All in three hours’ work

Well, today, something amazing happened(!!!)!

As we sat in the car, which was freshly parked by my dad, I told him the final detail of what I wanted him specifically to know before we went inside. ‘I only want to work with someone I like, someone with whom I feel comfortable doing business. So, if I don’t feel comfortable with whoever comes up to us, I’m going to tell him to go help other customers and that I want to be left alone, please. And then I will find someone I do like and trust to help me. Okay? I just want you to know that, because I am not working with someone with whom I don’t want to work.’

He surprised me by not saying or suggesting anything in disagreement with or contestation with my words, and just saying a genuine and semi-excited, “Okay.”

Not quite three and a half hours later, we drove out of the lot in separate vehicles, my having leased my first car (and that included over an hour of just sitting in the finance department, waiting for an agent to become available to let me sign paperwork, after we had already settled everything with the car salesperson).

My dad was blown away. While we were waiting on the final bits of negotiation between our saleswoman and her manager, my dad kept commenting on how he had never gotten a car on the first time he had walked into a place. He once bought a suburban on the same day he first saw it, but he had test driven it, then gone home and discussed things with his then-wife, and they had gone back later that evening and purchased it. Other than that, though, he hadn’t gotten anywhere near purchasing a vehicle on the same day he first saw it.

But I was prepared. I had been looking at used cars for so long, to no car-providing avail, and I was sick of them all. When I had looked deeper into leasing and discovered that I just might be able to lease a vehicle all on my own, despite my annual salary being iffy, so to speak, and my being self-employed. I had enough money to put down, after all, and my credit history is amazing, despite my work history being wonkers the past few years. I’ve had a credit card that I have always paid on time and usually paid in full for over eleven years, and I paid off all my student loans within three and a half years of their first being required to be paid upon. Do someone with so little money going back and forth in her life, I’ve done a great job of building a positive credit history and credit score, greatly due to my father’s initial step of having me open a credit card in order to begin that process. And I had a back-up plan, if needed, for a co-signer on the lease, but it didn’t sound like a likely necessity. I just had to make sure the car price (MSRP) was under my yearly salary last year.

What’s more, I did some research on car salespersons’ commissions (I suggest reading the basic info and a personal account I found in my research), and I knew I wanted to take as little of a salesperson’s time as possible. And that would benefit me as well as the salesperson – win-win. And my dad… win-win-win! 😛

So, we walked into the showroom this afternoon, I , in a comedic way, found myself kind of loving the energetic older Chinese lady with a very strong Chinese accent who greeted us right near the door, handing us her business cards from her blue-gloved hands, and reminding me of Japan and their business card culture, as well as the shamelessness often found in Chinese culture (ironically enough). I told her why I was there, and she took me to her desk to figure out some details of what vehicles were available for lease that matched what I was seeking.

While sitting there, she comments to me that I have very pretty eyes, and I thank her. I happen to agree, so I determine that I will accept the compliment despite its potential aim at being falsely friendly in order to get a sale. After a few minutes, she says-asks that I’d been there before, right? I told her that I had not. After an Oh exhale, she says that I just look familiar. Another possible “move”, but it doesn’t bother me. She could also be being genuine. It wouldn’t be the first time for me.

After a few minutes more, she asks me again, asking if I’m sure I’ve not been there before. I tell her that, no, I have never been in here before today. She genuinely seems a bit bugged about this, and tells me that I just look so familiar. I smile.

When we get up and start walking to go outside and “Pick the color you like,” she says suddenly, “Well, do you dance?” still looking at me quizzically. I stop and look at her more carefully.

“Yes,” I tell her.

Within a few more sentences, we have both worked out that we know exactly who the other person is. She wasn’t anyone who did dance classes, but she was friends with some guys who did, and often would go out dancing with them, and that sometimes meant with a group that included me.

When I ran into dance friends at dinner tonight, I relayed this story to them. Brows were crooked and eyes were rolled at first, but everyone laughed and sighed when I said the, ‘Do you dance?’ line – they know exactly how that works in life. You can’t place a person, but dance is mentioned and it suddenly all clicks into place (and you sometimes have to evaluate what side of you this person has seen in the dance world before moving forward). One of the girls at dinner knew just whom I meant when I described the car saleswoman. The dance community is like that – we kind of all know each other, even if only distantly or in passing of sorts.

