First impressions might last, but time itself has done nothing to reduce the MR2’s status as The Most Impractical Car in the World. After a trip to Mitre 10, where we drove home with a gas bottle balanced on my knee and mop sticking out the passenger window, I agreed to a second car.
Before you ask, I’m not sure why we didn’t sell the MR2. However, Husband had a dazzling list of valid and entirely plausible reasons not to, which worked despite our having just blown the month’s entire grocery budget on two tyres for said MR2.
Vehicles (management and maintenance of) falls under Husband’s job description, so I left it up to him to trawl www.trademe.co.nz in search of a second car. Despite my unhealthy relationships with vehicles, I had no passionate preferences as to choice of conveyance – unless we got a Mini Cooper, which evidently wasn’t going to happen.
Husband strongly advocated a 4×4 manual diesel. He marketed the advantages as being economic on fuel; large enough to carry bicycles, mops and rubbish bins in the boot; or a dressing table or bookcase; or up to three additional passengers. Brilliantly, he pointed out that it would be an ideal vehicle for puppy transportation.
He didn’t stress how useful a 4×4 would be to tow his motorbike around – in fact, he hardly even mentioned it.
Husband short listed a number of Nissans and Toyotas and we went to view a couple, but they were selling for too much. We didn’t want to spend more than NZ$ 6000.
Husband had an eyeball on a Toyota Surf on Trademe that was listed for NZ$ 6200. He thought the owner might let it go for NZ$ 5900 +/- and arranged to see the car the day before the auction was due to close.
“We need some way of communicating,” said Husband as we drove to Mt Wellington.
“How about talking? Or is that too intense?”
“No, I mean when we’re viewing the car. Some means of, you know, communicating what the other thinks.”
“Like a code?”
“How about: ‘The Pigs Are Flying’?”
“That might be a bit tricky to get into a sentence.”
“The monkeys are spanking-”
“Ok- NO- How about I ask you whether you like the colour? And if you don’t want to go ahead, you say ‘I’m not sure’.”
“Oh come ON – that makes me out to be a total girlie! Can’t I say something like, ‘The car burns oil’? Or: ‘Is the engine supposed to make that noise’?”
How much of a surprise is it that we had nothing agreed by the time we met Nishant?
We took the car for a test drive. Afterwards, Husband opened the bonnet and surveyed the engine, kicked the tyres, fingered a rust spot, and crawled under the car and rolled around a while. Then we all stood by the boot making small talk.
“So Niamhie,” says My Beloved. “What d’you think- I mean, for example- d’you like the colour?”
“It’s fucking NAVY,” I said somewhat charmlessly. “What’s not to like?”
I mean, REALLY.
“Look, it depends how much Nishant wants for the car,” I said. Then I waited for Husband to haggle like a Sagittarian car dealer.
I was about to remind Husband about the airborne pigs when Nishant said:-
“To be quite honest, I won’t take less than $5000 for it.”
And I didn’t have to check the pig status to say, “Weeeeeell, all right then, I suppose.”
So we have welcomed a 1993 Toyota Hilux Surf into our family – shortly to be joined by a puppy. Husband might have the edge on cunning, but I will always wear him down with sheer single-minded persistence