As Mr. Apron just astutely observed, while checking his blog statistics, “People are not at home reading blogs today.”

No, siree, they are not.  In addition to shopping for huge amounts of meat and baby clothing at the outlet stores, they’re also out shopping for cars.  We went car-driving today, too.  I have been lusting after a Honda Fit (for non-US readers, Jazz) since they arrived on these shores in late 2006 (2007 model year).  Mr. Apron even went so far as to buy me a promise ring. The summer before we were engaged, he bought me a claddaugh ring with a tiny emerald in it — a promise ring.  This time, he bought me a different sort of ring — a keyring with the Fit logo emblazoned on it.  And so it went, throughout grad school.  I kept myself motivated, fooling myself into thinking that upon graduation, I’d land a job immediately, and go buy a Fit.  Wrong.  I got the job, but we bought a house instead.  So the car plans went on the back burner.  That, and I have an allergy to both large furniture (entertainment centers and wardrobes, chiefly) and having 2 car payments at the same time.  As my current 2001 P.T. Loser is paid off and runs great, and we’re still paying Mr. Apron’s Ford Focus, we sit for a while and wait for 1) his car to be paid off (April 2011!), or 2) my car to die.  While I’d rather the former, the latter would certainly give us a sense of necessity, as we agree it’s just not a priority right now.

But Mr. Apron gets bugs up his butt, spends hours on ebay motors, and becomes obsessed with a car or an idea (usually about selling, trading in, or unloading one of our cars).  This week it’s been the Fit.  Actually it’s pretty selfless of him.  He could instead have focused on his “next car” or some far off insane dream — the recurring one is a vintage 1967 VW Beetle — but this weekend it was my turn. 

I have an issue with car dealers.  I have never been present at the purchase of a car.  We usually only prowl the lots to drool on new cars after hours so the sleazy sweaty men can’t hassle us.  The last time we ventured on a lot during business hours was when we were looking for a Civic Si (back when they were cute performance hatchbacks).  Of course, they stopped making them, shoved us in a regular Civic to test-drive, and then proceeded to send me weekly nagging letters in the mail for the next two months.  We weren’t in the market to buy; I just wanted to look and to test-drive it. 

See, I have specific needs, as outlined in the P.T. Loser post.  I needed to know if this Fit would fit, or if it would have the same issues with ratcheting seatbelts and pedals I can’t reach.  So I need to more than looking at it, more than sitting in it on the lot; I needed to drive it, or just let the dream go here and now.  So Mr. Apron began his campaign to get me into a Fit. 

1)  First we thought about the neighbor down the block who drives a red Fit, but it’s a stick.  I can technically drive a stick, but it’s a highly unenjoyable experience for me and my passengers, and you just can’t ask new neighbors to let you drive their car with the preface, “Yeah I can drive a stick, but I haven’t in 5 years because I really suck at it.  Can I drive your car now?”  So that didn’t work. 

2) Mr. Apron’s voicemail one day was infused with brilliance.  He’d thought of the perfect way to let me drive a Fit.  We’d join Philly Car Share, which has a fleet of Priuses (Prii?) and, among other cars, Fits.  I immediately set to work researching.  There’s a monthly or yearly fee, plus you have to go to an orientation.  Then you have to reserve it and pay the daily or hourly fee.  And the nearest Fit is parked back near our old neighborhood.  See, ‘cuz it’s Philly  Car Share, not Suburban Main Line We All Have Cars Anyway Share.  So that went to the chopping block.

3) Finally, we resigned ourselves to going to a dealer.  I tried to subdue my inherent defensiveness I feel whenever approached by a slimey salesman, we parked far away so they coudn’t judge us by our “trade-in” and Mr. Apron told me he’d take care of the talking lying. 

As it turned out, we were on the lot for a record amount of time before being approached.  The salesmen were so busy no one bothered us at all.  On an ordinary day of just drooling, that would have been fine, but we needed to drive today, and the sleaze-Os hold the keys.  We ventured inside, looked at all the brochurage, judged all the other customers, and lazily looked at the new Civics and Accords.  Finally.   “Are you being helped?”  No, not yet. 

John tried only once to upsell us, to distract us from our mission.  When I asked if the new Fits had a height-adjustable seat (knowing the old ones did not), he said the ’09s did not, but that the Civics did, would we like to see one?  Ah, no.  Nice try. When we turned down that easy segue, I think he got the picture.  We had a goal.  He showed us the pretty blue Fit flecked with May’s productive pollen.  This was a barebones model.  No armrest, no navigation system, no bun warmers.  But it had a CD player, ABS, and 6 + airbags.  Good enough.  The seating is not ideal.  If I’m close enough to reach the pedals, I either get wedged in the seat by the steering wheel, or I bang my knee on the overhanging accessory buttons on the left side of the dashboard.  (done, and done)  Still, the seat ranked high on the comfort level,  low-end acceleration was great, the aerodynamics meant the open windows delivered plenty of fresh air, and there was even a distracting digital graphic reflecting fuel economy, just like my 1987 Cadillac had!  How far we have come. 

No, I didn’t come home with one today, but it was still a success of sorts.  No one pressured us.  No one has us on a mailing list (my license that he photocoped still has out old address on it, so even if they harrass us the way the other dealership did, it’ll go to our old apartment!).  No one tried to low-ball our trade-in or calculate monthly payments.  They just let us drive the car.  John didn’t even come with us!  He let us go by ourselves.  Maybe this is because the backseat was covered in plastic.  Maybe he’s hiding the fact that it doesn’t humanely seat a full-sized adult male.  But maybe he just realized we were no fools.  We weren’t the types he could get into a Pilot or even make a sale on a Fit today.  And besides.  If we’d made off with their little car, the cops would have been all over our asses.  And then you’d see a different picture below — my booking mug:

Test-driving the 2009 Honda Fit

Test-driving the 2009 Honda Fit