The smell is faint but familiar, a perfume only a few wear and one whose name I can’t remember.
But she who wore it, her I remember.
It is 102 in the shade and the humidity makes the air feel thick in a way that is better suited for road rage than romance
This is the third dealership of the day and tolerance is a word I have forgotten I know. I am done with the games and only interested in confirming numbers and whether I am willing to live with few models.
“Mr. Wilner, what can I do to earn your business today?”
A Car Is Born
“How long have you been selling cars?”
“About a week?”
“Yeah, I can tell.”
I probably have 25 years on him and there is a part of me that feels badly that tone makes it sound like I caught him beating a one legged man with his own wooden leg.
It’s tempting to tell him that he ought to grab a manager whose butt I can chew on in for sending this yahoo out with no real training or support.
The kid is like an overeager puppy and I’m fed up with being told I need to settle because it is factually incorrect.
Isn’t the the age of information supposed to make this easier? We have access to pricing and the mystery isn’t what it once was.
“Sir, if we go inside I can get your information and look for the car you want.”
I say no and tell him the car and trim level I want to see.
“Show me first and if it looks interesting I’ll come in.”
He tells me to wait a moment and disappears. Another salesman approaches, asks the same question but is able to show me the car immediately.
A test drive leads to a 49 and three quarter minute visit followed by a refusal to buy.
“You asked how you can earn my business and asked me to settle. I am not asking to buy a Rolls-Royce at Honda pricing. You can make your money but I need to feel good about the car I leave with.”
“Mr. Wilner, I am just the sales manager. If you let me speak with the GM I think we can work something out.”
“Ok, I am off to see another dealer. Call me if he approves the numbers.”
The quote from above is playing in my head. I have searched for the author but haven’t been able to locate him/her.
The girl who turns 14 next month thought I was being too silly and gave me instructions.
“Would you like the grumpy old man or the goofy guy to come out?”
She rolls her eyes and I tell her to remember I am her father and not her friend.
“I’ll entertain a bit of back and forth, but no attitude.”
She smiles at me and I know she is going to grab my bicep, hug me and give me the “daddy” look.
Sometimes it works, but not always.
It is a three minute drive to the next dealer. I don’t want to visit this one because their counterpart across town didn’t make things work.
Since I drive one of their cars I expected a better response and opportunity. Instead they wasted my time and tried to mask their shortcoming by pushing a new model I wasn’t interested in.
But I figure this dealer is next to the one I am probably going to get the car from.
I figure it is worth a couple of minutes for my own peace-of-mind. I’ll tell my story and see what they say.
Can’t hurt to check it out and if it doesn’t go well I can walk out.
Echoes Of The Future Ring Forth
The blog has issues.
I need to confirm whether it renders properly on mobile devices and desktop. Need to make sure it is mobile responsive, user friendly and interesting.
Can’t forget interesting because without that you’ll lose all of your readers and it won’t matter whether it is pretty or technically sound.
I have this idea about turning this song into a post, but I can’t quite wrap my arms around it.
Part of me has this feeling that my biggest fan and I discussed this once upon a time. Long ago in a time that never was during a marathon telephone call that felt like it was seconds.
Was it part of a Target parking lot telephone call or am I thinking about something else?
It almost feels like if I focus hard enough I’ll remember but then again, maybe I won’t. Maybe if I squeeze too hard droplets of liquid memory will ooze from between my fingertips.
“Dad, I got a car.”
“Mazel Tov, I am too tired to talk. Had a really bad night, BP is low and I feel like hell.”
“Ok dad, feel better. We’ll talk later.”
Mom says even though my dad’s numbers have improved dramatically he feels like the cancer is fighting back.
She says she doesn’t follow what he is saying, but it makes sense to me.
I can’t say if my understanding is accurate because dad and I haven’t discussed it, but I feel like I get it.
Part of me wonders if my son will just get it too. We’re the last of the Wilner men, at least this particular branch.
It is disconcerting sometimes.
Reminds me of someone who told me that she wouldn’t change her name because her father had no sons and how it felt good to keep the game going.
Or so that is how I remember it, it’s possible that a decades old memory is…flawed.
“Josh, are you happy with it?”
“Yeah dad. I really thought I was going to go a different direction. I really liked the old car and didn’t want to settle for something else unless it was special.
This guy gave me a great deal and I got my car again, except it is new and better than the old version.”
“That is good, use it in good health.”
He sounds like my grandfather and as he hangs up the phone I wonder if I need to get back to LA sooner than I planned.
There are no right or wrong answers.
It is similar to buying the car in the respect that you do your best to make a decision with the information and resources you have.
Sometimes it goes better than expected and sometimes it goes worse.
Except we can’t rebuild dad’s motor, tune him up or replace his brake pads and get a new dad, not with this cancer.
Questions abound but for now all I hear are the words of Whitman and another song.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” ― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass