Sunday, February 24, 2013

Eli's First Rig

Eli and his Ford Explorer February 17, 2013

We’ve reached another milestone, here at The F.A.R.M.

Our youngest son Eli has just bought his first vehicle.  His very own ‘rig’.

It’s a Ford Explorer.  Ancient, by most standards… but it has 55,000 less miles than the truck his mother (that’s me!) drives… so I’m a bit envious.  Eli’s Explorer has an all-leather interior, electric ‘everything’, a sun (or ‘moon’) roof and – for all intents and purposes – no rust.  In my book, that makes it a ‘keeper’.

The dramatics leading up to the purchase were worthy of a smile or two from this woman who has negotiated sales since Time Immemorial.  I knew in advance what the Explorer’s seller was asking for the vehicle, but I didn’t tell Eli.  I thought it was important that he learn the fine art of ‘negotiation’. He needed to ask what the seller hoped to get for the vehicle and then decide whether or not the Explorer was worth its asking price.  And even whether or not he should ‘negotiate’.

Oh, how Eli fretted over those negotiations!  He was worried about spending too much… but he was also equally concerned about ‘insulting’ the seller with a bid that would be too low. 

“What should I offer, Mum?” he asked.

“What do you think?” I asked, knowing that my techno-savvy teen had been doing his homework…checking out forums and on-line sites about Ford Explorers in advance of any negotiating.  Eli is cautious, careful and level-headed.  All he lacks is confidence in the grown-up world that is comprised of buying and selling ‘big ticket’ items.  To my way of thinking, there was no better time to begin his education than…NOW.

“I have no idea what it’s worth, Eli (and that was the truth).  This will be your vehicle so I think it’s important that you find out what its value is.”

Of course, my words were of no help to him, whatsoever.  He was desperately fearful of making a decision.  He didn’t want to spend all his money but at the same time, he was afraid he’d lose the opportunity to buy a vehicle which had caught his fancy.

In the end, it all worked out.  The price was within his comfort zone and his budget.  In addition, his Uncle Scott – a ‘mechanic extraordinaire’ – kicked the Explorer’s tires and proclaimed that Eli would be getting a good deal.  So now… the Explorer is sitting in our driveway.  Unregistered and with its current inspection sticker soon-to-expire. Still, it’s HERE.  And it’s HIS.

This vehicle has been the focal point of all Pease Family conversations for the last week or two.  Before the purchase, the talk was all about the negotiation process.  Now… it’s about all that Eli hopes to do to the Explorer to make it last for many years… and be ‘cool’ while it’s ‘lasting’.  A paint job.  A new radio.  A new dash? (I’ll talk him out of that one.)  A custom-made hanger to hold a garbage bag, so that his truck doesn’t resemble mine.  Yes, it’s true.  Some sort of garbage container for the Explorer is high on Eli’s list of improvements.  He has vowed that when someone opens the passenger-side door on HIS truck, not a single Diet Mt. Dew bottle will roll out onto the ground.  (Pfffftt!  Big deal!)

Speaking of opening doors, Eli has already managed to lock himself in the back seat of his SUV.  Heaven only knows why he was sitting there all alone in the first place… maybe he was checking out the legroom? Once inside, the doors wouldn’t open. Heh…I wish I could have seen my six-foot-four-inch-tall son squeezing between the front seats and climbing over the console to free himself.  Grinning, I explained the concept of childproof safety locks and assured him that in a year and a half, once he turns 18, they will magically open at his touch.  That, combined with becoming ‘of age’ and gaining a vote should make for a stellar day.

Although several decades have passed since I got my own ‘first rig’, I definitely remember the excitement I felt.  All at once I no longer had to rely upon my parents’ ‘largesse’ to get myself from Point A to Point B.  It was a big deal.  And now, Eli is experiencing that same ‘big deal’.  It’s a rite of passage.  An important part of growing up and learning to be (and being) independent.  It’s pretty cool.

While I’m not the owner of an SUV that only has 156,000 miles on it, I can definitely appreciate the excitement of owning one.  Bravo, Eli.  Stay safe.  And…good luck raising the money to insure your new truck.  I’m sure you’re looking forward to driving it instead of just sitting in it while parked in the driveway. And figure out those locks, huh?  While I’ve always hoped that my children would inherit some of my traits and tendencies, having that type of Bonehead Moment isn’t one of them.