Growing up some more

Yesterday we went car shopping. We thought we’d start local, and so we went first to the Ford dealership just down the road. We’d never bought a car from a dealership before, this was a new experience!

So anyway, we’re looking at cars, and this guy comes up to us. Can he help us, he wants to know? Sure he can. We give him an idea what we’re looking for and why, and he leads us over to this Subaru Forester. It’s a great car, it really does tick all our boxes. But it’s a bit expensive. Ok, we’re trading in our old car, that’ll bring it down a bit. And with some negotiation, he’s willing to go still lower. But not low enough.

The wonders of the modern world: even as he’s telling us about this car, I’m online on my phone checking out similar cars for purposes of price comparison, and talking to my dad who knows about cars (and used to sell them for a living, but don’t hold that against him). I know we can get this car somewhere else considerably cheaper if we want to.

This guy, and his manager, pulled out the absolutely stereotypical used-car-seller  lines! I couldn’t believe it. I thought people stopped that shit back in 1991. Haven’t we moved on from “I’ve got a couple of other people interested in this car, so you’ll need to be quick to snap it up!” Can’t we get past “I need a commitment that you’re going to buy before I lower the price any more.” All I could think was, If you give me a lower price, I won’t need to go elsewhere. I won’t commit unless you do that.

So that was annoying and disappointing and put us off buying from there.

So, with the results of our research and a discussion with my dad, we went elsewhere and bought almost the exact same car for considerably less from a much nicer guy! Here she is:

From Thursday, we will be driving this 2008 4-door Subaru Forester instead of our old 1996 2-door Hyundai Excel.

This is the nicest, and newest, car we’ve ever owned.

When I first met Aidan he was driving a Mazda about the same age as himself. It did the job, but finally blew up in the middle of Burnley Tunnel after a weekend of many minor disasters.

Then Aidan’s dad got us a Holden Barina which never actually ran. We had it looked at and replaced the alternator, but it still rarely started. It let us down every time we needed it. We got rid of it through sheer frustration.

For a while we lived without a car; with no kids and living in Melbourne, public transport served our needs quite nicely.

Then when we moved to Canberra we bought the Excel. It’s been a good, reliable car, there’s really nothing wrong with it. It’s just old and small, and with a growing family we need more.

So we find ourselves now with a nice big family vehicle. I feel like a grown-up! A soccer mum, one friend called me!

Driving myself around the bend

Despite being 28, and having two children, and generally being an accomplished and rounded human being, there is one thing I have never bothered with.

Driving.

I’ve never really had a pressing need to drive; public transport, friends, and parents have served me well over the years. However, I acknowledge that having kids means needing to drive them to daycare, school, and extracurricular activities. And so, I am learning to drive.

I don’t really want to drive, and I don’t really like to drive, but I have to drive, and so I am. I’ve had a professional lesson each day this week, plus some practice with dad, and I’m improving each day. I’m feeling more confident, and driving more consistently.

However I feel within myself that I’ll never be a happy driver, never one of those easy-going folk with one hand on the wheel and the other flopping around casually. It will never be second-nature to me to hop in a car and drive, always something to think about deliberately, something to be careful and cautious with.

And I’m not sure I’ll ever want to drive a manual, despite owning one!