Early this afternoon, exactly twenty days after one of the most pride-deflating mornings of my life, I got back what seemed to be a part of my freedom: Personal transportation.
I realize that majority of the people in this world do not have cars. I know a lot of people in the United States don’t have cars. But for what I do, where I live, and who I am, a vehicle is necessary. So, after a search that lasted about ten days, I am the owner of a 1999 Toyota Solara.
My new car! – 1999 Toyota Solara
My initial plan was to simply fix up my old car once the insurance adjuster delivered his final verdict on my old Mercury. I was going to take the settlement money, exercise my right to buy back the car at a ridiculously low rate (called “owner retain”), and then use the leftover money to pay for the repairs. The insurance adjuster totaled my car but if you know anything about the insurance business, you know they are quick to total anything. The fact of the matter was that my car was definitely fixable, it just depended on how much I wanted to spend to repair it. Initially, the body shop guy I was dealing with promised me that he would be able to fix my car for a cost low enough that I would even pocket some of the settlement cash after the repairs. To me at the time, this seemed like a no-brainer. I would get my beloved car fixed while at the same time pulling in some dough. However, after we got the word from our insurance on how much we were going to get back, the body shop guy gave me a higher estimate than before.
My damaged old car – 1997 Mercury Sable
At the urging of my parents and other people whose opinions and trust I hold dear, I decided to send my old car to the auction block and to take the settlement money ($3,000) and buy a new car. I made this decision after my insurance gave me their settlement number, about a week and a half after my accident. By this time I was already going crazy with no car. I wanted to make a quick, and smart, decision on a new vehicle. If you know me, you know I am not that huge into cars. I don’t know too much about them and I don’t worship them. I rather spend my money on travel, concerts/sports, clothes, gambling, girls, and other stupid stuff. Going in I told myself I was going to use my settlement money combined with around $3,000 to $4,000 dollars out of my own pocket for my next vehicle. With those parameters established, the search began.
Car searches are always stressful and long, especially when you don’t have much time to devote to it. Luckily, after about a week of searching, a promising lead showed up in Spokane. Because I have family in Spokane, the area was on my radar as an area to search. The second I found out about a guy with a flawless reputation who only sells about three to four cars a month who so happened to have a nice car in at the current moment (the Toyota Solara), I knew things were looking up. My parents went and checked out the car and my dad called me back after taking a test drive and he said, “Brent, this is a nice car. I think it is perfect for you.” Done.
The next day we got the car checked out by my parents’ local mechanic and after it graded out with flying colors, I bought it. It had things that appeal to someone like me…a sporty look, a sun roof, leather seats. It also fell in the lower half of the budget I set for myself. It just seemed right. Today my parents graciously brought the car over the mountains and to my driveway. Driving it around with my dad in the passenger seat I told him he was right on when he told me his initial reaction to the car.
I am so ready to have a vehicle again. The past few weeks have been very humbling for me. If my accident did not cripple my ego enough, the constant requests I had to make of my co-workers and friends for rides surely did. Throw in a couple of tough moments in my personal life over this period of time and I have to say that the end of December 2011 and the first couple weeks of January 2012 will not go down as the happiest time in my life. But by the end of last week things really started to take a positive turn and I am transitioning back to the old Brent.
Again, I can’t thank my co-workers and friends enough for all of their help. To all of you who are reading right now…THANK YOU. Your generosity and willingness to help me and haul my ass around is truly appreciated. For those of you who don’t know, I live away from pretty much everything in Missoula so it was a sacrifice for these people to come and pick me up and/or drop me off.
I would like to personally thank everyone who picked me up/dropped me off at work over the past few weeks: Toby, Jimmy, Tim, Misti, Nick, Ashley, Christie, Lauren, Sophie, Nick, Rachel, Chris, and Mike.
Also, thank you so much to my parents for the support and help from the time of my accident all way up through the purchase of my new vehicle. Love you.
Believe me, I am going to treat my car like gold. By this I just don’t mean keeping the outside and inside looking immaculate. While driving it I am going to make clear, intelligent, alert, and thoughtful decisions while behind the wheel. I am also going to make good decisions on when not to drive as well. It is time to build my driving record back up, pay it forward to some people who really helped me, and to enjoy the great life I have been given. I have learned some valuable lessons. Don’t Blink.