I don’t know about you, but in my case, buying a car has never been a good experience, or a short one at that. Usually the better part of a lovely weekend day is spent sitting at a table running the numbers with an all to eager salesman.
And if I should try to walk away, he reels me back in like a fish on a hook. And just like that fish, I always feel like I’m floundering around without enough air while making what the robotic-like salesman calls the “deal of a life-time.”
Throughout my life, I’ve been through many such ordeals and nothing has changed. The only thing different is the actual car I’ve purchased. And in this respect there is a world of difference between my very first car, way back in the day, and the one my husband and I bought over the weekend.
My first car, a 1960 Falcon, came with a key, windows that rolled up manually, an AM radio with six buttons for setting the stations, windshield wipers and of course tires, an ashtray and lighter. Back then “luxury” meant four doors, electric windows, an electric antenna and sometimes an electric motor for convertibles. Oh, and tinted windows and leather seats.
It cost me $250.00 hard earned dollars. And boy was I “singin’ the blues” that night. Was it the right car? Should I have bought it? Was it worth the money?
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Today, it’s a whole different ballgame. Gone are the ashtrays and lighters and in their place are a slew of features right out of a science fiction novel.
Digital readouts tell you what song is playing on the stereo, CD or iPod. GPS systems guide you out of your driveway and to your destination. There is Driver Memory. And Smart Cruise Control.
Some cars even come with discs, instead of keys. This disc can be programmed to unlock the car, roll down the windows, open the convertible top, unfold the side view mirrors. turn on the iPod, and adjust and warm the seats. All before you’re within a foot of your vehicle.
And then of course, there is the Bluetooth, giving you the ability to use your cell phone with voice activation. No hands. No dialing. No problem.
For me, learning the Bluetooth functions are more complicated than learning to drive! I sat in the driveway for hours programming my contacts into the database. Calling one friend after another to see if it worked. Instead of taking my new car for a spin around the neighborhood.
Like in the old days.
It didn’t matter that my little Falcon had manual windows and only two doors. And it didn’t matter that the seats were sticky in the summer and cold in the winter. What mattered were all the hours I spent driving around with my friends creating memories that have lasted forever.
I hope the kids of today are making as many memories in their gadget-filled cars as I did back then.
Who knows? Maybe someday we’ll be dealing with a “real” robot when buying a car. And maybe then it won’t take so long for that “once-in-a-life-time deal.”
Janie Emaus believes that when the world is falling apart, we're just one laugh away from putting it together again. She writes about how life is NOW compared to THEN, with her special blend of funny and sweet. She is the author of the time travel romance, Before the After, and the young adult novel, Mercury in Retro Love. And she has an essay in the Best Selling humor anthology, You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth. She is a staff writer at In The Powder Roomand blogs frequently for The Huffington Post. She is proud to be named a 2013 BlogHer Voice of the Year. To learn more about Janie visit her blog www.theboomerrants.com and her website www.JanieEmaus.com.