Cognition & Reality

Thursday, 9 December 2010

New Car, New Experience

Filed under: Attachment,Basic Goodness — drtone @ 10:37 am

I bought a new car yesterday, a 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS, which has received rave reviews in Consumer Reports and elsewhere. The car is black with tan interior, the most important options being an automatic transmission and power seat, both about being nicer to my back, which had been rebelling against the manual transmission and the seating position in my otherwise excellent Forester turbo. In addition, I expect to save money on fuel, the main reason I bought a new car that includes the technological changes that have come with $3+/gallon gasoline.

The most amazing thing about the purchase was how un-nervous I was. The only time I got a little sick to my stomach was when I first went inside the dealership, realizing that I was maybe going to buy. From there on, it was easy. This was the fifth new car I’ve bought in ten years (what with cars I bought for me and for my former wife), and I was more anxious throughout the process with each of the preceding four, a lot more anxious; and the upset had remained when I drove off the lot. Not this time. I ended up spending a little more than I thought, but not much, partly because I did some low pressure bargaining, using the internet and playing a little with what they were going to give me for my trade-in. I was  happy that I  seemed to know what to do and did it without hesitation. Because I wasn’t attached to buying the car right that minute, having come merely for a test drive, I did not sweat or fret, exactly the mood to be in when making a deal. I liked the experience of non-attachment almost more than the car.

Buying  seemed like a no-brainer afterthought. I really liked the way the the car drove almost as soon as I got off the lot, although the variable-assist steering seemed a little stiff early on, as we followed a guy going ver-r-r-r-y sl-o-o-o-wly. Eventually, the salesman had me drive up a steep windy stretch just west of Temecula, on the road up to the Santa Rosa Plateau. He told me to step on it, and I did. The car went fast and held the road. The engine and transmission worked together to supply more than adequate power. On the freeway, a few minutes later, the car downshifted for passing far more smoothly and quickly than I could have done in the Forester. The steering was responsive, the handling agile and smooth. The car as a whole was smooth, smooth, smooth. It even looks smooth.

I thought, “This car performs as I had hoped and expected, based on my research. Nevertheless, I should drive some other cars. Is that true?” Having already scoped out the performance figures and cost of the competition, I knew that anything better would be out of my price range, and that my alternative was to pay about the same or more for a lesser vehicle. What if the Nissan Altima is better, or the driving position on a Honda Accord is exactly what the doctor ordered for my back? What if, a year or two from now, it becomes clear that I shouldn’t have spent the money? What if. The decision felt unencumbered, showing me what it would be like to live life without my Inner Bully’s interference every moment.

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6 Comments »

  1. Congrats Tony!

    Comment by kate — Thursday, 9 December 2010 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  2. Yeah, Tony! I’m so glad that you had that wonderful experience and was able to witness your inner bully doing his dance…and then quieting him:) I was looking at the Sonata for awhile when I was thinking about buying a car, they seem like awesome cars! I look forward to seeing it next time we are together!

    Comment by Terese — Friday, 10 December 2010 @ 9:23 am | Reply

  3. Thanks. The stop-and-go ride up here from Temecula at 6pm last night wasn’t the kind of torture test I’ve been experiencing. It had gotten so I simply stayed down there and ate dinner if I was done between 4 and 7. That’s how much the clutch action and shifting were bothering me. This time, however, the drive was completely pleasant, in spite of the traffic. So the automatic does make a noticeable difference, at least emotionally. Also, a stitch in my back that bothered me more or less constantly while I drove my old car seems to be gone, too. That said, it’s going to take me time to get over my identification with the hippie funkiness of the Forester. The Sonata feels like it belongs to someone who always wears a suit (even to bed). I’m sure my dogs and I can increase the funkiness quotient, but it will take at least a few daze.

    Comment by drtone — Friday, 10 December 2010 @ 10:21 am | Reply

  4. Glad to here the experience was positive and I hope you thoroughly enjoy the car!

    Comment by Wade — Sunday, 12 December 2010 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  5. Interesting the slip. Obviously I meant to say, “hear” and wrote” here.” When I was writing, I was thinking about how most of our fears are locked in the past and future, how they seem so diminished in the present moment, and how your post embodied that realization. Way to go!

    Comment by Wade — Sunday, 12 December 2010 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

    • Be “Hear” Now? Being in the NOW eludes evaluation. And yes, our fears are locked in the fictional past and the conjectural future.

      Comment by drtone — Sunday, 12 December 2010 @ 12:37 pm | Reply


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