I have mentioned before that Dr. Hand-Waver reminds me of the way I would have turned out if I had not left academia for 15 years. Sometimes I laugh at our similarities but sometimes they scare me a little.
Last week I bought a car. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted: for starters, something not too new, because I wanted to be able to fix it myself, and the newer the car, the harder that is to do. I needed a vehicle that was big enough to comfortably seat 5 and also reasonably good for hauling things like lumber (for projects) and pole samplers (for field work). But I also wanted something with decent gas mileage.
I settled on buying a station wagon, and I’d more or less made up my mind that an older Volvo or a Toyota Camry wagon would be ideal. As it happened, I’d noticed that a used car lot not too far from my home–which has a reputation for decent customer service–had a Volvo wagon displayed, so I stopped there first.
I figured while I was there I should look at every station wagon available, and I did. The Saturn and the Subaru had both clearly been in accidents, so I passed on them. This left the Volvo I’d originally come to look at and a VW Passat. I got the keys for both of these, popped the hood, and let my brother–who loves to work on cars–take a look. The Passat seemed to run well, he said, but the Volvo needed a new water pump. Alas.
I took the Passat out for a test drive just for grins. It drove like a dream–and it was a stick shift, not an automatic. (I hate cars with automatic transmissions.) It was nimble and responsive and generally fun to drive. I checked the Carfax report, which was clean, haggled a bit with the salesman, and then bought it.
It wasn’t until I was driving the thing home that I realized: Oh no! Dr. Hand-Waver also drives a Passat wagon! I really really like her, but I didn’t think I would emulate her in a little thing like this.
Oh well. Unless I shrink 6 inches and dye my hair blond, I seriously doubt anyone will ever mistake me for a Hand-Waver clone.
(I should add that, having driven it for a week, I TOTALLY LOVE MY CAR.)