Buyer Beware

April 26, 2012

Oh man. I am a danger to myself, and now to Sarah. It is a terrible feeling to not trust myself.
Lets sum it all up. I have been in a tailspin since last Tuesday when I was told the Spring 2012 line could not be sewn in the Bay Area. The two companies I work with had recently taken on large orders and I was out of luck. After calling a dozen back-up production houses and finding that everyone was booked, I made plans to leave immediately for Seattle. But the car was still in the shop and so I waited a couple more days… anxious, impatient, my mind already in the Northwest. And then the car died the night before my scheduled departure. The cartoon version would show a frazzled Cathy-like lady standing on five huge boxes, four black garbage bags, three bikes, a trailer, a fireplace screen, two boxes of dishes, a clothing rack, two paintings, three backpacks, and a delicate older dog with the line… “Can I get a lift?”
From the second I heard about the car dying until this morning, I have been completely out of touch with my good, smart, calm self. I spent multiple days hounding Craigslist like an obsessed stalker. I would have bought a car, blindly, wildly, if only there had been one to buy. I would have done anything to get back to Portland on Sunday. Sunday came and went, I had to cancel my appointment with the production house scheduled for Monday. I cried and felt more and more desperate.
I got a ride-share from a young Russian man. He drove a 1986 4Runner that he worked on himself. It was spray-painted black on the inside with metal floors and tattered bucket seats. It smelled of oil and was littered with evidence of a life lived on the road- empty cans, bowls crusted with the remains of a meal. A healthy meal, no doubt. He ate well. We drove with the windows down and the warm spring air whipping through the cab. We drove through the night and got stoned and listened to Jimi Hendrix. We drove and drove and landed in Portland where the grass had grown to be two feet tall in my front yard.
My new plan was for Sarah and I to jointly buy a truck and a car on the day I got back. I needed to drive to Seattle the following day and so the transaction would have to be swift and decisive, which are adjectives that find value only when attached to intelligent, measured, and sane.
My rideshare dropped me off at 2am. At noon the next day Sarah and I met Jessica in the parking lot of Target. With blurry, muddled thinking I found her and her black Subaru Forester perfectly charming. We drove around and chatted and everything seemed fine. Throwing caution to the wind, we bought the car. The car from hell. On the drive home it began to smell. Dimitri, my trusted mechanic, popped the hood and didn’t look happy. After lifting the car and taking a look around he was downright blow away. Never, in his life, had he seen anything so bad. It looked like it was a hundred years old- deep bubbly rust covered by black spraypaint, collapsed front end, damaged radiator with leak, brake rust so substantial it was preventing the car from stopping at all… the list went ON AND ON. And on. And on.
I could not bring the phone to my face fast enough. I left a blistering, shaky voiced message sending her to hell and was astounded when she called back. It seems she was just as innocent as we were and her husband was scamming us all. By the grace of god, and a delicate combo of begging and shaming, she agreed to give back the money! Unless her husband objected and he was due home any minute. … I drove like a drunk teenager to make it there before he did. No luck. He arrived and yelled at her and caused her to cry and feel scared and confused. Again, the soft voice, the rational laying out of information… why would I make this up, the car really isn’t in perfect shape like your husband still claims, no my mechanic is not lying, it is only right, only fair for you to return the money and take back the car, husband be dammed. And she did. She did the right thing. And I was returned the money and in the process, my sanity. Exhausted and drained, I no longer have the energy to be so dumb. And so I will rent a car and take it easy, I will drive slowly and carefully to Seattle and Bellingham tomorrow and I will not make any big decisions until I recognize myself once again.

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6 Responses to “Buyer Beware”

  1. amanda said

    Kevin!? Damn him!

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