Anyway, tangent ended…

So, I introduced her to my dad at that point, and explained the connection to him. He was surprised and obviously a bit more at ease. We then chatted about dance stuff while walking out to the cars, and it was just kind of really cool.

Once at the cars, we got down to business. My dad and I browsed details and asked questions, both agreed that the dark gray was not only a good-looking vehicle but also the best-looking one out there.

We test drive it. 2.0L versus 1.8L engine made a huge difference for this little car. We were impressed by the pickup and by the interior quiet and vehicle stability feeling on the highway. Really impressed, actually. This car was much better than I remembered from the oneI drive in college that belonged to a friend of mine.

I liked this car.

And so, after the test drive, I said a clear yes to wanting to see about leasing it, and the saleswoman got to work. Tentative prices were shown, and I approved a credit check in myself. When they approved my credit score, real negotiations began. My dad helped me with the bargaining part – I’m not the greatest with that, which was part of why I wanted him with me in the first place – and the saleswoman was actually really awesome throughout it all. Frankly, the directness of her Chinese culture was a huge relief to both my dad and me. It is just utterly annoying having to deal with the excuse and BS nonsense I so often hear from salespeople from US-born culture. We don’t need to come up with excuses for why you are offering this versus that. Just say your offer, and I’ll say mine, and we’ll continue easily that way, with no one getting offended on either side. And that is just what we did.

And it was so easy, I barely even felt any stress at all. My only actual stress, really, was when I realized I needed to go to the bathroom, but I kept having to read or do something or wait for my dad to come back from the bathroom and then an important time-sensitive thing he had to do on his phone for a few minutes (sign up for his lap swimming at the pool as soon as the registration room opened at 3:00 for Tuesday, that is)… literally the only time I felt actual stress at that place.

When our offers were getting pretty close to being met, my dad started to retract his statement of waiting to call back until Monday or Tuesday. “We might be able just to do this all today,” he said, slightly amazed. And then repeated every so often, when a new price drop had occurred.

Eventually, our exact number request was met, I signed a tentative proof and filled out some further information, and we were walked over to and dropped off at finance to sit and wait to sign the real papers.

We had spent roughly twenty minutes doing the initial desk stuff, then just over half an hour on the colors and test drive, just over half an hour on negotiations, another ten finalizing , and then over an hour just waiting for finance, and not quite half an hour in a finance room, signing papers.

Then, after one last bathroom break, I met the saleswoman and my dad in a certain covered vehicle area just outside, and took a few pictures and connected to Bluetooth and played around with the keyless start (my dad was quite delighted by that part, actually), before driving on out (and then immediately calling my mom on the car phone system…, which turned out to be quite decent, actually).

And so, now, I have a car that is reliable, super covered under warranties and full maintenance coverage, high-tech, handsome, and, really, quite fun to drive.

I am grateful for such an awesome turnout for today. Thank you, Life and World and Dance. 😀

P.S. One of the photos the saleswoman took while I was talking to my dad for his photo.

Post-a-day 2020

Family

………………….

Journal entry for August 2, 2019

Today, we learned that C— has no penis…

………………….

This evening was an extended family evening, and a rather wonderful time.

There was chatter, discussion, story-telling, and lots of laughter.

At one point, one of my cousins, G—, shared this delightful story with us, and I knew immediately that I just had to write about it, because it was well worth sharing with the world.

She and her husband have two little girls, approximately aged four years and two years, and then a baby boy aged almost ten weeks.

Her husband, C—, was changing the diaper of the baby boy, and A—, the eldest girl, was observing.

A: Daddy, what’s that?!

C: Uh, well, it’s a penis… it’s because he is a boy… he is a boy, so he has a penis… that’s what makes him a boy, instead of a girl…

A:……. But Daddy, you’re a boy and you don’t have a penis….

C:… Actually, yes, I do have a penis…

A:….. Really?????

Conclusion from my cousin telling the story: Emasculated by a four-year-old. 😂

Afterward, my grandma commented that she thought it was such a shame that no one was documenting this sort of thing, – I had already determined that I was definitely writing about it tonight, but I didn’t mention anything about it – and my aunt said that the point was people telling one another stories…

My grandma was worried that the stories get lost, you see, and so my mom leaned over the counter, and starter scribbling with an imaginary pen into an imaginary book, saying aloud, “August 2, 2019: Today, we learned that C— has no penis.”

