Sunday, October 20, 2013

Well I Guess This Is Growing Up: Cars Edition

I love cars. When I'm rich someday, I plan on having enough cars to change them out the way I change out purses or shoes- cars to match my mood, my outfit, the occasion, the weather. Some styles I hope to have:

The Aston  Martn Vanquish, for those times I'm feeling
particularly sophisticated, cheeky, and/or British
Dodge Avenger, muscle car with  the same engine as the Charger,
at about 1/3 of the price, and  with a glowing endorsement
from Richard Hammond; for when I want  to feel tough
Ferrari 458, for those times when I'm feeling feisty or playful and just
want to have fun, dangit

Dodge Caravan, because I intend to have a litter of children,
but  want to drive something that isn't a POS when
lugging them everywhere
McLaran Spyder, for when I want to look like I'm
going faster than I actually am

A Mini Cooper, for going out with  my friends
Mazda 3, for everyday commuting, errands, etc.
And last but not least,, a Lambo Gallardi,
because it's basically the Goddamn Batmobile

In order to afford all of these cars, I'll probably need to marry Bruce Wayne. Not that I'd mind. I've dreamed it, myriad times, so literally a dream come true, amirite? Eh? 

You right now

Okay, sorry.

Confession Time: I didn't have a license until a little  over a year ago (and its acquisition, that's a fun story in itself). I learned to drive over the course of college, between college, and grad school. And how did I survive without a car, you ask? Well, in high school, my closest friends all had cars (or there were enough of with them going to whatever that carpooling wasn't a problem, and even ones with cars would "bum" rides). In college and during my two off-years, I either only had to walk a couple blocks at most to get to things, or lived with people that took me with them during grocery runs and the like. Then here in grad school, either the bus system picked up and dropped off literally right in front of my apartment complex or the academic building in which I work, or I had a roommate (or person in my complex) going to the same thing as me. 

So I honestly didn't need  a car. And since I didn't need one, I didn't bother getting one. Money basically stopped being a problem once I started grad school (kind of ironic, since I'm in the department with the lowest-paid students, 'natch), so I started dillying  with the idea of getting one eventually some time in the future before leaving Indiana...

Then my parents got a divorce and my mom and siblings moved to a place about a days' worth of driving away. Minnesota, to be precise. 

And remember, I have a dog, so flying her anywhere isn't something I was looking forward or, really, willing to do, anyway.

And then I got this part-time job at a clothing store (which I'm prolly going to have to start writing about because ohmygod retail). And it makes me feel positively terrible to ask my roommate to get me to and from there. And taking the bus is exceptionally icky- not that it's difficult, it just means I have to get up that much earlier, get home that much later, and I usually end up blowing at least an hours' worth of pay at the job waiting for my shift to start or the next bus once I'm done (because I'm either about to start a shift that runs through a regular meal with no break, or I've just come off one doing that and am thus either anticipating or fighting off Hungry Bear Syndrome).

So I started seriously looking for a car. I called insurance companies, I researched, I thought about the features I'd need, etc. I decided I'd prolly want either a Mazda or Subaru, for the hatchback and four-wheel-drive capabilities: I need storage for River's stuff (I swear to God, that dog's crap would take up a whole bedroom of its own if it wasn't spread around the apartment... I spoil her), good handling for everyday driving, and all-wheel drive for being in harsh winter conditions, as I'll be visiting Mom and the young-uns for Christmas and thus driving in fucking MINNESOTA SNOW. Color wasn't a priority, but I'd be happiest with silver or chrome because I just like those on cars the most (see above pics...). I wanted something under five years old (but I wasn't thinking new, either), with less than 70,000 miles. That seemed possible, given what I found online in the area, but nothing under like $18000.
So, loan time! 

And guess what? I got declined. Not once, but twice. I went to both my new bank and the bank I've been with for nigh ten years now, and both said my disposable income isn't enough. 
I also was told it had to do with my credit score- both banks said I was at a mid-level B. And the reason is some outstanding medical charges that have been kicking my ass since April when my insurance company started giving me the run-around on some tests I had done with my ladydoctor. I'm still working on them, but it's docking my credit score down a few hundred points. The banks did say I could move forward if I had a cosigner, though. But I basically resigned myself to a fate of working for the rest of the year at the store and saving up to buy a junker because I had no one to cosign with me. I mean, that's not the kind of thing you ask anyone but, like, direct family to do for you. I had a few friends hint they'd be willing, but I cut them off because no, just no. 

