Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wheels and steals
Even though the last time we had a car it ended in a high speed police chase, we are going ahead and doing our bit for global warming. Acting on the assumption that pregnant women are more honest than used car dealers, we went to meet Patrizia, who is either pregnant with her fourth child or just had her fourth child, and her used 2004 Hyndai Getz that she assures us is in perfect condition with the only flaw being that it won't hold their soon to be six person family. She wants 2500 euro for it and that's non-negotiable. Since it is Saturday and we are battered by bureaucracy we have accepted the fact that we would never find a mechanic to look at it today anyway.  We were thinking to just take the car and get a guarantee, how you enforce it F did not explain to me, that if something major goes wrong before say October they pay for half of the repairs.

And no, if you are wondering, F still hasn't taken the written exam for his Italian driver's license because those meanies have made the test so difficult that you need an advanced degree in Italian grammar and psychology to pass that mother.

So we meet Patrizia and she calls to say she'll be ten minutes late because the baby was napping. She says she has an eight year old girl and two or three four year-olds. She knows which. I am unsure. She arrives with her very short and slender husband who is wearing a kind of army fatigue ensemble. The whole effect came off a little like characters out of Pirates of the Caribbean minus the parrot. I kept repeating an Oprah-like mantra about not judging people by their dentistry, but there were some other danger signs too.

Patrizia had told me that the car, which I have to say is immaculate, was in perfect condition. Now she is saying that she had 500 euros worth of work done on the car a month ago and she showed me the papers to prove it, but she did not have the car belt changed which must be done every 100,000 kilometers and there are now 130,000 km on the car. The fact that she didn't give me all the facts made me say that we would still be interested only if the Hyundai distributor backs up her 200 euro estimate for the cost of the repair and that it could be done in a timely way. F, I want you all to know, was ready to buy the car as is. I knew I would have to confess this whole episode to you and did not want thousands of comments calling me a rube, so I am being a bit more prudent even though I know nothing about cars, including how to drive one. On the other hand she was honest about the fact that she broke the automatic locker gadget and a screw is missing in the trunk shelf and she did tell us sooner than later about the work that needs to be done. If it is not done in time they say it can cost you 1000 euros instead of 200. Now I am wondering if we do have room to bargain down from the sales price for the price of the repair.

Anyway we determine that I will stand and chat with her while the men go for a drive. I had a brief flash of F not coming back, but anyhoo. So Patrizia and I talked about kids and short skirts and that she is a part time cook at an old age home and that her husband is some kind of construction worker. She asked me about our apartment and how much we pay for it and she said that the driver's test is really hard even for Italians. And I kinda liked her, but business is business and so we determined to meet again on Tuesday, if this other family doesn't take the car at 5:00 today. Stay tuned I guess.

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