I’d called the dealership and made one last request. I didn’t want a stripe down the side of the car. I’d seen too many cars with a few years on them suffer from stripe fatigue. I was informed that the stripes had already been applied but since they hadn’t been on long, they could be taken off. Whew! That was close!
The next day, I settled in to my work routine after giving the staff a tour of my loaner. Several of them fell in love and proclaimed THAT would be the car they’d buy. Well, I was sorry. They weren’t buying. I was and I didn’t have the wherewithal to buy what I was getting, let alone a vehicle that was considerably more.
The day was humming along as usual and I was absorbed in what I was doing. I had learned long before that I had to tune everything around me out in order to be able to concentrate. One of the girls came to the door of my office and said, “Are these your keys?” I looked up at the set of keys she had in her hand. No. They weren’t. I had “my” keys in my purse. Then I saw the salesman peeking around the door and grinning. My—MY—car was there! I jumped up and got the keys and ran out to the parking lot with him following me and laughing.
There was the car in all its glory and not a stripe in sight. I needed to drive it so I could be educated about the controls that were unfamiliar to me. I flew back into the office and grabbed my purse. Breathlessly, I told everyone I’d be gone for a little while and I was out the door.
The air conditioner was reviewed and I was told how to get the best mileage and still be comfortable. I’d never driven a five speed with cruise control so that was next on the list. The biggest surprise wasn’t the fact that it had come with floor mats that were an add-on. It was the alarm system that even the salesman didn’t know it had until he picked it up. That was several hundred dollars in value just handed to me. The contract was a contract and it couldn’t be added on after the fact.
After a few more instructions, we headed back to the hospital. I parted with the keys to the loaner and the salesman left. I was on Cloud Nine! That afternoon, I stopped by the station at the end of the road and introduced the owner to my car. He was almost as happy as I was that I had something decent. He had me pull the hood release and he admired all the inner workings.
Next morning, I got up early because I needed to load some things into the trunk. I went out, unsuspecting, before daylight. It was about 5 o’clock and all was quiet in the neighborhood. A dog or two caught my scent and barked and then quieted down. One thing the car didn’t have was a release on the clicker to pop the trunk. I put the key in the lock and, all of a sudden, the car came to life! It started jumping up and down, yelling and screaming and flashing its lights. No more was the neighborhood quiet. I started pushing every button I could find and, finally, it calmed down and came to rest in the exact same spot where it had been sitting. I’d remember never to do that again! I pushed the button to unlock the door and popped the trunk that way.
That afternoon, I went out to get in the car and, as a matter of habit, put the key in the door lock. It was a repeat of the morning. Once again, it started jumping up and down, yelling and screaming and flashing its lights. The hospital was supposed to be in a quiet zone but it wasn’t any more. Two things to remember—1, never open the trunk without first unlocking the car door. 2, never unlock the car with the key. Not unless I was being pursued by a mugger but, in that case, I had a panic button that I could use to set it off whenever I wanted.
The next few days were spent learning new things about the car. One morning, my neighbor wanted to ride to town with me and the young man who was staying with them was coming along. I proudly pushed the button and then again so all the doors would be unlocked and not just the driver’s door. We were still a little distance from the car and just as the YM got to the door and reached out, it beeped and locked up tighter than a drum. He had the funniest look on his face. It was like he thought he’d done it. Hmmmmmmm. Something else to add to the list. If a door isn’t opened within 30 seconds, it locks again.
By and by, the novelty wore off but it was still so nice to be able to drive and let my full weight down. There was nothing like having a dependable automobile after so many disposable ones.
It was the last of May that I’d sealed the deal and the first part of June that the car was delivered. DD was coming back from her junior year of college as a big senior. I had the car just in time to go pick her up at the airport. She admired the car and gave everything except the straight shift her blessing. It was her firm belief that she wasn’t coordinated enough to drive anything but something with an automatic transmission.
She needed a job but there were still none to be had around our neck of the woods. Well, I can’t exactly say that but there were none that would work out with one vehicle between us. Staying with DS1 and family again was out. Everyone involved had the attitude of “been there, done that” and wouldn’t consider doing it again. They all still loved each other. Living together was a strain on the relationships and sometimes it was hard to like each other. But, what was she to do?