THE SONIC BOOMER
“Always buy the most expensive house you can afford and the cheapest car you can afford.” That sage bit of advice came from my dad, whose reasoning was that a house will appreciate in value while a car will depreciate.
My uncle, who owned Broward Motorsports in Fort Lauderdale, also had some words of wisdom. “Buy your motorcycle — or car, if you must — with cash. Unroll it right in front of the salesman. It gives you more bargaining power.”
Combining their advice with my available cash, I have saved tens of thousands of dollars over the years. I have beautiful homes with unreliable heaps of junk parked in front of them. I have been stranded at every major intersection in Palm Beach County and, when that happens, I am never thinking about the money I’ve saved or how I’ve wisely invested it in a home I can’t get back to.
Inevitably, my husband Mark has to rescue me. He doesn’t get upset. He knows my philosophy. But he does carry jumper cables, transmission and brake fluid, a jack, a spare tire and extra wiper blades with him wherever he goes.
I’m not usually driving my own car anyway. I’m usually riding in Mark’s sturdy, reliable, nice-looking car as he drives. But, when he’s out of town, I rattle and lurch my way around in a sad little vehicle that is admittedly a blight on the neighborhood. I don’t care. It gets me where I want to go. Usually.
I bought another one last week. I thought it would be nice to have my own vehicle handy when I was working at my store. I got it at an auction, of course. Auctions are my new obsession. And I’m not talking about Barrett-Jackson here. I’m not talking about “used cars” owned by the rich and famous. Or by car collectors continually “trading up.” Or by gearheads from Detroit who dedicate their lives to breathing new life into things that first rolled off the assembly line in 1953.
I’m talking about a farm auction with pots and pans, steamer trunks and nightstands, baskets, tins, tools and oh, tonight we also have two cars for sale. The auctioneer at this particular auction isn’t exactly shady, but he did “forget” about the cars out back until the sun was down. Admittedly, the finish on the red one had been worn away in places and there was a small (very small!) dent in the back bumper, but the price was right when I was high bidder at $375.
I went inside where Mark was buying a bottle of water at the concession stand and told him I’d bought a car. He breathed a deep sigh and went out back to take a look. There were leaves on the back seat — never a good sign.
“Does it even run?” he asked.
I shrugged. “It 10…”
I am proud to say that “Li’l Red” made it home safe and sound. I washed it, vacuumed it, put in a new battery and it runs just fine. It has only left me stranded twice… aaaaaand I have to turn off the headlights to get the windshield wipers to quit. Other than that, it’s perfect. Thanks, dad.