I write this from the outdoor patio of Clark’s Oyster Bar where I have treated myself to a most perfect meal of lobster roll, slivered fries with rosemary and homemade sweet and sour cucumbers, all washed down with a glass of crisp Muscadet and topped off with a perfectly pressed espresso. I really needed a treat today and I could not have found a better one.
If you are following from “Buying a Car in Texas: Part I“, you will know that I had settled on purchasing a somewhat sensible compact SUV with excellent safety features and a quiet ride. According to Consumer Reports, one of America’s most reliable sources of product testing and ratings, I should buy a Honda CR-V or a Toyota RAV4. Armed with this in-depth online knowledge, I set out to buy one of those.
In preparation, I researched things like “what to look for in a car”, “how to negotiate the price of a car”, “what to consider when test driving a car” and “Austin’s best Tex-Mex restaurants” (that last one because I am always looking for a good Tex-Mex restaurant). I had a checklist and a budget, both of which provided a useful baseline from which to measure how far away from them I would move in the end. It was time to venture out into the oh-so-treacherous world of car dealerships.
My first dealership was nice enough but we did not see eye-to-eye on anything. Clearly, our astrological signs were totally incompatible. Although we gave it a good try, it just was not meant to be. We parted friends but I do not expect we will see each other again.
My second dealership tried to meet my needs on several levels and I started to believe there might be a future for us. However, a second date of mind-numbing boredom led me to the realization that we do not share the same values or approach to relationships. I decided that a clean break was best for us both and I walked out, not looking back.
I met my third dealership online. After exchanging a few pleasantries, we agreed to meet the next day. My more modest expectations resulted in a few successful test drives. I was impressed that he allowed me to drive the vehicles on my own. He was not clingy and I liked that he valued my independence. We were able to discuss openly our expectations of the relationship upon which we were embarking and we shared past mistakes, without judgement. There was just the sticky issue of the dowry. I left our first date feeling confident he would be able to propose something acceptable. He promised I would hear from him the next day.
Alas, there has been no word from him: no email, no text message, no phone call. I have, of course, considered the possibility that he got run over on his way to work or that he contracted a rare Texas flu that has resulted in total amnesia. Most likely he is already in a relationship with another make or model. Crushed, I sought solace in the arms of Clark’s Oyster Bar. At least Clark did not let me down.
There has been one bright spot in this oh-so-treacherous world of car dealerships: I had a solid and supportive shoulder to cry on in the form of my brother-in-law, Phil in Winnipeg. Phil was at the receiving end of several frantic phone calls from dealership parking lots and more than a few text messages (my sister Carolyn played an integral role in facilitating these sessions). Had it not been for his sound advice and calming words of wisdom, I would have abandoned all hope.
Yet, I knew there had to be someone out there for me…and I think I’ve found him.
Ray at Bicycle Sports Shop has introduced me to the pleasures of Specialized pedal-assisted bicycles. In a city famous for its hills, I found it impossible to resist such temptation. Ray and I spent two amazing hours together riding up and down hills, he a steady companion at my side showing me not only how to keep a steady course but also encouraging me to shift gears every now and then and, most importantly, to enjoy the ride. I think Ray and I definitely have a future together…