The chaos that comes with having your life tied, intertwined, and enmeshed with a passive aggressive, is difficult to explain. It’s difficult to understand, because when it happens, you find yourself suddenly caught up in chaos and instability. The very nature of it is something that takes you off guard, so you find yourself either hopping, jumping, evading, or reacting in a gut level way for damage control. I try to get a handle on understanding it, hoping always to prevent it, to find that better and healthy way of avoiding it altogether.
Yesterday, it involved buying and unbuying a car. We need another car desperately. I want and need a car so I can have the freedom to get.out.of.this.house, try yoga classes, join a gym, and basically get healthy enough to block out a more hopeful future. I’ve been reading the ads on craigslist, compiling possibilities, checking nada, and basically looking for the needle in the haystack. There is very little money in the budget, but I want something reasonably safe, reasonably decent for mpg, and I don’t want anything that draws attention. Translation: having people take note that you’re driving a beater. I don’t want it to scream that. Just some inconspicuous reasonable vehicle. For hardly any money. sigh
Something popped up yesterday that looked good. It didn’t look too good to be true, but hopeful kind of good. I’d already committed to my youngest having a friend over for the afternoon when I spotted it, and didn’t want to leave them alone for that long. My husband volunteered to drive the hour and a half to see it, and our youngest son went with in case it was purchased and the second driver was needed. I told him that if all was as it seemed according to the advertisement and the preliminary phone call, it looked like a go. If anything was different, to call.
Of course, that’s what partners do. They talk to each other, consult with each other, and rely on the others perspective for greater wisdom. My husband seldom does that. He makes what he calls “command decisions” instead. He made one yesterday. They went to see the car, but there was a very noticeable dent in the hood, one that was carefully evaded in the photos for the ad. He didn’t call me (he didn’t even check it out to see how extensive it was). He just bought it. Then he drove away and called me on the cell phone. He told me about it after buying it.
Oh dear heavens, I was upset. As I absorbed it, I became more and more upset. As I asked questions, I became even more upset.
How bad is it?
(pause) It’s… noticeable.
What do you mean? How big is it?
Maybe eight inches by ten inches.
And you didn’t think you should call me? Why didn’t you call me?
I don’t know.
Is there other damage? Let me talk to Son.
Son, how bad is it?
(pause) Well, you can definitely see it. The rest of the car seems good. You notice it most when you look sideways, you can definitely see it then.
(Husband comes back on phone)
Hmm. That isn’t good. The headlights won’t point in the right direction, something’s broken… and I can see where someone had duct tape there once.
I reach point of meltdown.
Why didn’t you call me?? We can’t afford mistakes like this. Fine, this will be your car, and if I draw up papers, I’ll make sure you get it!
You made such a big deal when I talked about needing a car, telling me you needed something that looked decent to drive to meetings. Well, this is your car, and you can drive it for the next year or two… to every meeting!
Okay, I guess I could do that. (his words saying one thing, his tone telling me the opposite)
I hung up. I wept hot tears, swore softly, and paced.
I called back.
He’s not answering.
Third time calling back, he picked up.
You need to take that car back and get our money back. You need to take it back, and get the money back!
He should have told me there was more damage, something that was a safety issue.
You should have called me, and I would have warned you to look and ask. Take it back, at least try to get the money back, please…
Okay, I’ll try. There’s damage to the grill too.
Half hour later, he calls.
He’s not home, but I talked to him. He sounds upset.
Did he say you could return it?
He didn’t say. We’re getting something to eat… wait… that’s him calling now, bye.
About an hour later, he calls back.
He was pretty upset, but he gave the money back.
All of it?
Son counted it, it’s all there. We’ll be heading home.
One hour or so later.
I was tired, so I had to pull over and sleep for awhile. Do we need anything from the store?
Not that I can think of, but thanks.
11:30 p.m. They arrive home. Finally. We are all exhausted.
How do you explain all that to an outsider?
Today, I still feel drained, but the sun is peeking out, and I’m going on a walk soon. One small step towards proactive sanity.
And I still need a car. But for today, a walk, figure out a healthy dinner, and try to recover from the adrenaline stress of yesterday.