News Flash: Middle Aged Woman Buys First Car!

My Mother In Law LOVES cars. Not something we have in common.

My Mother In Law LOVES cars. Not something we have in common.

I’ve never seen a porno, and I’ve never bought a car.

Now, I’ve got to do one of those.  Guess which?

The car!  Gee, what did you think?

If you don’t live in NYC, which I have for my entire adult life, the fact that I’ve never bought a car will be the more surprising of those two.

Actually, in NYC, it’s not that weird.  Only 23% of people who live in Manhattan own a car.  And I’m one of them.  It’s just that it’s a 15 year old station wagon that I inherited from my parents when my kids were born.  It was time for them to get a new one, I had just had twins and needed a wagon more than they did, so I got lucky — very, very lucky – and “bought” their car from them for $1 – just to transfer the title.

Now, lo these many years later, our car is on its last legs, and I’m going to have to be a real, honest to goodness forty something grown up and go out and get my own!

I’m scared.

First, there’s the fact that I know NOTHING about cars.  If I walk into a dealership and they start talking v6 engines, I’ll think of V8 juice, mention the association, and reveal myself as the cretinous car-fool I am. Sadly, my husband is equally clueless in the car department, as a lifelong NYC dweller who hasn’t bought a car in more than 30 years.

Thank goodness for the internet, where I’ve learned LOTS about buying cars.  Like from this article about Ten Things NOT to Say when Buying a Car.   Or the myriad tips on She Buys Cars.  But the fact remains, that when someone starts talking about Chariots and Horsepower, I think Charleton Heston and Ben Hur.

I know.

Then, in addition to my general lack of knowledge, there’s my overall indifference.  I don’t know about cars because I don’t CARE about cars. If a car can get me from one place to another, if it has room for my stuff, and a big enough back seat for my two teenagers…I’m good.  I like a little interior luxury, sure.  Who doesn’t?  And I don’t want the car to be fuchsia, or lime green.  But basically. I  don’t care, or care to know, the particulars.

This is not a good thing when on the verge of spending five digits on an automobile.

My indifference also stems from the fact that owning a car in NYC is a serious, serious, luxury.  If you garage your car, you spend as much as some people spend on rent in other cities.  If you don’t, you spend your life avoiding tickets, and romancing the alternate side of the street parking rules.

Having a car in NYC is rough no matter how you slice (or park) it.

We use our car a lot.  We go visit my husband’s parents in NJ.  We share a weekend house with my cousins and drive up there when it’s ours. We carpool kids to soccer games. (yes, even in Manhattan, we have soccer moms), I use the car for work – to visit clients in NJ, or haul around swag for events.  I make Costco runs, and visit my 87 year old aunt in the ‘burbs.  Drive my son to Queens for tennis lessons, or back to the ‘burbs to watch him play a match. Could I do without a car?  Sure.  That’s what ZipCars are for. Do I want to, after 14 years of having a car?  No.

I do what I can: I park in a garage 15 blocks away from my apartment, because it’s 40% cheaper than parking around the corner; I’ve kept my car until it’s on the verge of collapse; I’m fully aware of the fact that it’s ridiculously extravagant to own a car in Manhattan…but that I will anyway.

The question is: what to buy? There aren’t just SUV’s anymore.  There are compact SUVs, and mid-sized SUVs, and Luxury ones, and three row and two row and what the hell is a Crossover anyway? Does anyone drive a minivan anymore?  What about sedans? Only for Grandpas, drug dealers, and low level functionaries, or a viable choice?  Foreign, domestic, two-door four-door, hybrids, electrics, grass fed, cooking oil fueled.  Call me a donut, I’m starting to glaze over.

Maybe I should just buy some duct tape and keep my car together a bit longer.  Or maybe I should do that other thing I’ve never done before, and like everyone else on the internet, watch some porn.

Actually, when I look at it that way….but a new car seems like the better choice.

Car dealers, used car dealers, get ready, I’m coming.  An easy mark is on her way!



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