Friday, January 8, 2016

365 True Things: 285/Car

Three times this year, I've posted about my car: first (#42), learning that my 2000 4Runner was not much longer for this world (shot head gasket or cracked cylinder; done-for catalytic converter); #49, the alternator going: just another reminder, in case I hadn't been paying attention the week before; then not again until #256, when the Check Engine light started going berserk, the intervening 200-plus days having been a pleasant little interlude in denial.

Today, perhaps because it wasn't raining, we went car shopping.

When I first imagined myself buying what could be the last new car of my life, I envisioned trying out all sorts of fancy SUV/crossover vehicles: Volkswagens, BMWs, Volvos, Saabs; maybe a Fiat 500 and a Mini Cooper too—because they're so damn cute.

But I knew I wanted AWD (because of all the skiing we don't actually do
. . .). And every single person I've talked to who has a Subaru says they can't imagine having anything else. And both the Forester and the Outback are at the top of their particular class in Consumer Reports. (Back to BMW: top of its, "sporty," class—oh Lord, maybe I made an awful mistake, not at least testing one of those?)

No, no, no. The point here is: when I settle on something, I settle. I don't go round and round and round. And what's more, I am very quick to settle. I don't have to test-drive every car in creation. It's perfectly possible the BMW crossover would have pleased me well—and, for a little extra cash, come in AWD—but I like to keep things simple.

So I tested three cars: a Honda CR-V, which was fine; a Subaru Forester, which was also fine; and a Subaru Outback, which won.

Jeff Romero, with whom we spent
most of the day, most enjoyably
Just why? Partly, I suppose, because the car I bought was the only Outback on the lot, and the only one of its kind likely to be in this area for another three months. Seriously. Outbacks are in very high demand, very short supply. They are a little longer than the Forester (good for skis and shovels), get a little better mileage. And this one—sans moon roof (I know from my 4Runner that I don't care about moon roofs, except on those occasions when the sky is glorious, and for that, shouldn't I actually stop the car and get out to observe the glorious sky in a leisurely fashion?), sans navigation system (I have an iPhone, thank you very much), but with a swanky audio system and extra armoring and (oh swoon) seat warmers—this one, evidently, had been brought to the Seaside Subaru lot just for me. Why else would I be finding pretty much the exact car I want, on the very day I go looking?

Okay: it was brought there on the request of another customer who ended up not buying it. But then, exactly: there it sat—just for me.

That's how I ended up with the 4Runner, too—I was looking for a particular sort of vehicle (4WD, long and flat enough in the back to sleep in), and there it happened to be, brought in just the day before&mdashwhich served me well for fifteen years and almost a quarter of a million miles.

I'm not superstitious, but: I like to pay attention to signs.

And our checking account happened to have pretty much exactly the right amount of change in it to purchase this one-of-a-kind Subaru Outback.


* * *

Last night, I suggested to David that we head out this morning and catch the 10:40 showing of The Big Short—which we tried to go see after Christmas (#273)—and then go have lunch at a little cafe on the working wharf that I like and David hasn't tried yet.

But this morning, I had a different idea.

So I am calling this "one of those days when you think you might head out for a movie and lunch date and end up with a new car instead."


  1. It seems that when one thing goes wrong and you fix it, the rest of the car gets jealous and demands the same attention. When this happens, I start looking for a new car. I would rather buy a new car than build a new one from the parts store. If you want a car that is going to last, go for a Subaru!