser guy went out and came back with a figure of $2000 for it. I thought about it. In excellent condition for a private sale, I could get up to 4 grand. The car was not in excellent condition, though in a panic, I had used the dust buster to clean it that morning, and I kept panicking whenever the appraiser went near the door because I thought he'd see the broken locks. Anyway, If I were to sell the car privately, I would not be able to lie about the problems it had, so I would sell it for about the same that the dealer wanted to give me. I was okay with that.
As the paperwork was going through and as the car was being detailed and all the wheels and cogs and circuits were doing their voodoo that has to occur during a car sale, I wondered aloud to Eddie, how are we going to fit all the cars in the driveway? He answered, just park your new car where you park now. I asked, but how can I put it there when my Saturn is there? He said, the Saturn is staying here. I said, I can't give up my Saturn. He said, you can keep it as a souvenier but you'll have to put money down for your lease then. I said, I can keep it and put no money down. He said, then you'd have a higher payment. I said, I can let them give me the two grand for it and then take it. He said, no you can't. I said, oh ok.
None of this mattered at the moment the salesman asked, Do you have the title with you? Ha. No, we did not. So we climbed into the Saturn and came home for lunch and to grab the title. I wondered aloud, what would happen if the car died on our way back? Eddie was like, I don't think you'd be getting the two grand they just proposed to you. Heehee. I then offered a string of what ifs--what if it's not really broken? what if I'm doing the wrong thing? what if it can be fixed for very little money? what if the new car isn't as good as the Saturn? what if my Saturn feels abandonded and alone? what if the new owner doesn't treat it well?
Of course, this was all nonsense. I found the title and went through a bunch of other papers. I asked if I needed anything else. Eddie said, that's your title so that's all you need.
We went back to the dealer. They were just about done on their end of things. We gave him the title. He came back a little later and asked about the lien on it. I said there was none. However, the title showed the lien and he said that I would have received a letter saying that the lien was over and done with. I looked at Eddie. He was like, Okay so maybe you did need those other papers. Ugh. The salesman said we could go home in the new car and bring back the paperwork. We just needed to wait for the finance guy.
As we waited, Eddie got a vanilla cone from Mr. Softee. The guy came through the lot quite a few times. That's smart business. We also watched a couple who had to be in their late 70s/early 80s shop for a car. They were all over the lot with their sales guy. They spent a good five minutes discussing how the trunk stays open no matter where you put it so it won't swing up or slam down. Then they both sat in the backseat of a Corolla. Then when they got out, the woman asked the salesguy about the difference between GPS and navigation as the guy stood up, bent over, and fiddled with the seatbelt. This was the greatest live show ever.
Then the salesguy came into the lot with my car. Ooh, it was pretty. Except for this scratch thing on the side. Eddie saw it first and pointed to it. So as the salesguy was showing me all the buttons and gadgets, I was like, Yeah is this a scratch? He looked at it, scratched at it, and then said he was going to bring it across the street to have the guys buff it out without a problem. I was like, yes thanks. There was no way I was taking that car with even a microscopic scratch on it.
We went into see the finance guy to sign the contracts. He asked me what I taught since he'd read I was a teacher at Nassau. I said English. He gave the answer that the salesman gave when he asked the same thing, which is the answer that I usually get--a stupid comment about how English is hard. This is why I usually don't tell people I teach English. I say, I teach at the college. It helps me avoid idiotic coments that I don't really care about. If I cared about your opinion on English and how well you did when you took comp in college, I'd ask. Like, if we were at a party and I met one of them and asked what they did and they said, I sell cars or I finance cars, my immediate answer would not be, oooh numbers are hard or I didn't do well in shop class in high school. You know why that wouldn't be my answer? Because it has absolutely nothing to do with anything. I became an English teacher because I'm good at English. I didn't go into the autoindustry because I suck at cars. Basic common sense, people! Anyway, I'm now done with that tangent.
So the finance guy starts explaining the intricacies of gap insurance. On and on and on about how it's optional but important. And then he gives us how much it would be monthly if we got it. I was growing angrier by the second because anything that affects the monthly cost should be stated when we agree on a monthly cost. Obviously, we came up with a price that I could afford. I was sooooo aggravated. Then when I declined, the guy looked at the paperwork and said, Oh I apologize--you already have it.
I was like, Ah, well look at that. Assssssssss.
He had me sign two contracts, one that gave me a little higher cost if I didn't bring back the paperwork about the lien being over with. Jeez, these people will squeeze you for every penny. We all shook hands and then me and Eddie headed back to the sales floor.
The salesman gave us keys with key chains. Then we walked out to the car again. That's when I noticed my Saturn was already gone from the lot. Sigh. No more Saturn. No more third door. Sniff.
But here was my brand spankin new car. We walked around it, checking for any more scratches and found none. Yeay! We shook hands once more and headed home. And then we came right back with the lien paperwork. And then we left one last time with me as the proud owner of a 2011 Toyota Yaris, color flint mica (meaning charcoal gray).
For all the years I owned the Saturn, I'd never given it a name. I'd named my GPS--Judy--but not the car. It was always "my little Saturn with the third door." As soon as I got my Yaris, she was different. I want everyone to say hi to Yolanda. Send her good vibes. I will always have a place in my heart for my Saturn, but I'm learning to love Yolanda, too.