Car Dealers!

Lester really saved the day by remaining calm and comforting. Lester was always calm, so laid back in fact that he was almost asleep. Comforting, not so much, but that cold January day he excelled himself, and I was grateful. He could see how upset I was and didn’t want to make things worse, probably more for Joanna’s sake than mine. “This is just a minor set back. We will sort out this whole Social Security Number problem before as soon as I get to work on Monday and then it will be plain sailing” he said. “Lets go and look for a car now. I am tired of driving tins piece of junk!”
Joanna and I both brightened up. If Lester said something he meant it so we knew the awful social security number would be taken care of!

Still not sure if we were on 6th Avenue or Colfax, but the Car Dealerships lined the road. We had plenty to choose from. We bypassed one or two, just because they looked a little sleazy, and had groups of greasy looking men standing outside the door smoking. It didn’t take long to find one that looked approachable. We drove up and pulled into a parking space. We walked around for a little while looking at cars. There were a lot of Fords, Chevrolet’s, Pontiac’s and Buick’s. I saw a couple of Honda’s, but they must have been the only ‘non-American’ cars in the dealership. We hadn’t  been looking around for long, when we were approached by a salesman.  He introduced himself as Ed and stuck out his hand to Lester waiting for introductions.  I think Lester was sorry he opened his mouth because as soon as this guy heard our accents, he started talking in what he thought was a British accent. It was painful.  He was just trying to be friendly and obviously thought he did a pretty good British accent, but we all cringed.  Thankfully his imitation didn’t last long. He asked us what we were looking for and how much we wanted to spend.  He didn’t seem perturbed that we didn’t want to spend much money.  We told him we didn’t have a bank account and wanted to pay cash.  That didn’t seem to be a problem.  Before we looked at any more cars, I told him we didn’t have any social security numbers either.  He laughed and said “Ma’am, this is a car dealership, as long as you have money, who cares about anything else”. At last someone wanted to take our money. We looked around a few cars.  Lester didn’t like Fords and I detested Honda’s so there wasn’t a great deal of choice in our price range.  Ed told us that our best bet was to buy a reliable American car, just to get us mobile and allow us to get rid of our rental.  He walked us over to a Buick, I can’t remember what model it was, but it was brown.  “Let me go and get the keys and you can give it a try” he said.  The car was in pretty good condition.  Ed came back with the keys.  “Do you want to look under the hood?” he asked.  “The what?”Lester asked back. The two men stood looking at each other and then Ed opened the bonnet.  “Oh, you want us to look under the bonnet” I said.  Ed laughed loud and hard and kept saying “Look under the bonnet” in his fake British accent. “How big is the boot?” Lester asked.  Ed looked at him with a questioning face, so Lester walked around the back of the car to the boot. Now Ed was almost crying with laughter. “I’ll pop the trunk” he said. Lester, Joanna and I were looking at each other like we were in some sort of parallel universe as this guy was dancing around, talking with a fake British accent and talking about popping the trunk and looking uner the bonnet.  Ed eventually tossed the keys at us and told us to take the car for a spin, just to see what we thought of American cars.  Before Lester drove away, we could hear him laughing as he walked back to the sales office. “Under the bonnet and in the boot” he was saying with his imitation accent…..oh this could get tedious.

We were supposed to give this car a test drive to see how we liked it.  The test drive didn’t even last for a half mile.  Lester felt like he was driving a fishing boat, Joanna and I felt like we were sitting in a fishing boat on a gently swelling ocean.  We felt immediately sick.  Lester was feeling sick even behind the wheel.  He pulled over as soon as he could and opened all of the windows.  We looked at Joanna in the back seat to see her looking almost green.  “OK lets take this back, I could not drive this, its like being at sea”  Ed must have been waiting for us because as soon as we got back to the car dealership, he was there. The smile left his face when we all got out of the car. “You don’t look very well” he said.  Lester gave him the keys back. “That is nothing compared to how we feel mate, do people really drive these things?” I think we may have hurt Ed’s feelings a little, he couldn’t muster up a reply, even in an American accent, let alone his fake British one.  “Do you have any other Japanese or Europen cars?” I asked.  He looked around. “As a matter of fact we do, we have a Hundi” he said.  Lester and I looked at each other, we had never heard of a Hundi, so we followed him across the car lot to a Hyundai. “Oh a Hyundai” I said.  Ed looked at me like I had two heads and then started laughing. “You say potato and I say potata, I say tomato and you say tomata” he started singing.  (Dear Lord let’s get away from here) I thought. I looked at Lester and could see be his eyes it was time to leave. “Ed, thanks for your time and patience, I don’t think there is anything we are really interested in right now”.  Ed knew when he was beaten (unlike some car dealers we met later) and shook our hands and wished us well.  He also warned us to be careful as some car salesmen were ruthless and would take advantage of us, especially as we were knew to the country.  This was really nice of him, and I think he was genuinely trying to help.  He underestimated us though and no one would be taking advantage of us, car salesmen or otherwise.

“Come on, let’s go and get something to eat” Lester said. 

Joanna brightened up “Yes let’s go and get something to eat” she said. We climbed back in to the ugly Ford.  It was Friday, Lester didn’t have to go back to work.  We could relax, get something to eat, and maybe look at cars again in the afternoon…..or maybe not!

One thing we knew for sure, we would not be buying a Buick.

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