The strangest thing happened today. I'm not sure what to make of it. I don't know if I should take it as a sign of impending doom, or that there's always hope, or that maybe life can turn on a dime to a positive direction, or what.
Plan... I don't even know what letter I'm at now. Plan Double-Z (just to be safe) fell through yesterday--that's Plan Double-Z in my list of plans to get wheels. I took thirty seconds or so to be morbidly depressed about it, then decided to just do something insane.
Often I get mailings from credit card companies, car companies, loan companies, and other sorts of send-mailings-out sorts of companies, and they serve the purpose of providing clutter until such a time I think to throw them away. A day or two ago I got one from this car dealership. Actually, I got two from two car dealerships. One looked slightly more reputable than the other, but my thought was that even if either was reputable, I'm sure my credit is so awful that I'd never have a chance.
Well, after my thirty seconds of morbid depression, I got giddy and decided as joke I'd take the slightly-more-reputable-looking flier and see about getting a car. They apparently have lots of older-model cars (so sayeth the flier) that they are making incredible deals and giving credit to any yahoo that shows up--or they're pre-approving any yahoo, but that doesn't mean that yahoo's credit has been accept (or so sayeth the fine print).
So, I vowed to go to the car loan website the following morning (that would be this morning) and enter in all the information. It would at least kill some time, as I've reached the end of Season Five of the X-Files, and don't have the movie, and thus am in a holding pattern where that show is concerned.
I filled out this relatively simple online form, and then went on to check school e-mail and otherwise kill time online.
At 1:30, my home phone rang a few times. My caller ID downstairs doesn't work (or the phone that had caller ID doesn't, rather) and I didn't want to run upstairs to see who it was. I figured if it was important, they'd leave a message.
The phone rang again just a few minutes later, so curiosity got the best of me and I went upstairs to see what was going on.
As it turned out, it was just coincidence. The first phone call had nothing to do with the second. The second phone call was someone from the dealership saying he needed to talk with me.
I called the place and asked for the guy, and he was all like, "I think we can work something out for you."
Seriously, I said, "Seriously?" And imagine that in the most disbelieving tone I can muster.
So he walked me through what I needed to bring to the dealership (after much gnashing of teeth on my part because I couldn't find anything to write with), and I scheduled an appointment for 6:30.
I called Ruth, told her I think something is rotten in Denmark, but what the heck, I'll try anyway, and asked if she could give me a ride.
I made some phone calls and got the papers he needed to see all in one folder, showered and made myself all purty-full, and had time to read a chunk of the book I'm currently reading.
We got to the dealership, and I was shocked at how legitimate the place looked. I bought my truck from a less-than-legit place several years ago, and I expected this place to look like that. Ruth didn't admit to it until later, but she was wondering where the cars I could get were hiding. I was wondering the same thing.
Ruth went off to run some errands, and I went into the office, where I figured the other shoe would drop any time.
There were about five times I thought for sure the other shoe was on the way to the floor, but it didn't happen.
The sales guy asked me what I'd like to put down, and what I'd like my payments to be. I shared, and I kept trying to emphasize "I need something that works, and won't die for at least a year."
I realize I must have sounded pathetic, but this is where I am right now. Surely he can deal.
So he goes to get an idea of what fits into my budget. I expect it to be something older, maybe a little on the worn side, but mostly running well (as he'd gone into a lengthy spiel about how they do this x-number of checks system on every car, blahdy blahdy blah).
Then he's gone for a way long time (and I keep thinking "ah, he's off getting hit in the head by that other shoe, which he will then bring in to me so he can drop it on the floor in front of me").
Finally, I see him. He's in the parking lot in what appears to be a not-old-at-all and really nice car.
So I start re-evaluating this shoe thing. Obviously this shoe is gonna come from somewhere I hadn't anticipated. Perhaps in the form of a too-high monthly payment. Or, at the last minute, some manager comes up and says, "Oh, you're THAT Mark Riggs; please leave now" (and that thought stuck with me for most of the rest of my time at the dealership).
So, salesman guy (I have his card somewhere, but I don't know where right now, and plus I'm in a rush) comes back, has me come outside, and shows me the car.
I don't know what he expected me to do. I'm wearing my most-guarded of my guarded looks, as I know there is a shoe full of potential energy just hanging in the air somewhere.
I looked at it, said "hmm" and "mm-hmm" and "oh" and generally said I thought it was a fine vehicle.
Dig this: 2006. That's the year of the car.
So, he's pausing for me to say something or just take it all in, and I'm thinking he's getting ready to say, "Well, it was totalled three times, and it will need to have the EVERYTHING replaced over the course of the next year," or maybe, "Well, this is what I'd LIKE to get you in, but the payments will be $500+ dollars," or perhaps even, "I just wanted to show you what you can get once you finally build up some credit!" Or, again, maybe the manager would show up and announce they figured out which Mark Riggs I am.
None of those things happened, and he seemed to be expecting some sort of sentence from me, so I lamely examined the sun visor on the driver side, made some comment about it seeming to be a great car, and asked if that slot that was obviously for Compact Discs meant it also had a CD player (he hadn't mentioned that when he mentioned AM/FM radio... not that it would have been a deal breaker, I just felt he expected some comments and/or questions from me).
That whole car bit was very awkward, now that I think about it. I didn't know what were were supposed to do next, and he didn't seem to be ready to move me in the direction of the next step, and even once we were out of the car, it was odd.
Maybe he thought at my age this should be old hat to me. And maybe it should. Whatever.
So, next we go into the main building, where his office is (I'd gone into the Used Cars building originally, because: duh), and we go to someone else's office, because his was being used. He walks me through papers, and says somebody was going to talk to me about the financing, but that they have found someone who would provide the loan (which made my eyes dart around, looking for that shoe again) and they're seeing if they can get others to provide better loans. And on and on and on.
Then he takes me back to the "lounge". The wait here seemed the longest, probably because I'd seen a nice car and hoped I could be driving it one day, whereas before I'd seen the car, the shoe dropping didn't mean that much different than every day life.
Ruth sent me a text to make sure I was alive, so I called her and told her what was going on. I'd already called her from the other building, but at that time I hadn't seen the car. I don't know that I said much to Ruth about the car, as I felt that might encourage the shoe to go from having potential energy to kinetic.
Salesman guy comes back to ask me some questions about my other car, and still no shoe.
He leaves. I'm too tense to even get up to get the remote and turn away from the quasi-baseball that was on the television. I did turn the pages of some entertainment magazine repeatedly.
Salesman guy came back and said finance guy was ready to see me. This was it. The last chance for someone to say, "We didn't realize you were THAT Mark Riggs; get out."
No such thing. The car payments were slightly higher than I'd like, so there was my shoe, but it was more of a kid size 3 than the combat boot I was expecting.
So tomorrow I'll be picking up a 2006 Chevy Cobalt. There's a pic over on STILL: Life if you want to see it.
I went out to Ruth's car, got in, and pointed out the car I'm getting. I could tell she was surprised, as well.
The ride home I put my hands on my cheeks and said, "Seriously, I got that car" about eight times. I got my phone out and couldn't figure out who to tell.
So I have a nice newer car. Newer than I've ever had. Tricia says I must put it in writing here that I will take great care of it. Jhoneric said something similar, but with cuss words. And so it shall be.
Now I can get back to work. Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, I'll make it to my September 28th payday in decent shape, and all will be... well, if not well, it will be more tolerable than usual.