The sports car saga seems to be rumbling on and on, showing no signs yet of running out of fuel. Yesterday OH and I went back to see car number two (graphite metallic, yum) and took it for a test drive in near perfect conditions – lovely sunny day, roof down, did a bit of town driving and then out on the open road. Perfect. To be honest, it was pure magic. Apart from the bits where my husband was driving way too fast (lead foot) and I was shrieking “don’t scare me” the whole thing was a dream. He drove for a bit, stopped, we swapped and then I drove. We stopped again, took the hood down and I got out to check how good it looked. Foxy. He drove, stopped, and looked at the engine (oh, yes, check the engine, that’s a good idea). It had one, so that’s OK. I drove, stopped, played with the stereo and adjusted my sunglasses while he looked underneath the car. He drove again, this time finding a road away from the speed cameras and really revved the engine. I checked the makeup mirror and handbag storage. The conclusion of this exhaustive testing being: I WANT IT! WANT IT! WANT IT! WANT IT! Please.
So now to business and back to the dealer to haggle over price. We’d previously decided between ourselves that we wouldn’t make a decision there and then, we’d go home, have a cup of coffee, talk about it sensibly and then make him an offer. Play it cool. But now? Sod that, give me the keys and get out of my way, I WANT THIS CAR. Any luke-warm, wishy-washy, namby-pamby “I’m not sure if I should spend the money/do I really need it/will I look silly in it” thoughts have now evaporated with the blip of an accelerator pedal. It has now become a lerve thang. I don’t care about the money now, the car had me at “vroom vroom.” We are meant to be together.
As we drive back into the dealership forecourt I try not to look too keen, but it’s not easy as my face is flushed, my hair standing on end and I’m grinning widely, ear to ear.
“Wipe that smile off your face” says OH*. “You’re looking too keen. You’d make a terrible poker player.”
“OK, I’ll think about ironing” says I, looking glum instantly. I am not going to show my hand too soon.
We come to a smooth stop and the dealer swaggers over. He takes one look at us and it’s immediately obvious that there’s absolutely no bluffing him, he is reading me like a hand of marked cards and already has my number.
“That car really suits you” he schmoozes (he might as well have added “l’il lady”) and starts talking about warranties and delivery as if it's all a foregone conclusion and it's now just a matter of paperwork. By prior agreement, I am supposed to leave the financial negotiations to my husband as I am well known for being reckless when in love and tend to agree to anything, so I give him a look which says “well, go on then, get on with it.” I make a pretence of looking round the car, under the car, in the boot, etc., etc., while covertly watching the two men square up to each other like Wild West gunfighters settling a score.
“Well” says OH as an opening gambit, “we like it but there are one or two things that need attention. Can we negotiate on price?” Ah, how polite he is. But masterful. This is going to be easy. He'll win the contest without a shot being fired.
“Not really, it’s in immaculate condition and the money is about right” says dealer guy, lighting a cheroot and spitting on the ground. Ok, so he’s refusing to be drawn and is going to prove more of a challenge after all. This slightly surprises me.
“No room for a bit of negotiation then?” husband asks through narrowed eyes, gazing into the sun. We have already done our homework and know that they are asking top dollar and then some. Especially as it’s been such a terrible summer, it’s now nearly autumn and who but a total nutcase would buy a convertible at this time of year, apart from me of course.
“I don’t think so. We’ve had a lot of interest so far and I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting the asking price, so no. Sorry.” The dealer is standing his ground and not wavering at all. My husband just nods and shakes his head a little bit. So is that it then? They just look at each other in silence. A cold wind starts to blow and a ball of tumble weed drifts across the forecourt. Somewhere inside, there’s a guy whistling the tune from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It’s not looking good.
They continue circling, getting ready for the next shot at each other, but say nothing. Like most women, I find silence is oppressive and needs filling. I cannot stand the tension any longer, despite our earlier agreement for me to let OH deal with it - I don’t like the way this is going along and am finding it impossible to hold my nerve . So, like a bar room floozy from the Last Chance Saloon who should really have stayed indoors and let the cowboys fight it out, I get in between the two of them to bring things to a head. Move over and let a woman in. Oh dear.
“Let’s cut to the chase shall we, we all know I like the car, so just how low are you willing to go?” They both look at me as if to say “Miss Daisy, git outta the way or you’ll durned well git hurt” but it’s too late, the damage has been done. I've upset the balance of power. It’s obvious I have annoyed the bloke and now he’s telling us that this is his price, take it or leave it. My husband won’t agree to that, so now we’re stuffed. Me and my big mouth.
So now neither of them are willing to back down and the only thing left is for OH and me to saddle up and head out of town, empty handed.
But I’m not ready to throw my hand in yet. I love that car.
(* Other Half or One's Husband, depending on how posh I feel at the time of writing).