I remember driving alone from Vermont back to Western Mass a few months after I’d started driving, and feeling like the trip was an object lesson in gorgeous road metaphors. The curves in the mountain roads, blind corners, broad views down the mountain, and then the highway opening and flattening out in front of me. All of those road metaphors in songs and poems suddenly made sense!
So, I’m buying a car. This has turned out to be a hilariously awful process, just as eye-opening as that New England morning drive, only now I’m fully understanding all the things people say about used cars and used car salesmen.
I don’t really like driving, and I don’t really know that much about cars. I can drive a standard and I can check a car’s oil, and I am incredibly impressed with myself for being able to do those things.
I secretly enjoy it when computer salespeople dumb things down for me, because it’s almost always followed by that awkward look when they realize I know what I’m talking about. But with cars, I actually don’t have the foggiest idea what we’re talking about. Oh, it need a transmisserator? Excuse me while I stare blankly. And Google.
Anyway, I’ve gotten better and better at knowing what to ask when I go to look at cars. Do you have the title in hand, and is it actually in your name or your cousin’s sister-in-law’s roommate’s name? Are you selling the car because it spectacularly failed inspection recently? Did you hit a deer immediately after posting the photos? If it’s a standard, do all of the gears work?
And, one that bitter experience has taught me to ask: DOES IT HAVE SEATS?