My uncle, whose son-in-law C— is, and who genuinely likes C—, nearly cried himself out of his chair, he laughed so hard at that – I mean, we all laughed rather hard, but he practically exploded with his laugher.

It was a very good little time tonight. 🙂

Thank you, God, for this blessing.

Note: Yes, yes, I know gender stuff is all up and about right now, however, I am not letting it disturb the hilarity of this particular stupendous father-daughter exchange – the story is not meant to offend in any way; it is merely something that happened that I find wonderful and worth sharing.

P.S. It occurred to me that, while I still am not there with the solo dancing I want to teach in prisons, I am at the very edge of receiving my yoga teacher certification, – a type of yoga that uses lots of meditation and mantra and healing exercises – and I could look into teaching that in prisons… something also incredibly beautiful and powerful and potentially extremely beneficial to those living in prison, especially as part of their preparation to move back into the world outside of prison… So, yeah… I’m suddenly rather inspired to get that certification finished ASAP.

P.P.S. And then, that had me thinking that I might somehow get the opportunity to do portraits of people in prison…. and that could be a beautiful project, be it for their future work portraits or for a neat project of sharing about prisons with the world… yeah… that’s gonna stay on the side in my mind, ready for when the time is right to act on it… definitely… 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Adulting

I shared with a couple adults tonight about my current endeavors, and especially how grad school is for my back-up plan and that photography is my number one plan… and they trusted it and supported it.

It was my brothers’ dad and stepmom, so they’re kind of like slightly distanced close family… like aunt and uncle distance, in a sense… so they care about me and know me rather well.

And, tonight, that was very clear to me (though I already knew it).

They asked questions first to understand the plan and financial logic, and then to understand the artistry and passion of it all.

They accepted my logic and my back-up plan with only a handful or two of questions (at which point their concerns were relieved), and then they genuinely asked about and listened to my responses regarding what I am doing with photography, artistically speaking.

They understood it.

I showed them some photos, and they had funny comments and then also genuine comments of understanding my perspective and approach to photography…

And it felt so…. freeing, I guess…

People whom I’ve always seen as ‘the adults’ in my life haven’t exactly been supportive of my current efforts, some even openly opposed and contradictory to just about everything I believe regarding work and lifestyle, and others not being opposed but not being supportive either… just somewhat passively accepting that I’m up to something or other and taking care of myself.

So it was truly refreshing – yes, that’s the word, refreshing…. aaahh – to have them respond in such a way, especially considering that they are both very practical individuals, especially financially speaking.

Yeah, tonight was really awesome… and they wanted me to show and tell them even more… and even asked if it were possible to make them look “good” in some photos (as opposed to just tolerable or old), and offered to be subjects for me, if I were interested, which I was and am… and they even offered up the idea that my doing photos would happen in exchange for a fee, which I informed them was unnecessary, because they would be doing me a service by letting me use them as low-risk subjects for practice, anyway.

I mean…, I think that none of my family has done that or even mentioned the idea of doing that with/for me…

Tonight was just a great experience, and filled with love – I adulted really well, confident in my current endeavors and in sharing them with others, and it was all fully accepted and embraced by those others.

Thank you, God and all Creation for the love that has empowered and engulfed me tonight.

May I share it with the world around me tomorrow. 🙂

Sat Naam.

Post-a-day 2019

Memories

My cousin and I were talking tonight about old, old memories in our lives.

Growing up, I had a situation that was incredibly unique at the time (and that still is a bit unique nowadays), in which my parents each had children from a previous spouse, only had me together, married when I was three, and divorced one another when I was four.

My siblings on my mom’s side not only lived in the same neighborhood as I did, but my mom and I were regularly at their dad’s house, spending time with them and, even, their dad, who was my mom’s first husband, but with whom my mom was no longer involved in such a relationship.

My siblings on my dad’s side moved to Georgia (until they kind of moved back, off and on, one by one, starting when I was about nine), and so were only around for certain holidays and for what I guess to have been about a month each summer.

My cousin pointed out that she remembered being often at the place my mom and I lived for many years together after she split up from my dad, the one that was in the neighborhood with my brothers and their dad.

I, too, recalled that they often were there visiting us, and we often were at their house (two hours away, by the way) visiting them.

She then presented the interesting and confounding concept of accepting the idea of someone seeing one’s cousins more often than seeing one’s own siblings…, because that’s really how it was in the first decade and a half of my life, so far as my mom’s sister’s children and my dad’s children were concerned.