So as a last-ditch effort, I made plans to visit a lot over the weekend, just to see. I was aware that car dealerships are slightly less... uh... picky about financing, I was just trying to avoid it because the lots in town all advertised rates as "low" as... like 8% interest or higher. Ew, right? The banks were less than half that. My mom promised she'd get someone to pick me and River up for Winter break, but that wouldn't solve the work problem or make me feel any better. So, one more try. I got ready, arming myself with a few thousand I'd been saving  for this purpose to put  down to help entice the dealers.

Yesterday: As my awesome roommie and I started walking into the office at the dealership, which happened to be a Subaru lot owned by the one overarching company, I casually mentioned how a car we were passing was basically what I had in mind: silver, hatchback, 2011, Subaru. I told this to the gentleman that started helping me, and he took us outside to look more closely, and... well shit. Yeah, that is pretty good... We went back inside so he could run the specs and he came back saying, "Actually, I think this may be The Car for you." He went on to tell me it was only $14000ish and had only 60,000ish miles on it, that it had belonged to the wife of a man at the local Subaru  factory, so it had received pretty gentle use. So he went to the financing dude and gave him all of my info and took me and my roommie out to the car so I could test drive it. 

I loved it. It was smooth, quiet, and I felt very much in control. Other cars I've driven with either rear- or front-wheel drive feel like they're struggling against you- the steering wheel tugs and tries to turn itself. This car, I did all the work, and I liked that. It was my first time driving it, but I'm pretty sure the turns I made in that car were at least as smooth as my smoothest with cars I'm very familiar with (i.e. my mom's car, or my roommie's). With a little more familiarity with it, I could make turns smoother than  a baby's bottom.

Also, it's one of those models that comes as automatic regularly, but has a function where you can switch to manual. So while I said, "For people pretending to be badass?" aloud to the dealer, internally, I was thinking, "I can learn manual, ohmygodIwantedtodrivemanual and felt like a sellout when I learned on automatic!" I was warm and tingly the whole time I was driving it.

Yes, I wanted the car. 

When we got back inside, the loan dude still wasn't ready. And so, naturally, I started to cry. 

Because I'm cool like that. 

And I explained I'm sorry, I'm just nervous, I've had a LOT of crap to deal with in the past couple years, and I'm afraid my medical bills are going to make  this impossible, if I don't get a loan from the dealership now, I won't be able to get a car, period, etc. So the dealer, since I had mentioned I needed space for my dog, started talking to me about his dogs, and we spent the next like twenty minutes trading dog stories (with  help from my lovely, supportive roommie). Then the loan dude came out and said, wagging his fingers in a "follow me" way, "You, with me," and proceeded to some offices in the back. I about pissed myself when my roommie didn't follow. Ohmygod I have to do this part alone? Can't she be there to hold my hand as he tells me no?

"Is this good news or bad news?" I asked as he opened the door to the office we were going.

"Well," he said, "that depends on the kind of day you've been having. If you've had a great day, this is going to be about average. If you've had a crappy day, this'll be great news."

"Well, uh, it could get better...?"

"So then you'll be happy!"

I was so nervous, I didn't understand his cryptic way of speaking. "So, uh, what's going on?"

He laughed a little and said, "You've got a loan."

And a thumping good one, at that. For only 4.3% interest. 


I didn't get to take it home with me because insurance and it needs some tires replaced, but here, ladies and gents, is my new-to-me 2011 Subaru Impreza:

But man, being an adult and stuff SUCKS.

All of the paperwork I had to sign at the lot (which wasn't even all that much, since I had no trade-in or anything), all of the paperwork for getting insurance, all of the paperwork I'll do with the BMV... I mean... Damn,.


  1. At least Indiana won't make you get the damn thing inspected! I mean, you should have it looked over once in awhile, but you aren't paying the government a fee to have that done.

    Congrats again :)

  2. Oooh, shiny. And, since you may need this, here is the Etsy store I got all my geeky window decals from :)