I am having a bad day at the end of a bad week.  As usual, I am stressed to breaking, except this week I do not have a car, so I have the added stress of negotiating my transportation, which adds an extra layer of suck to an already stressful situation.

It also means I am not seeing BFD.

I essentially live downtown (a $7 cab ride from anywhere I want to go) and it’s 10 minutes by bus, in rush hour.  Getting around downtown is costs money, but it’s convenient.  BFD is a $30 cab ride and there are no buses that get anywhere near him.  Until I was dating him, my car situation was irritating, but not terrible.  I had difficulty getting to the market, but friends of mine had incorporated hanging out time into getting to the market, so I got to shop carefully and see my friends.

On an early date, BFD objected to my car-less status.  He understood why I did not have a car and the economics behind it, but it greatly affected our relationship, so he gave me his car in January.  For a multitude of reasons, BFD now wants me to have my own car and to garage the one I was driving.  We have discussed them and they are absurd, but his money, his wheels, his liability.

Last Sunday, I gave him back his car and I have spent weeks before that looking for one that fits within the budget he gave me.  He is fronting money for me to buy a car of my own and I am ostensibly paying him back, but it’s likely while were together (and money is tight for me) he’ll hold the checks as he did with his car.

Though he is rich and spends money on himself, BFD has money issues and lending money is painful for him. He set a budget and he’s not going higher.  When I found something I liked that was $1k over, he refused, though he encouraged me to get the money elsewhere.

Fine.  It’s important to him to set the budget and stick to it.  For me, I don’t care so much about cars, so I am tempted to buy within the budget and/or bargain hard to get what I want.  That’s why I am now carless . . .

I have been car shopping, but my budget is low and my taste is high.  I am fine with something old and quirky, and something newer and déclassé offends me.  And yes, this makes shopping tough.  Still, I have some brands of interest and I have found a few things that will require a bit of compromise.  If I can afford it, something is slightly wrong with it (high miles, minor interior damage, etc.).

Today, I thought I found a perfect car . . . just quirky enough to be acceptable (i.e., something someone like me would drive without being a 60k sedan), reasonable miles, and in good shape. When I went to test drive it, there was a mechanical issue with the driver’s seat, so it was undriveable.

It was a total disaster.

On the way back, Jerk Face suggested we drive to the car section of town, which was near where we were. I explained to him, holding back tears, that car shopping is particularly painful for me — it’s like a reminder of just how fucked up my life (and credit) are.  I have a cash to buy a car because BFD is giving me money.  My budget is not unreasonable, but it’s not high, either.  I mean, it’s generous that he’s doing this for me in the first place, but again, even that is emotionally tough.

As we drove down the main drag, he spotted an appropriate car with a price within $1k of my budget.  We stopped at the small lot, impressed with the selection.  It’s a car lot for people like me, with more taste than money, but enough money to pay cash.  I test drove a car that was within my budget — it was nice, but old, even for me.   Then I test drove “the car.” It’s 10 years old, but it is in perfect shape, one-owner, all service records, drives like a dream, and high in miles, but the manufacturer is known for quality.  When I drove it, it felt like my car.  It is also $2k over my budget.

It’s priced fairly, so there is no way to bargain it down to a level I can afford.  If I want it — and I do, I need to find an extra 2k somewhere.

Finding this car made me rethink my budget overall.  JF decribed to the guy who I am and what my needs are and it was lovely and disturbing to hear him give my spiel, especially since he’d not heard me give it before.  Knowing me as well as he does, he nailed what I needed.

Now I have a lot more cars on my list, but that is a fabulous car I could see driving for 2-3 years.