I have many more memories from earlier childhood with those cousins than I do with my siblings on my dad’s side.

Certainly, I saw my brothers from my mom all the time, almost daily…, but my cousins were, as I can pull up old school activities and projects to show, some of my favorite people in the world, and they were often on my mind, because I saw them often…, such was not the case with my siblings on my dad’s side.

Sure, I cared about them, and I had spectacular memories from the brief time we all spent in the same house when my parents were married to one another, but I really think we could say that I had more a relationship with and attitude towards them that people have with cousins, rather than one with siblings.

So, my half brothers were like my brothers, my cousins were like my half siblings, and my other half siblings were like my cousins… relationship- and attitude-wise, anyway.

Kind of crazy, huh?

I hadn’t really ever thought much about it, because, as my cousin also pointed out tonight, it can be amazing what kinds of things we just accept as children, not concerned in the least about whether they are uncommon or absurd.

I guess the absurdity doesn’t surprise me, of course, because, well, even now, absurd is normal in my life, as this same cousin so graciously pointed out to me a few years ago. 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Family Time

I did dinner and a baseball game with my dad tonight.  It was really good.  Spending such a good chunk of time together, just the two of us, has been something that I have missed greatly in recent years.  We do the occasional quick meal, or trip to the store, but it is never for very long at once, and it has become a rather rare occurrence this past year (and, naturally, nonexistent last year, when I didn’t live in the USA).  Tonight was exactly the kind of thing we both enjoy doing, and especially together.  I think this would be a good something to pursue, finding more circumstances that are similar to tonight’s events, so that my dad and I can hang out comfortably and casually (yet with a specific sort of activity at the source of our time, so that he’s permitted to be out for so long without hassle).

Tonight was good, and there was nothing specific that made it awesome.  It was just good time, and good for our relationship, too.

Post-a-day 2018

Bring your parents to work?

Do you remember showing your parent(s) around your classroom when you were little?  Perhaps this is a little too American white bread, but I certainly remember it.

I was all too excited to show them my sleeping mat and cubby hole when I was in kindergarten, and then my desk and the hook for my backpack as I got older in elementary school.  In middle school, it became my locker, where I sat for lunch, and my favorite classrooms and teachers, but with just a little less enthusiasm each year.  By high school, I was not so animated as I had been as a little girl, but I still loved getting to show my parents or family members around my school.  Grandparents Day was one of the coolest things, because I got to do just that with my grandparents.  College was a little different, because it’s college.  However, I still totally loved showing my parents around my campus and dorms, and introducing them to all of my friends and acquaintances and teachers that I could find.  Even when I studied abroad, I reveled in showing them my stomping grounds.

And it was normal at each stage to be showing my parents around the areas.  But it is not normal now.  Why does that suddenly stop when we become “adults” and being “real jobs”?  I don’t know of anyone who shows his or her parents or family members around his/her office.

But now that I am an adult and I have a job (I’ve had many already, actually), my desire to show around my parents and family members hasn’t changed.  When my brother was visiting from Japan, I desperately wanted him to come see my classroom, see my apartment.  I giddily showed my mom around my first school (for my first full-time teaching job), when I convinced her to come to a dance performance there one evening.  My desire to have my parents be able to relate to my everyday has not lessened, not at all.  I still want them to see my everyday stomping grounds.  And, for the most part, I’ve been able to get them to see a decent amount of it these past few years.  Even in Japan, where guests aren’t typically allowed on campus, I got to bring my mom to both of my schools, and she helped teach a cooking class for the English Club at one school, and helped out with English classes at the other.

So, I guess my concern isn’t all too valid after all… I somehow manage to make it happen for me, anyway.  However, I do still wish that it were more of a cultural standard to bring one’s parents and/or family members to work, at least for a coffee or tea hour, or something like that, just so they can have a real glimpse of what it all is.  I just think it would be way awesome.  Kind of like how Open House used to be, where I’d go meet my teachers with my parent/s, and show my parent/s around my school.  Man… this would be neat.  It also would be very helpful in cross-(whatever the word is for work areas – I’m tired, okay?) interaction and understanding.  My dad works in computers and oil & gas.  He would be amazed to see my work, and I to see his.  They are just such different worlds that we have much to be learned from interacting with one another’s worlds.

I imagine loads of people would be utterly uninterested in this idea, but I hope that loads also would be in full support of it.

Post-a-day 2017