Sunday, the day after I’d replaced my car battery, my brakes went bad, so I had my car towed to my mechanic, who was able to look at them Tuesday, and it seemed the cause was a leaky brake line. But the underside of my car was so rusty, it was going to be hard to fix without breaking something else, and my mechanic was feeling unsafe underneath it anyway, so we both agreed that it was finally time to call it quits on the Protégé. So I called a junkyard, and Saturday morning I said goodbye to my little car of 14 years.
While my mechanic and I figured out what would become of my car, my coworker kindly gave me rides to and from work for a couple of days, and on Wednesday I picked up a rental, which I meant to be a compact car, but what they gave me was a Dodge Challenger, which was definitely not what I was looking for, but I was kind of in a hurry and didn’t know how particular I’d be, so I agreed to it.
It turned out to be a lot of extra stress driving a large, expensive, attention-getting car when I was used to being small and inconspicuous, so after dealing with it for a couple of days, including a long and agonizing day of car shopping, I switched it Friday evening for a Hyundai Elantra, and it was an immediate relief to drive something easy and comfortable again. I consider this rental the true purpose of the insurance payment for my totaled car, and it gives me some time to do my shopping right.
I’d done a fair amount of research in recent weeks, building on the last time I bought a car, but my first day of actual shopping was Friday, which I took off from work and spent dealing with a Toyota dealership, looking at a couple of Corollas. The one I was there to see had allegedly been sold the night before (though I think it’s true, based on its later disappearance from Edmunds), so the salesguy showed me a later model, which was mechanically fine, even according to my mechanic (once I convinced the dealer to let me take the car to him), but it had a very lived-in smell, possibly involving cigarettes, that I wasn’t confident could be removed, so with some back-and-forth I said no to that one and let them show me another one, which had a different smell that was less biological and more industrial, possibly more fadeable, but I still needed to show the car to my mechanic, which met more resistance from the salespeople but which I couldn’t do anyway by that point in the day, and I needed to go switch my rental car before the place closed, so I extracted myself from them and left.
I learned important things from this experience, such as that even a car dealer with a high customer rating will use manipulative tactics, that for me the stress of handling such people comes largely from the friction between resisting these tactics and doubting I’m resisting them the right way, that messaging friends in such circumstances is great moral support and can save you from regrettable decisions, and that I might have been the one with more actual power in that situation, since the dealer seemed to want my business more than I wanted their particular cars, so their power mostly derived from the tactics.
In any case, the experience was off-putting enough that I decided to take a break till at least Monday to return to normal life a bit and get some necessary things done (I never thought I’d be grateful to have laundry to do), then do some more research and planning, expand my search to include Civics, and maybe try Carmax to see if they’d be easier to work with.
My colonoscopy results came back saying they found inactive colitis and that it was in a smaller area than before, which I guess is good even though it still feels active.
Wednesday afternoon (right after picking up the Challenger) was taken up by my ulcerative colitis med infusion at the hospital.
While all that’s been happening, I’ve been cramming in a bunch of work to finalize a largish batch of ebooks. It actually gives me a nice excuse not to car shop 24/7 this week.
During all this tension and worry, I’ve been holding onto my lifelines to the world outside my problems, and one of them has been the hopeful, fantastical (yet scientific) world of Isaac Arthur, which I’m continuing to catch up on from the past year-and-a-half. I have about 10 hours of listening left.
AI field map
I managed to get a little done on the field map project, which is a list of the people, organizations, publications, projects, and events in AI research. There’s nothing ready to post, but I was pleased that I reworked my project planning stage so I could get it done in an hour rather than spreading it out over most of a week.