Even though I plan to buy the car via Internet or do at least get all the out-the-door quotes via email, get my financing ahead of time and just go in to sign the papers and pick up the key, well, one does have to make sure one is buying the perfect car, right?

I thought I knew just what car I wanted, the Honda Accord Coupe. Then I saw one and it looked SO big that I went back online to look at the dimensions. It would be a foot and a half longer than my current car. Not good for me. I wanted to go smaller not larger. Plus the hood was too long for my preferences. So back to the Honda site online to check the dimensions of the Civic Coupe which turns out to only be a 1/2 inch longer than my current car. Much better. And the nice thing is that since the Civic costs less than the Accord I can upgrade the trim level of the car to the EX with the online navigation system. Yippee!

So after work yesterday I headed over to dealership #1 to make sure that visibility was okay, that I really liked the car up close, and to pick a color. Actually what I wanted to see was the new Atomic Blue. It’s the first year for the color and you just can’t tell online. I didn’t want the blue that looked Navy and I didn’t want a blue that looked purple. Anyway, off to the dealership where I guarded myself against connecting with any salesperson and hoped to vibe “keep away I have cooties” or something so they would leave me alone. Uh huh. Right. The sales guy jumped me as soon as I got out of my car. I waved my hand and shook my head. He kept on coming.

“I’m just looking,” I told him and turned away.

“Let me give you my card,” he said in one of those cajoling voices parents use when they are trying to get you to do something you just don’t want to do.

I walked faster in the opposite direction but being undertall he quickly caught up with and forced the card in my hand. After which I had to shake his hand. Grr.

“I won’t bite,” said the big bad wolf to the little girl. “I just want to talk to you.”

Politely, from behind my frozen smile, I ask him to point me to the Civic coupes. Big mistake. His eyes lit up and I’m sure I heard him cackle as he turned on what he thought was charm.

“Why they’re so new we don’t even have them on the main lot yet. They’re just going to be flying out of here. You better get what you want before it’s gone.”  Standard salesman bullshit and I didn’t have the patience to listen to him. He won’t get a penny of commission from me. I tried willing him to go away but of course he didn’t.

“All the movers and shakers will be driving these babies,” he added.

I so don’t want to do this. I don’t comment. Obviously he didn’t look at the car I drove in, a dirty, faded ’96 Kia. I was dressed in crummy weekend clothes that should have been screaming “I have no money for food and I’m just looking at cars I can’t really afford” which I had hoped would put off salespeople from approaching me. Sigh.

I spied a car, opened the door, and plopped in. He grinned at me through the windshield. The seat was too far back so I reached under to pull it forward and it wouldn’t move. No matter what I did, it wouldn’t budge. Sigh. I got out of the car and he was right there, waiting for me to tell him how wonderful it is.

“The seat’s broken. It won’t move.” The words slipped out before I could stop them and I wanted to kick myself. Never, ever speak to a salesman. It gives them permission to talk back to you. He moved in for the kill. Big bad wolf to the rescue of the poor, defenseless little girl who couldn’t even manage to move the seat forward.

“Let me just take care of that for you.” He sat down, reached under for the bar, and surprise surprise, it still wouldn’t move. I barely contained myself from jumping up and down and telling him “I told you so.”

I wandered off, looking for another Civic and still looking for the Atomic Blue. Alas, he followed me, guided me to another car (not blue) and opened the door with a flourish worthy of a guy wearing a cape and a top hat. He shut the door and I sat in it long enough to be able to tell that I could see out of it and that I’m not sure if the way the seat backs curve will work for me. They’re supposed to “hug” the body which is great if you’ve got a shoulder width of about 12″ which would probably make you a kid too young to drive the car.

I got out. Again he waited for me to say something and I, stupidly asked him if he had any in the Atomic Blue. I just wanted to see the color. That’s all. He walked me right past one on the lot but when I stopped to look he grabbed my arm and said, “You don’t want to look at that one sitting outside. You need to see the one in the showroom.” He was wrong. I wanted to see what one sitting out in the sun and the dirt and the real world looked liked. I didn’t care what it looked like on the showroom because it would never look like that at home. Heck, this car won’t even be able to sleep in the garage. I am too nice because I went ahead and went to the showroom and sat for a minute in the car while he droned on about how THIS car had the fancy stuff in it, etc, etc. Yawn. I knew all that. I just wanted to see the frigging color.

My cell phone rang and I finally escaped to my car, driving off as fast as I dared. Buying a new car should be fun, right? It’s not, not for me. I don’t do change well and it’s a ton of money that you don’t want to make a mistake spending on the wrong thing. And then of course there’s still the internal struggle I’m having about whether or not I should have the new car for a variety of reasons, most of which are based on my being a very insecure person. I headed toward home still not sure about the blue and that really bugged me. I would have picked white but the white has this tan interior that just doesn’t work for me. Okay, it’s ugly. Really ugly. And Honda offers no other interior colors on the white which seems so stupid. The blue comes with gray which is nice. I like the red (black interior) but the red won’t even start to ship until January and I imagine it will be a popular color and hard to dicker on the price. So I’m still thinking blue which meant I really needed to look at it again without some sales guy breathing down my neck. A few blocks from home I said screw it and turned the car in the opposite direction to drive across town and tried to prepare myself for the pain of visiting another car dealership.

Car dealership #2 was about 4 times the size of dealership #1 so I was hopeful I could wander around alone. Which I could have if I could only find the new cars. The two front lots were filled with “certified pre-owned” cars and I couldn’t find a new one to save my life. I actually had to ask someone to show me to the “hidden” lot where they kept the new cars. I picked a salesman who was eating his lunch, told him I just wanted to see the blue, I didn’t care what model because I wasn’t buying anything. Points to this guy, he actually listened to me, showed me to the lot and then (gasp) LEFT ME ALONE.

The Atomic Blue is different. Good different or bad different? Good, I think. It’s not navy and it doesn’t have that purple tint to it. I wish the car had a touch of white on it because that would really set it off but I think the blue will be good. I spent some time just sitting in a car trying to imagine myself driving it. Like I said, I don’t do change well and this will be a big change. It’s very cozy. Not a car for claustrophobics. And all the controls on the dash and the navigation system make it look a bit like a spaceship. But I think this is the car. Now time to get fresh quotes from everyone for a purchase to be made in the next few weeks.

An aside, if you think I’m extreme about car dealerships I have to tell you that I was practically born in a car dealership parking lot. My mom was the office manager for a huge dealership that carried 7 different lines of cars. I grew up playing on the new car showroom, had my pictures with Santa Claus taken in front of the Christmas tree in the new car showroom, earned extra money in Junior High stuffing billing statements into envelopes, babysat for salesman’s kids, wrote up warranty repair tickets and met my first husband working side-by-side taking inventory in the parts room. It’s a world with laws unto itself.

In my writing life I printed and folded 250 brochures. I have another 750 to go plus 800 Traveling Oliver flyers to print and then I’ll be ready to do my big mailing. And speaking of Oliver, check out his blog,  for info about a peanut butter sandwich contest for kids.

I had a dream about Frankie last night, several times, and every dream he told me he was hungry. Sigh.