I've had a couple of oddball stories winding around my way. So, we're going to have a new installment today of mini-stories. I won't say short-stories because technically they're not even that long.
Starting last Sunday I went to go hang with my grandpa. We just recently buried my grandma's ashes and to tell you the truth, I'm not sure how well he is doing. Hell, I'm not sure how well *I'd* be doing under the circumstances. So, I show up and I bring him homemade pot pie. The pie went down well enough and we sat, watching the classical music ARTs channel while I put photos away that had been piling up. About halfway through putting the photos away--mostly of people I don't know--one fell out onto my lap. It was a very nice, beautifully pristine black & white photo. I recognized not one but two faces, both very young--painfully young, smiling sweet. It was my grandma and grandpa's wedding photo, decked out in white--both of them, my grandpa had a white suit on--and my grandma was wearing a classic 40's pinched shoulder dress. I looked up and there he was, smiling in the same way, but far more wrinkles. He was happily telling me about the Prune Tree Farm in California his father's father had owned.
For the past week or two I've been car shopping. Usually, when I involve myself in any sort of Big Buy or Life Altering Moment I tend to curl up inside into a little ball of nerves. And not unlike the process of a star turning into a black hole (bear with me, I've been watching How the Universe Works for the past four days straight) the pressure of my nerves has actually caused me to draw further within myself. I've become quiet. I've become taciturn (at least, I think so).
My mother, who hasn't bought a car in 22 years, very kindly took on the task of being my wing woman throughout the car-appraising process. That translated into Mom being the Good Cop and Beryl being the Bad Cop.
Good Cop Mom: "It's got a sunroof?"
Bad Cop Beryl: "How many miles does it have? Show me the Carfax. What do you mean you don't allow a mechanic to check it out first?"
Good Cop Mom: "Beryl, it's got a sunroof--AND heated seats!"
It was a confusing time for all.
One particular car caught my eye. It was a 2003 BMW 3 Series sedan, steel blue. All you need to know from those words is that it's blue with four doors and isn't ridiculously old. The Toyota Camry you see everywhere? Same year. Same color. It caught my eye because it was relatively young and in my price range and also holy mother goose, Batman, it was a Friggin' BMW. Plus, I have been worried I'd end up with a Lesbian Car, aka a Subaru Outback (Sorry, Alex) or a Hipster Car, aka a 1991 Volvo sedan (no, Mom, this doesn't make you a Hipster). I've wanted an Outback for a while but the reality is I don't even fake going camping nearly as much as that kind of car implies. Plus, I am not fashionable enough to pull off the hipster ironically retro look.
So, I walk over to the dealer, who looks like he just walked off the set of a bad mafia movie, and say to him, "I'm interested in the BMW over there--the blue one. Can I do a test drive?" I take note of my surroundings as I say this: The cars around me look nice enough. But, the dealers have also got a mobile home for temporary office space, which to me signifies less that they're being low-budget and more that they have a get away car for an office.
He disappears into the Office On Wheels and comes back, shoving his hand through the air a couple times at his 20-something mechanic to go pull it out for me. He then turns to me and pushes the key in my direction:
"You drive car now."
I take a moment to let that sink in. I want to make a comment about Mother Russia, but I found it inopportune as this man was likely to decide the price on the car. I did not want the conversation to go as such:
Beryl: "Is that price fixed or can it change?"
Surly Dealer: "No, it's not fixed. For you? 5,000 more."
I ended up not only test driving, but re-test driving it, bringing my father along to drive it, bringing a mechanic to test drive, and then buying it.
So. I have a car now. And yes, it's a Friggin' BMW. As Mother Good Cop says, "And Beryl, let me tell you, this is no Lesbian car."