My partner, Liz, and I are about to enter into one of the riskiest, most unnerving ventures any adult can face. Not marriage, that was a piece of cake. What we plan to do is °… I’m hesitant to share this, because I know some readers will have very strong reactions and I’ll get a raft of emails asking, “Are you insane?” Again. Well, call me crazy, but we’re going to … buy a used car.
I know, I know. Buying a used car is like hitting on a complete stranger. You don’t know what you might be picking up.
But after weighing the options, Liz and I decided buying a used car is the way to go. We just can’t manage the alternative. Which would be “walking.”
We’re buying a preowned Smart car. Liz and I can both take public transit to work, so we figure we really only need half a car. A Smart car seems like the answer.
Our friends have concerns about Smart cars.
“What if you’re barrelling down the highway and get hit head on by an 18-wheeler?” My answer, “At that point, I don’t think what car I’m driving will be an issue.”
Another complained, “With a car like that you’re totally trading practicality for trendiness.” This from a woman wearing suede boots.
Someone else warned, “You won’t be able to drive a whole pack of kids around.” Darn.
As with most large purchases, I’m convinced the key to buying a used car is research. Try to do as little as possible.
Just as reading the Internet always convinces me the tickle in my throat is anything from Cholera to a resurgence of the Black Death, reading research on used cars left me feeling I have a better chance of surviving complete disaster by going tap dancing in a mine field. The used car sites say things like, “If you take time to have the vehicle thoroughly checked, top to bottom, by a licensed mechanic, you’ll have nothing to worry about. Except, of course, for the problems that can’t be detected.”
In the end, I’d say buying a used car is like any other risk. There are perils. Possibly hidden surprises. Definitely no guarantees. But there’s a term for this kind of situation. Life.
So, Liz and I will buy a used car. And take our shiny new hopes out for a spin.
Anne Hines is an author and humour writer. She has written three novels and one
collection of nonfiction humour.