The older I get, the more my car ADD is affecting me. It's becoming a problem because at almost every red-light, instead of playing with my iPhone like everyone else seems to be doing, I find myself looking at the cars around me and thinking, "THE LIGHT IS GREEN!! GOOOOOOOO!" When I have more time to think, my thoughts immediately gravitate toward, "I had one of those old Honda's and it was awesome. Almost bought one of those next-gen rental car Camaros. My friend so-and-so has one of those Smart Cars and they seem to hate it."
I realize that I probably have too much time on my hands and could probably benefit from some sort of medication, but this glimpse into my madness is important. It all leads to what has become the eternal question. It's an existential question, only instead of asking myself the usual - "Why am I here?," "What's it all about?" and "What happens when we die?" - I find myself sitting there in traffic, gazing at the other cars surrounding me. I like to try to get in to people's heads, imagine the purchase process for what they're driving, really try to contemplate what they were thinking when they bought that Pontiac Fiero and wonder how many times has it been on fire.
Then my thoughts then drift to, "Why am I driving this?", "Why did I buy this thing?" and "Look at the other cars that these people bought." That BMW M3 sitting next to me would be cool and even though it's a few years old, it would be about the same price as a new Ford Focus ST, way less reliable, people would think I'm a jerk and it would be fun as hell... so I should get the M3. This constant search, lets call it obsession, for my elusive "next car" is really becoming a problem and now I've limited myself financially, since I don't think I'll ever actively pursue selling my beloved Pontiac Money Pit.
So I have to be realistic when it comes to what my next daily driver will be. In my tax bracket, I can't just go out and buy a $25,000 car. I'm more of a $5000-$7000 car buyer now and that REALLY limits my champagne taste to more of a generic beer that's been left out in the sun. That's where Craigslist comes in. Have you ever shopped for a used car on Craigslist? It's fascinating. I like to search by price because I've learned how to negotiate from watching the million car buying/auction shows on cable TV. I look for cars $10,000 and under because on TV, cash actually does talk and, theoretically, you can throw $5K in cash at someone selling a $10,000 car and actually buy it!
I would encourage anyone looking for a used car for a new driver, or for themselves, to just glance at the Craigslist if for nothing more than amusement. I've found some real bargains there, including my daily driver Ford Explorer. You'll find just about anything you could ever dream of. A few weeks ago, I found a 2007 Mustang GT convertible for sale in Pinellas Park that was embarrassingly decked out with every single decorative accessory that you could buy from Manny, Mo & Jack at Pep-Boys. There were chrome-fake-fender holes, curb feelers, chrome strips in the gaps of the tail lights and chrome horsey stickers on the hood, doors and trunk. It truly was a sight to behold. If this car had low miles and wasn't abused, it should be worth well over $15,000. But because someone took the time to decorate their car like a Christmas tree in Christmastown, it was suddenly worth $25,000. By that logic, this car that I took a picture in The Park should be worth around $2 Million.
Maybe those people who play with their phones at traffic lights are on to something…
Erica Habedank | CW44 Tampa Bay
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