Loyal readers know that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of driving, that I haven’t had good luck with cars, and that I once suffered from a paralyzing fear of driving in snow, which can be a total drag when one lives in Maine.
Especially when you factor in my ongoing feud with Snow Miser…
Those problems were solved to a large extent three years ago when I turned in Zombie Car and leased a brand new RAV4. For the first time in my life, I had a dependable vehicle that could properly get me through a Maine winter.
Of course, I also had a car payment for the first time in my life. That was a whole new type of stress, but I was happy to deal with that rather than white knuckling it through yet another blizzard.
Ravioli, as I dubbed my car, made my life so much better. Honestly, being relieved of the stress of winter driving totally changed my life. I had no idea how horribly it had affected me until I no longer sweated through the week before a snowstorm in anticipation of having to drive in it to get to work.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. The meanies at Toyota only let a lease run for 36 months, and my time with Ravioli was about to expire.
And, yes, this end of lease scenario during a pandemic had been gnawing away at the stress apex of my brain for the last few months. Would the dealership be open for me to deal with this issue? What if they sent a Repo Man for the RAV in the middle of the night and left me without wheels? Would there be new cars to lease at a time when most of the country was still shut down?
Obviously, I’m incredibly resourceful, Modern Philosophers, when it comes to finding new things about which to stress.
Ironically, it was a bit of bad luck with the RAV that might have saved the day. For the first time in three years, a warning light illuminated on the dashboard. I had no idea what it was, and was forced to pull out the owner’s manual to discover it meant there was an issue with the tire pressure.
A quick trip to the dealership revealed that it was open, but that inventory was very low. A call to the nice salesman who helped me with my first lease confirmed that the pandemic had led to a shortage of vehicles and an increase in the monthly lease price.
Oooo, more things to cause anxiety and stress. I was in my natural habitat.
I made an appointment to look at what was in stock and discuss my options. I still had a couple of weeks until the lease ended, but I didn’t want to leave this to the last minute and find myself having to walk to work every day.
Sure, my inner runner made an argument for running to and from work if I had no other option, but I could just picture my coworkers complaining about all the sweat.
So after I finally dried off from yesterday’s run in a downpour, I headed to the dealership to try to get a better understanding of where my stress levels should be. I did go with a positive mindset, however, because I cleared out the RAV and brought the spare key.
In the back of my mind, I was driving out of there in a new lease.
When I arrived, I could find only one 2020 RAV4. It was a decent color, so I was willing to consider that as my next set of wheels. Unfortunately, someone else already had dibs.
My salesman reported there were no other RAVs on the lot that he knew of, but he’d do some quick research. Before he left, we talked about other options. The best one being to pre-order a vehicle from the Toyota site and hope that it could be delivered before my lease ended.
He then told the story of a woman who pre-ordered a car, had to wait three weeks for delivery, and it still wasn’t really what she wanted, but she took it out of need.
When I asked why vehicles were in such short supply, he said it was because the factories had closed due to the pandemic, and then for the longest time, trucks were not allowed to transport product across state lines.
After a long absence, he returned with exciting news. A RAV4 had just been delivered, was out back still wrapped from the truck, and needed to be put through a safety inspection. It was mine if I wanted it, but it would be about an hour before it would be ready for a drive.
He suggested I head out back to see if I liked it. I know it might sound silly to some, but color was important. After always having white cars, I was a big fan of Ravioli’s being midnight blue. I didn’t want another white car because they’re impossible to find in the winter once all the snow falls.
I checked out the red one, loved it, and agreed to come back in an hour.
It was more like two hours before the car was finally unwrapped, inspected, and ready for a test drive. In this time of pandemic, when my anxiety levels about getting infected were off the charts, I was thrilled to know that no one else had test driven the car.
When they brought the car around for me, the seats were still wrapped in plastic. I was in heaven.
Let me tell you, Modern Philosophers, I’m not what you would call a “car guy”, but the 2020 version was a very awesome upgrade from my 2017.
I’m not going to bore you with details, mostly because I don’t what what any of them are, but there is this cool, huge touch screen on the dash that controls the music. And that comes with a free trial of Satellite Radio, so I had some choice tunes blasting during my test drive.
I felt like I was flying when I was on the highway. It was such a smooth ride, and I was zipping along at 65 without even realizing I’d increased the pressure on the gas pedal.
Ravioli II had me wrapped around her finger before I’d made it back to the dealership.
It really was a no brainer. I needed a car, I felt safe behind the wheel of a RAV, and the red looked really cool. Don’t you agree?