The Neurotic Guide to Car Buying
First of all, break it up into 8 simple steps.
After three years of being without a vehicle (two of which were in New York City; so they don't fully count) I broke down and rejoined the driving masses. In the past, the several cars I've owned were old, used, and bought in cash from their owners. In 2016, I decided, it was time to buy a relatively new vehicle from a dealer. Here’s how it is done:
Step 1: Convince yourself that you should buy an expensive machine to transport yourself in style and comfort. You are taking a stand against the miserable array of shittiness that comes with driving a lemon-y piece of shit. Remember the times the defroster wouldn’t work. You couldn’t see out the goddamn windshield. Or when the gas gauge was broken for a year. You had to estimate when to fill up based on the mileage of your vehicle. Count all the endless days you sat in traffic without air conditioning, sweating buckets and cursing your lot in life, while it was 100 degrees outside. Now you have convinced yourself you deserve this. Try not to forget this conviction later when you’re freaking out about parting ways with your hard-earned money.
Step 2: Spend an awfully long time flipping through an assault of pixels searching for deals online. Realize you’re not even sure what kind of car you want, let alone what make and model. You need to pare this down. Search more accurately. Notice every car on the road tempting you. You may ask yourself: “Can I be a Range Rover person?” After much deliberation, when the bright blaze of your laptop screen starts burning your eyes, and the barrage of unaffordable prices have initiated a grand migraine, decide you have to look at some cars in person.
Try to convince yourself that finance men do this every day and aren’t judging your college debt. Try really hard.
Step 3: Walk around the dealership. Come to the conclusion that you know absolutely nothing. Pretend to know something. Hope that you can trust this person whose job is to sell you an expensive thing. Flip specification pamphlets. Wonder what on earth humans have been doing for so many years other than cramming shit into vehicles like heated mirrors and ergonomic headrests. Worry that the more cars you look at, the more they all seem the same.
Step 4: After a sleepless night, pick your vehicle. Tell yourself that at the end of the day, so long as it’s a good, working car that’s not too pricey, that’s all that matters. All the other shit is fluff. Which it is. While considering this, realize that fluff is good. Add a sunroof.
Step 5: Sweat profusely and tap your leg as the finance man runs your credit and tries to lock a good APR for you. Shamefully go over every stupid financial mistake you’ve made since being an adult. Pray for a time machine. Feel embarrassed. Try to convince yourself that finance men do this every day and aren’t judging your college debt. Try really hard.
Step 6: Sign the litany of paperwork and remember to breathe. There is a lot of paperwork to sign. You wouldn’t want to pass out from lack of oxygen before signing all the papers. Do not imagine the money you have saved up pouring out of your bank account like a fire hydrant wrenched open in the summer. This is what money is for.
Pull over. Open the sunroof. Pack a bowl and recline the seat.
Step 7: Drive off the lot in a near state of shock. Absorb the feelings of relief and anxiety simultaneously. A mile down the road, let it really sink in. Whisper to yourself with glee, “This is my car. Mine.” Shake the feeling that you’ve made a big dumb mistake.
Step 8: Pull over. Open the sunroof. Pack a bowl and recline the seat. Smile at the fact that not only do you now have a reliable form of transportation, you can also indulge in one of the best American pastimes of all: Smoking weed in your car while listening to music.