On the road again

prius

Some people buy themselves a new outfit or new phone for their birthday.

I just bought myself a new car.

It was an early present, since my birthday isn’t for another nine days.

It had been a long time since I went car shopping. In fact, less than a week after I bought my last car, the Phillies won the World Series.

In some ways, that feels like decades ago. Especially when I look at the team’s lineup for Opening Day, which I hear is only about a month away.

I had such a good experience with the world’s most famous hybrid, the Prius, that I decided to get another one. One of the hard parts was finding one in a color I liked with the features I wanted, but one dealership came through: Thompson Toyota of Edgewood. My salesman was incredibly energetic, fun guy who, as I found out today, is a former golf pro who spent nine months in a coma and two years recovering after a horrific fall during his bachelor party. I told him that he is my new inspiration.

Whenever I buy a big-ticket item, I look for a place with great customer service, and that’s what I got at Thompson. Which was basically the opposite of my experience at the dealership down the street, whose name I will withhold here. There, I met a salesperson who knew nothing about the Prius; when I asked basic questions about the car, he opened the glovebox and started flipping through the manual to search for the answer. I probably should have walked out right then and there.

Later, when I asked whether any Priuses (or Prii, if you prefer) with sunroofs were in stock, he said the sunroof was easily damaged and if I knew what he knew, I would have an aftermarket sunroof installed. That was some of the worst car salesmanship I have ever seen.
Now I begin another stressful period of owning a spotless new car. Being able to have one is fantastic in many ways,  don’t get me wrong. I’ve never been a materialistic person — just look at my spartan wardrobe for proof — but it’s hard for a perfectionist like me to see a new or like-new automobile become imbued with its inevitable scratches, dings and scuffs. That pristine smell and shine go away before long.

But it will be easier this time, I am sure. As the old driver’s ed saying goes, driving is a privilege, not a right, and after almost seven weeks off the road, I am glad to have that privilege once again.

And yes, I drove home with my splints on. That’s my style.

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