19 August 2016


It turns out to be ridiculously, impossibly hard to buy a car. I know what car I want. I know how much I'm wiling to pay for it. And you know what I get, after extensive research, when I tell a car dealership that? 

Last night, one of them told me that I am wrong. 

Let that sink in for a moment: this guy claims to want my business. He tells me that he can get the car I want. He called me, so he apparently does want my business. And when I told him, based on my research, that one aspect of his pricing (a delivery charge) was more than I wanted to spend, he didn't say, "Let me see what I can do," he said, "No, you are wrong." 

Then he proceeded to mansplain to me 1. why buying a used car is a bad idea (he also sells used cars), 2. why Mazdas are just as good as Hondas and Toyotas (which is nonsense and unnecessary, since I told him I wanted to buy a Mazda for the manual transmission EVEN THOUGH they aren't as reliable as Hondas and Toyotas), 3. why he doesn't pressure people into anything because he wants people to send other people to buy from him (while continually telling me that I had no choice but to pay his delivery fee or end up with a lemon). 

I really don't understand how car dealerships do any business. So far, I have had the following experiences:

  1. A car dealership that won't come down to reasonable prices. Should a used car really cost the same as a new one?
  2. A car dealership that added all sorts of hidden costs and turned out not to have the title anyway. They also wanted me to sign a paper with my offer on it. I get the psychology that they think it makes me more committed, but it just made me irritated that they thought I was that easily manipulated.
  3. A car dealership that claims to be able to get the car I want, but insists on telling me that I am wrong about everything. This bullying does not make for a happy customer. 
  4. A car dealership that does not, despite confirming in writing, actually have the car I asked to see. They tried to sell me on some other cars until I flatly told them not to contact me again unless they had a manual transmission in stock. 
How is it that every other business at least attempts to offer what people want at a price people will pay except this one? 

If I were a man, I would have my car by now. 

14 August 2016


I walked down to the waterfront tonight. I haven't done that in a while. Last year, when I was unemployed, I walked down there often, because I had to get out of the house somehow, and I didn't have money to spend. I watched a lot of sunsets over downtown.

As I walked along the esplanade tonight, there was a cloud of smoke in front of me. It didn't smell like anything by the time I got up there, though, so I didn't think much of it. I assumed someone had done something involving smoke and then walked away.

Soon thereafter, I stopped at a railing at a good turnaround point. There was a firefighter peering over the railing (just in a t-shirt, not in gear), and I realized that he was looking for the source of the smoke. 

I started walking back, partly following the guy out of curiosity. The smoke was more clearly a column now. Looking over the edge when I got there, I saw something smoldering in the brush. The firefighter was climbing down around the end of the railing. 

Another firefighter passed me as I turned to go. "Garbage," he said. "Smells bad, doesn't it?"

I smiled at him, but what I was really thinking is how familiar it smelled. We burned our garbage in Liberia and in Rwanda. I know that smell, and it feels like home.

(Side story that I may have told before: I was at a music festival during my college years. It was very hot, and things sometimes got thrown on the ground and trampled. At one point I sniffed the air and said, "Ah. Smells like rotting garbage in the hot sun. I remember that smell from Liberia. It smells like home." One of the people I was with said, "Don't you think it's a little messed up if a smell like that makes you feel at home?" But I do not, in fact, think that is messed up. I never have.)

Walking back along the water, I thought of a conversation I had with my mom last summer, while I was unemployed, about how things could change at any time but it's really hard to enjoy all the free time of unemployment when you don't know when it will change. 

But change it did, and it's all so different now. I have a job that I love, I just agreed to buy a car that won't make me feel like a bug about to get squashed on the highway, and a cute boy brings me turron from Spain. If I could tell the me of a year ago how it turned out, she never would have believed it could be this good.