Sunday, August 1, 2010

For the Love of Granny

It's really hitting me that I'm taking Granny away from Seattle for good. She's been such a great car and the idea of letting her go was incredibly difficult. She's my first car, and we were meant to be together. Even now, through this cross-country drive, I believe we are still meant to be.

The back license plate cover says my alma matter, but the front says Kirkland Toyota. I'm sure, if anyone ever bothers to notice, it appears odd since she's a Volkswagen. I keep it on there for symbolic reasons, which remind me of how some things really are destined.

Living in San Francisco, I never felt the need to own a car. As soon as I knew I was moving to Seattle, looking for a car was an even bigger priority than looking for an apartment. For some reason, I had always wanted a Jetta. I generally always liked sedans (no, I'm not a sports car or minivan kind of gal), 4 doors, compact and practical. I liked Jettas specifically because I found Toyotas and Hondas too suburban and common, while the more luxury BMWs & Mercedes too materialistic. The first car I drove was an Audi, and it had so many problems, it was called an Ouchie. Jettas just seemed to provide a fun combination of unique style without the flash, and the skillful German engineering without the escalated price tag.

When it came time to buy my car, I had a tough decision about getting a Jetta or something more practical. I was moving to Seattle without a job and I wanted to be practical about this investment. I'd never actually owned a car before, let alone gone through the whole dealership negotiation, so I had to prepare myself. I had no need getting something brand new, so finding something 2-4 years old was just fine with me. I researched Jettas and Audis and their respective longevity. Keep in mind, I'd be moving out without a job, so I really had no idea how much I could really spend. It would just be based on my savings, and I decided it might be better to make the practical decision, and buy Toyota.

Most dealerships listed their available cars online so I could do my research and selection while from San Francisco. I saw a Jetta at this Toyota dealership and noticed their Corollas, too. A Corolla would be a more practical decision, both from a logistical and financial perspective, and they had one in black that met my basic requirements. I made an appointment one weekend when I was flying up to see it. I had my car loan set up with my credit union and was ready to purchase right then and there, barring some bad situation in my test-drive. Showed up that Saturday morning and it turned out the car had been sold the night before, to my disappointment and to the dealer with whom I'd been corresponding.

My boyfriend (now ex-husband) noticed the Jetta and pointed it out to me. It was the one I had originally seen online and opened me up to Toyotas instead. I thought it was too expensive, but he convinced me to test drive it anyway. "For shits and giggles," he nudged. As I drove it, the bright blue lights and perfect fit with my body just felt like Fate. I kept telling myself, "Don't fall in love. Don't fall in love," so I could contain my excitement from the dealer next to me. When we returned to the dealership, he asked me what I thought. I looked as nonchalant as I could and told him it was fine, but it's too bad it costed almost twice as much as the Toyota I was originally going to buy. He said it was because of all the bells and whistles, the heated seats, sun and moon roof, 6-cd stereo. If he had known that I actually dreamed of having heated seats but non-leather (which I didn't know was possible), which the Jetta had, the negotiations would not have gone as well. After about 3 hours, I got the Jetta for only $500 more than the Toyota's price. I named her Granny because she's epitomizes many of the qualities I'd like to be when I'm older: practical, just enough style, can fit in anywhere, and with all the bells and whistles.

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