Crazy how much you can feel like an insecure teenager at times even when you are in your 50s. I was absolutely cuckoo-pants anxious about what I wanted to do for my hubby for our 25th wedding anniversary (which was yesterday- woo hoo to us.) I thought, even though we agreed on no gifts and just a nice dinner out, I would surprise him with a new car.

O.K. so I knew he wouldn’t be totally surprised as we had discussed over the past year how absolutely horrifically terrible traffic had become in the Bay Area of California where we reside. Rush hour around these parts can transform a gentle mother-of-the-earth granola eating, Birkenstock wearing, “co-exist” bumper sticker-using grandmother into a rabid, foaming at the mouth, middle finger waving, Prius swerving maniac. But enough about me — just kidding, I’m not a grandmother or Prius driver… Anyhoo…

So where we live there are carpool lanes that although clogged at times still help shorten the commute to work. In order to use the lanes you need to have at least two people in your vehicle, or drive an electric car or a motorcycle. My hubby had recently been dreaming of his glory days growing up in the corn-fields of Indiana driving dirt bikes and “crotch rocket” motorcycles. Oh, the exhilaration, the freedom…

In his early thirties he rode a shiny red Suzuki Katana. That was fun. Our boys were young then and I remember when we had a Power Ranger themed birthday party. When he rode up on his red motorcycle with his leather jacket and helmet a whole gaggle of  little boys shrieked with glee. The Red Power Ranger was doing donuts in our lawn!

But he sold his beloved motorcycle not long after. He had one too many close calls on the highway with distracted or bad drivers that just don’t see a motorcyclist. And now that he was a father to two young boys, the risk wasn’t worth it. So now back to my anniversary story…

There was no way I was agreeing to buy a new motorcycle, even if it would cut his one hour commute to drive 17 miles by half the time. I felt strongly that he needed an electric car instead. So I knew what I had to do. I had to go alone on this one and get him one.

In all my years, I had never done this by myself. My first car that came with my first job out of college was purchased in the company of my wonderful brother-in-law, a confident wheeler dealer. I basically just sat and nodded mutely during the whole negotiation. The other car purchases have always been along-side my “knows everything about cars” hubby. We endured the high-pressured sales folks together, pretty much always declining the extra this and that they try to force on you once they’ve got you cornered in a small office with scary paperwork filled with numbers and terms that are always so foreign to me. I have always felt a little sick to my stomach during these car buying hours. Yes, for us we were always stuck in the bowels of the car dealership for hours, coming out of the darkness like moles into the light once the mind-numbing process was completed. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better than starting anew with a shiny new car. But the hassle of the purchase process has always left a stain.

But now I had a game plan for going solo. I had done the research and knew the car I wanted and the price I was willing to pay. Of course the dealer had a sale that was going to be gone tomorrow so I had to do it now. And this is what happened:

I put on a comfortable cozy outfit – almost pajama like – as I knew I would be there for hours and hours. I put on make-up so that I felt good about my appearance. Something about mascara and a tinge of lipstick puts a spring in my step. I had my notes in hand about what was promised in the advertisement, on the phone and the other questions I wanted answered. I had my lucky piece of sea glass in my pocket. I was ready to get this done!

So off I drove, pretty confident in my plan and only a wee bit nervous. But as I approached the dealer I began to worry. What if I arrive and I get leapt upon by aggressive sales people like a pack of hungry hyenas. Will they sense my uncertainty? Will they smell the fear? Will they smile hideous, creepy smiles of smugness – sensing this one doesn’t know what she is doing? We can take her for thousands of dollars; maybe even make her throw in her lucky piece of rare blue sea glass to seal the deal. Gulp.

“What am I? Thirteen?” I gave myself a pep talk. “You are a strong, independent, smart woman with a plan for Pete’s sake!” And then I did what I always do when I need a pick-me-up to change my mood. I play some good ole 70’s music…The kind you know the words to, with a melody and good rhythm. So after arriving at the dealer, I parked in the front and sat in my car for a while. In no rush, just listening to music and letting the sounds take over my brain and bring me to a state of readiness to tackle this feat.

I’m singing:

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with ME!  ditty ditty dee ditty ditty dee…

I was still humming as I hopped out of my car and headed into the dealer.  And to my surprise what seemed to me as a colossal undertaking to purchase a car by myself was in fact not unlike going to the dentist for a cavity filling.  You know parts will be unpleasant, but it is something you get through for the reward at the end.  The salesperson was friendly, competent – a normal Joe. He delivered what he promised on the phone and went an extra mile by driving the car home for me so that it could be parked in the driveway upon my hubby’s return from work at the end of the day.

And although it did take hours between the test drive and the paperwork,  in the scheme of things it was pretty painless.  I liked that folks were nice to me –respectful of someone who didn’t know much about electric cars and had many questions.  Although wine, cheese and crackers would have been appreciated, I was offered non-alcoholic beverages and healthy fig bars and fruit. After discussing the intricacies of the deal when I was asked if it was a go, I said I needed a sign.  The sales guy just smiled and said “take your time”…He left me to mull over the decision. As I scanned the room and through the window and the floor, what should arise but a sign for sure.  The music over the radio…

Low  rider  don’t use no gas now
The low rider don’t drive too fast

So it was a done deal. A deal where I was able to pull up my “big girl pants” and avert  a hyena pack attack and any insurmountable issues during the signing of the paperwork.  I was able to accomplish buying a car by myself, with my savings account and lucky sea glass piece intact.

I’m not gonna lie. It feels good to overcome a fear. And there are definitely benefits of being a grown-up and this was one of the times. Because this whole scenario was a blinking reminder to myself that I can do what I set out to do and damn well at that. 🙂

Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip and see
Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip with me…

 

 

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