Thursday, March 25, 2010

"The Buick"

Wow! Another week! I am closing in on the end of my college career. I really have no regrets here. I have taken advantage of a lot of the opportunities that BYU offers. If there was more time- I definitely would have done even more. One thing on my list was to learn how to speed read, to speak Spanish, and to do a study abroad. But you know what? I've got the rest of my life to do those things. I could technically stay in college forever I suppose, but it's time to move on.

This is a picture of Whitney and I in Houston. That is not the setting for today's story, however. Our story takes place in Provo Utah exactly one year before this picture.

When Whitney and I were married, we kept both of our cars. We didn't insure Whitney's car but just had it sit for awhile, as we drove "The Buick." "The Buick" was a big boat of a car that my parents gave me when I returned from my LDS mission. The car meant a lot to us as a couple because it was part of our courtship at BYU. Not only did we have our first kiss there (front seat people, front seat), we also drove that car to the red woods in California for our honeymoon. It represented a lot of great memories.

As we neared one year of marriage, we saw that we really didn't need two cars. We decided to keep Whit's Nissan Altima and get rid of "The Buick." I put an ad on KSL and Craig's List at a little above the blue book price.

People came by and were very skeptical of the price. If we would have accepted the offer, we would have ultimately made more money than we did 2 months later. But I was hard-nosed. I barely came down for anyone. Eventually we got tired of showing it to people. In addition, the car began self destruct. The computer panel blanked out so that people couldn't see the air conditioning and radio information. The cost to fix the panel was more than the value of the car. The seat belts in the back seat broke. I could tell that this beloved car didn't want to leave me.

I finally dropped the price to half of what I originally offered. A Finnish man came and looked at the car and really liked it. He had just bought a lemon and was not very happy about it. After some negotiation, we determined a price for "The Buick" and I signed over the title.

As I walked away from the car with my cash in hand. I heard the Finnish man try to start the car. It didn't start. I was making a crazy sound in fact. I ran back to see if everything was okay. We thought that the car must have just run out of gas. I ran to get a gas can from a neighbor and drove with the Finn to get some gas. We filled up the car as best we could and it still wouldn't start. I was pretty low. I offered him his money back and we scratched out his name on the title.

I had the car towed to the shop and found out that everything should be okay but that there could be one very expensive repair that might need to be done. The car ran fine for the next two weeks, and I eventually did sell the car.

In life we sometimes sell "The Buick" only to have it not start as we walk away. We could wash our hands of what is done. I had legally sold that car and had the right to walk away. I was so disappointed that I still had this crummy, self-destructing-before-my-eyes car. At the same time, I knew that as a man and as a decent human being I couldn't let this Finn sit there with his awesome new car.

Optimism in many ways is like hope. Even if this experience was going to ruin my day and require me to do a lot more work over the next few weeks, I knew that the car would sell eventually. I was optimistic that this tragedy would eventually become a story I could laugh about...and I do. There's always time to be optimistic, and in the end optimism births more time and more help from those around you. The hope that things will get better is always stronger than the mire we find ourselves stuck in.

Optimism Exported.
Joe Hardie

1 comment:

Nate said...

Another excellent post, Joe. I hope you never run out of optimism to export.