If there's one phrase that describes the first couple of weeks of 2008 for me, it's 'monkey tilt'. From this pain-in-the-ass search for a car to Internet and technical snafus that have made work a little bit less joyous than normal, it's been a tilty stretch.
Somehow, for what's it worth, I'm actually up a little bit for the year in the little bit of poker that I've played, though it should probably be much better than it is. When I get tilty and on edge my 'A' game goes away, I'm just a little too accepting of coin-toss situations and tend to get my chips in less good than normal. If there's a second theme to my early-year poker annoyance, it's having to deal with a couple of the modern-day poker snobs who only know how to play a NL cash game, and yet each always thinks he knows everything there is to play poker.
I was at my private game the other night listening to a couple of these so-called mixed-games experts argue over what alphabet acronym they should play. Some of them wouldn't play Omaha, but liked stud, and others were adamant that NL and Omaha were the -only- games that could be included. Razz was almost universally reviled, except by me and one other. And my offer to teach and deal some Chinese poker fell on deaf ears.
Pikers. Neophytes. Guess what they ended up playing? Me, I cashed out after a couple hours after doubling up early with the nut straight and a draw to the nut flush in an Omaha-8 hand with no possible low, dodging what I figured was a draw to a boat but turned out to be nothing but a lesser straight. (This was at a second table where we snuck in a few laps of NL/Omaha, with most of the others refusing to play even that.) For me, it was soon 1 am and I still had work to do by 2 am, such being the state of recent chaos.
But back to the car thing. I needed to buy something, and I knew I'd need to do so soon, after being pulled over one late night with my license-plate illuminator not working, due to the electrical problems in the rear end. Those of you familiar with late-night car patrols would recognize that America's fine officers use any such mechanical pretense to pull over a car to see if its operator is under the influence. I got off with the usual mechanical warning/non-ticket. But it was yet another reminder that the Saab's days were/are numbered.
I'd been looking at a couple of cheapie cars in particular, from Hyundai and Toyota. Hyundai crossed itself off the list due to an asshole dealership, so I finally returned to Pauly Toyota for a fourth time, and --- gasp! --- they had the Blue Yaris hatchback ready to drive. I took the thing out for a short buzz, running up its odometer from '2' to '10', and then went back to talk with my best friend in the world about the situation. We agreed that it was indeed time for me to get a different car, because the Saab had left me stranded on the highway twice in recent months and is just increasingly expensive to repair.
So on Friday, I transferred just enough money into the checking account to do the deal for the best numbers I'd been quoted, and headed back to Pauly to buy the thing. I wasn't thrilled with their salesmanship, and in an interesting segue the initial salesperson, who hadn't bothered to tell me about my rebate (or give me the best price), still tried to wheedle his way onto the official bill of sale as one of the two salesmen involved. That is until I told him to get his name off my title application or the deal was off, which I figured was fair payback for the guy snorting at me when I told him why I wouldn't deal with him any more. Maybe it was a good-cop-bad-cop ploy on their part, but I don't give a damn --- my senses told me the numbers weren't going any lower than what I got. They can also do whatever deals they want to behind the scenes, as long as they don't slap me in the face with it.
That little matter aside, it took about two hours to get the paperwork done and get an insurance card for the car faxed to the dealership. Here's what the new HaleyMobile looks like:
Yes, I'm going to water it in hopes it grows bigger, although it's still a half step up from that Tata Motors offering. Still, I got it with a decent interior package --- power windows and doors and such and even a plug-in for an MP3 player. It'll get me around and it is intended to just sip gas, which is what I want. I will bet that the price of gas hits $4/gallon before it again (if ever) goes back to $2.50... and $5-6/gallon is a very real possibility.
Buyer's remorse? I dunno. I do know that all my liquidity has disappeared for the short term. Still, the need for dependable transportation is never going to go away, and I think this vehicle will do the job just fine. Now I have two tasks at hand, other than the normal grind: Read lots of car manuals... and get off monkey tilt.