Virtual Friends?

Monday, October 16, 2006

I've come to a conclusion about blogging, and the internet in general. Sure, it's great and it's made millions of people's lives easier (somehow), but, it's deceiving. People think they're connecting with each other and making friends and developing relationships, but when it comes down to it, all you've done is spent more time ALONE, sitting at your computer.

I'd like to tell myself that I don't spend that much time on the internet. I'm not even going to bother trying to figure out how much I do spend, because it's probably more than I'd like to think. And yet....there's seems to be such a lonely gap in my life.

Saturday was a rotten day. It started on Friday night. For reasons I won't get into right now, we're looking for another mini-van. (Really, we're not so vehicle-fickle as it might seem. It really is a darn good reason--trust me) It's not an earnest thing, we don't need it right away, nor even in the next few weeks. But I don't want to see the new year arrive without some progress on this issue. So where do I go? Of course, the

And of course, I'm looking for an Odyssey. BUT, not even red this time. I don't really care what colour it is (although I wrinkle my nose at beige). We haven't been able to sell the accord, so it sits in driveway. We have to do something about that soon, before it's completely toast.

So the last time I did a search on autotrader, I got 0. Nothing, nada, bupkiss. I couldn't figure that one out. Last summer when I went searching (and found our current van) there were tonnes. This was a few weeks ago, and I chalked it up to the market being down or something. I got thinking about it again on Friday and I did a search Friday afternoon. Tonnes! How exciting. (I later discovered some glich on the site---if you check off all the possible listings: private, dealer, multi-listing, price change, you get NO returns. If you leave only the ones auto checked by the site: private and dealer, you get tonnes! Very weird)

I emailed a few possibles and when I didn't hear anything back by the next morning (well, one place called Friday night) I started calling them. What started out as a somewhat encouraging endeavour quickly turned completely demoralizing.

All we want to do, is find an early Odyssey ('95-98) and trade in ours. Seeing that ours is a '95, I was assuming that we'd have to pay out a little if we found one younger, or a '95 in better condition--less km's, that sort of thing. Somewhere along the line, James suggested we try to include the Accord in any trade in. I thought that sounded ideal. I really don't want to send that car to the scrapheap.
At first, the numbers looked OK. The Honda dealership in Whitby said they'd give us around 4g's for both. Unfortunately, they only had some later '90's Odysseys going for about double that. A little dealer here in Hamilton said they'd take both for 4-4.5 g's. That was even better--and a heck of alot closer. They had a '98 going for $5900. A number of other Toronto area places were open to trading in, also selling Odyssey's in our age and price range, but we weren't up to driving to TO on Saturday, plus, I really don't know if the Accord could make it that far!

SO excitedly, we stopped by this Hamilton dealer on our 'way' to my parents. (Ok, totally out of the way, but no biggy). It was called Lovely Auto on Barton and it was just a little fenced in number. We pulled in and spotted the Odyssey close to the front. It was dark green (very good!). Half the kids were asleep (how possible you ask, with 3 children?) so James just stayed in the van while I got out to investigate. It was nice and clean with only a few small scratches on the bumpers. Tiny bit of rust forming above the back wheels which is a Honda's lot in life (at least, the age of the Honda's we buy!) CD player. Four Captains chairs (a big detail we're after). The only thing that puzzled me was that the sign in the window said $6900.

At this point, the guy had come out and greeted me. I told him I had called and spoken to someone there that morning; he told me it was his partner. He didn't offer the partners whereabouts, so I assumed he was gone. I questioned the guy on the price, since the autotrader ad had said $5900 (I actually thought $5500). He took me inside and checked the ad he had on a clipboard, and confirmed $5900. Guess it's been there a bit and the price has gone done. Hmmm. Just thought of that. Anyway...
I continued to talk to him about our trade-in plans. He asked how much we wanted for ours, and I started at 4.5, since that's what his partner had said on the phone. He shook his head. I told him we wouldn't go lower than 4g's and he STILL shook his head. He asked about the Accord and when he heard that it has more than 500, 000kms, he shook his head some more. Didn't want it. Too many kms. He would give us....2.5g's for the Odyssey.
I just looked at him. Riiiiiight.
High kms, he said. Ours has 243k. His 1998 had 250. I said real slow like to him, to show how ridiculous I thought this was, "So ours has 'alot' of kms, and yours is younger but has more?"
He didn't bite. So I left. James and I wondered afterwards if he would have responded better to James going in. This man was of the cultural background not terribly well known for their respect for women.

I was quite discouraged coming away from that. As we kept along Barton, going towards Winona, I thought about the Hamilton Honda dealer, Image Honda, where we've taken the Accord many, many times. They're good people there. I asked James if he wanted to stop by and see what they had. So we did.

As it turned out, they didn' t have any early Odysseys. I think the oldest was a 2000 going for $20, 000. Way-hay-hay out of our range. But I sat down with a salesguy (kids still sleeping, James stayed out in the van) and told him our plan. He tried to talk me into going for a younger, more expensive model and just 'doing payments'. I told him we didn't want that. We could probably scrape together a couple thousand to pay the difference on an old Odyssey, but that's all. I was very honest with him, telling him that we'd just moved to Hamilton and probably wouldn't be approved for more debt anyway.
The worse news was that he gave me the same number for a trade in. 2-2.5thousand for BOTH vehicles. I was just stunned. We paid twice that last year for the Odyssey! Maybe I just don't understand car markets. I know they want to make a profit on reselling it, but.....sigh.

So I left my name and info with him. He'll contact us if an older, cheaper van comes in, which he was confident would happen in the not-too-distant future.

We left and by the time we got to mom's, I was bordering on teary. Good thing I had my sunglasses on.

So I was pretty bummed for the rest of the day. It lasted until we got home and crawled into bed. These days, I'm usually so zonked by midnight that insomnia is a thing of the very distant past. But Saturday night I tossed and turned. Uncomfortable. Mind troubled. Do you ever find that when something has gone wrong or bad, once you dwell on it, all the other little bad things in your life jump on board too? Soon it seems like NOTHING is going right for you.

And so I return to the loneliness factor. We've been going back to our church in Brantford every Sunday. It's a really great church. Great people, great music, great teachers in the Sunday school. We really like it.
But, as I lay there wide awake and troubled on Saturday night, I realized how disconnected I feel. We made some nice friends there, but we didn't ever make the kind of close friends("bosom friends" as Anne of GG would say) we'd hoped too, and I think that's because we weren't able to get out to their small group gatherings. And now that we're 25 minutes away, the friendship gap has grown considerably wider. It's a lonely feeling.
So finally I sat up in bed and told James (who I think must be a light sleeper because he always answers when I say his name) that I thought we should try out another church in the morning. I told him why, and in his half conscious state, he agreed.

By morning he still felt the same, and so did I, and I already had an idea of where to go. Our real estate agents had invited us to their church when we were buying our new house. It's only a street over and a few blocks down. So there we went. I won't get into what it was all like, because this post is quite long enough, thank you. But our agents, Craig and Colleen were there and SO happy to see us (how good does it make you feel when someone is excited to see you!). There were many very friendly people, and even another young mom with 3 kids who started up a conversation with me--I think just because our son's both wore glasses! Overall, it was a positive experience.

Blogging is fun, and reading other people's blogs is nice for a 'snapshot' into their lives, but it just can't hold a candle to looking into a friendly face and chatting for an afternoon while our kiddies race around. Here's to 'real live' friends.


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