Monday, August 14, 2006

A New Car!

As I mentioned last week, changes are afoot at Chez Cackowski-Schnell. One change, a rather big one, is that I have a new job. Yay for me. As a rule, I don't talk about employment things here, as I like being gainfully employed and wouldn't want something to be taken the wrong way and I end up out of doors. So, that's pretty much all you're going to get on the subject. Just to cover my ass, everyone I've ever worked for is fucking awesome. Please don't fire me.

When Linda and I moved here to beautiful Georgia one of the trinkets she dangled in front of me was a new car. And not just any car, but a Nissan 350Z. I've been in love with the Z since they redesigned and rereleased it. I downloaded wallpapers for our computer, ordered a free pack of cards from Nissan with various pictures of the Z on them, and generally lusted after the day when I would be able to rocket down the highway, inches above the ground, dangerously close to breaking various laws of both road and physics.

After a year in GA without need of a new roof, new siding, some sort bit of strange reconstructive surgery, or any other unforeseen bit of monetary outlay that can normally place a dent in one's finances, we realized that we had the money to purchase a new car. Oh yeah. So, armed with our package from Fighting Chance, a desire to buy and a need for speed, we commenced a blitzkrieg like attack on the local car dealerships. On Thursday night, our fruits bore labor and I sped home from the dealership in my new, shiny, 240 horsepower...Honda Odyssey.

Insert scratching record sound here.

I know, I know, a Honda Odyssey, a minivan by the way, is about as far from a Nissan 350Z as you can get and still be a form of automotive transportation however, in these situations, I find it best to rely on the joy of mathematics. You see, we all use numbers, some of us daily, and the equation to keep in mind here is 350Z + 2 seats = not enough seating for 2 adults + 2 kids + the family members who insist on coming to visit us. The Odyssey, on the other hand, has seating for roughly 3 dozen people, and something on the order of 195 cupholders. Oh, it also has a DVD player with 9 inch pulldown screen, XM radio and navigation system that can not only get you from home to the nearest Dairy Queen, but let you control the audio system, temperature controls, dvd player and the fucking clock with nothing but your wits and the mellifluous tones of your voice.

Now, buying a minivan made me confront a longstanding belief that I've had, namely that people who own minivans can't drive to save their fucking lives. Maybe because they're so big that I notice them cutting me off more than I would a normal size car. Maybe I was put off by their boxy appearance and couldn't see past the lack of aesthetics. Or maybe, just maybe, most of the people who drive minivans can't drive to save their fucking lives. I'm going with this last one, although notice that this time I added "most" as I am now among their accursed numbers and I know I can drive. I have a license from the state and everything.

As minivans go, it's pretty damn nice. It has some style on the outside, and the interior is pretty spacious and well laid out. I'm not kidding about the cup holders. There's something like 18 of them, which seems a bit excessive for a vehicle that can carry, at most, 8 people, and that's if most of them have some sort of eating disorder. Why you need each person riding in your vehicle to be able to have not just one, but a variety of beverages at their fingertips eludes me, but I'm happy to have the option.

The navigation system works well as a means of getting you from point A to point B unscathed, but not as well at directing you towards the nearest restaurant, home improvement store, or marina, as it seems to not be completely up to date as to the fine dining we have here in the soon-to-be town of Milton. When sitting in the parking lot of Lowe's Home Improvement store, the "home improvement" part being the most important, and asking the navigation system to find you the nearest home improvement store, it wants to send you 6 miles out of your way to Al's Shovel Emporium. Clearly, some updates are in order. Thankfully, I'm well aware of the location of the nearest Wendy's, so I don't need the system to point out those particular landmarks.

XM radio kicks ass, if for nothing but the ability to listen to filthy, filthy comedy as I drive to work. Not sure if I'll keep it after the free three months, as my new job is only 10 minutes from my house, a 75% reduction in commute time, so I'm not sure how much I'll need it. Then again, with everything this van has, we've pretty much taken "need" and thrown it right out the fucking window. Did I mention that there's a camera that shows you what's behind you when you put the van in reverse? See what I mean? Need comes nowhere close to this fucker.

The fax attack method espoused by Mr. Bragg at Fighting Chance is a work of fucking genius. If you are willing to spend $34.95 and maybe 2 hours of time reading the materials, putting together your faxes and sending the faxes off, you will be rewarded not only with a fantastic deal on a car, but with the satisfaction of bringing car salesmen to their knees. I hope that some day, you, dear reader, have the opportunity to feel the joy that comes from hanging up on a car salesman after you all but point out that his spurious line of bullshit will do nothing to get you to buy a car from him. It is a moment constructed from sunlight and babies' laughter and it flits aloft on gossamer wings.

When the dust had settled, we ended up paying somewhere between 1400 and 800 under invoice, depending on how much all the aftermarket parts cost the dealer, and not the bullshit invoice price the dealer tells you, but the real invoice price. All of this without having to set foot into the dealership except to test drive and sign the paperwork. Booyah.

Now, the realization that I was going to be minivan owners was not one that was welcomed with open arms however there comes a time in every person's life when they have to take stock in who they are and where they are in their lives. I'm not a cool person. I've never been one and most likely will never be one. Trying to change this by means of a car, even a car as glorious as the 350Z is an exercise in futility. I am reminded of the pig, who, upon donning a summertime frock, finds themeselves still positively porcine. No, me buying a car won't make me cool, so I might as well buy something that's going to be as useful as possible, especially if I'm going to drop as much on it as this thing cost. Besides, all thoughts of cool are put aside when I consider that I can have sex with my wife in the back of the van while "Butch Walker live in Budokan" plays on the DVD player. I'll take that over cool any day.


MQ said...

I had to read this post to my husband because there's a little joke in the military about becoming a Captain and being issued a minivan. Well, we're two years in and no minivan yet. Whew! Maybe we dodged that bullet. We're not quite as mature as you to accept it. We're still driving a Durango...

But I know those minivans can kick ass.

Greg said...

Oh Brandon. Brandon, Brandon. A minivan? You are now officially a soccer mom. Teh tech (XM/GPS) wins you a few points, but the minivan offsets them. If you want to be really cool, you needs to drive a Jetta. ;-)

Bones said...

I came so close to buying a minivan once, and I was 22 and single at the time. It was some sort of Nissan van, fully loaded, dvd players, the whole nine. This thing was freakin sweet. I decided it was a bit out of my price range though, and went with the Altima, which turned out to be the worst car I've ever owned. Should've gone with the mini van....

suburbanjoe said...

MQ, it isn't a minivan, it's a Suburban Offspring Deployment Device. When I drive it I yell, SODD off!

Greg, there are two things you're not supposed to do any more once you turn 30. One is use MySpace, the other is drive a Jetta.

Bones, I traded in my Maxima, so we're brothers in Nissan spirit.

k o w said...

Listen my first ride was an 88' GMC Safari minivan and I loved that thing. Plenty of space to fool around in without wrenching your back out.

Asphyxiate said...

Whos yer friggen Daddy?