During my young adulthood the only thing I knew about cars was to try to catch the eye of the driver to see if he would stop for me. Cars were what I looked at when I was looking for someone who was looking for me. And oh yes, the four police stings I was involved with in downtown Honolulu began with me getting into a vehicle that was driven by an undercover police officer while other officers watched and followed us. Twice I escaped arrest, twice I did not. I learned much from these experiences and I am sharing those fascinating times from Honolulu at the turn if the 21st century. However, none of those adventures taught me anything about being a grown-up who owns a car (legally!). This is what happened today:
This is my Google Review posted Friday September 18, 2021
I went to Servco Toyota because this is the first time I have ever owned a vehicle and I do not know all the little insider bits of wisdom a person accumulates through experience. I thought the dealership would be the most legit, it would have the parts, and be competitively priced. When I told people my reasoning they laughed. ” Don’t you know the dealership is the most expensive? If you’re under warranty it is fine but if not don’t go there.” Another person said, “I go to Servco for maintenance, Lex Brody for brakes and tires, and I found place on Queen Street for Toyota.” I hoped they were wrong. I dealt with Vince who was very nice. He even waited to see if I was coming to pick up my car but exigent circumstances prevented me from picking it up the same day. I was able to leave or overnight for free. I suppose it should have been free sine they did not do anything. The parts were not in stock and it will take 7-10 days to receive them. What was this $140 bill paying for? The response: diagnosis. That was the cost for them to look at the car and tell me what I had told them when I brought the car to them in the first place. I paid $140 for nothing. Does everyone get treated this way? My paranoia is kicking in and I feel I must disclose to you, my valued readers, that I tend to be unreasonably suspicious and feel insulted over nothing. But that does not make me wrong when I think I detect a rip off. Or does it? Is it reasonable to pay $140 just to have the car looked at? Another friend concluded: “that’s why you support your local businesses, not the big national chain stores. Cross your fingers snd hope the neighborhood mechanic is not a tweeker. You should be able to get a much better deal from a local mechanic who is not on the pipe.”
Late Lessons from this experience
Whenever you are choosing to do something you are choosing not to do something else. I said “yes” to drugs and “no” to adult behavior that involves the acquisition, maintenance, and storage of things like cars. I am over 35 (this is not a math lesson, I will not say how many years stand between 35 and me). I own my first car. Here is what I did not know:
1. Mistakes like parking too close to something, are easy to make, easy to repeat, and get expensive quickly.
2. I knew people would want to use me for rides but I did not expect the persistent efforts to separate me from my car, permanently.
3. If parking is scarce, expensive, far from home, or unsafe, you might decide the problems outweigh the benefits. If you decide to keep the car new heretofore unknown pressure will become part of your lifestyle. Examples of pressure include but are not limited to: the stress of worrying about your car, or the anxiety about oversleeping and the car getting towed from street parking at 6:30 a.m.
4. People do not like to see you make progress. Not all people of course, but more than I would have imagined. Even if what they have is better, they resent you for getting a 16 year old used car with 170.000 miles. The will do everything from look the other way when the car is vandalized, to vandalizing it themselves.
5. People who let me know they need a car will get angry with me for not giving them the car–for free. I know more than my fair share of criminals who would rather take the car (or whatever) from me at no cost to themselves. This is true even if I was willing to work out a shared arrangement.
6. Because you never owned anything, experiences that are my Dane for others will produce feelings if joy and triumph and you will be constantly reminded of how far you’ve come in spite if the sabotaging efforts if others–and self! Every time you change lanes you will feel like a kid on Christmas and you might say aloud, in an empty car, “Caroleena on the go!” And you’ll laugh.