Sunday, October 17, 2004


I bought a Mazda Miata convertible about two and a half years ago, when I wanted to be a free woman with wind blowing through my hair. I'm not a free woman anymore. Now I have to lug home groceries and take the cat to the vet, making the Miata's dimunitive size somewhat of a hindrance and keeping hair-blowing to a bare minimum.

I decided recently that I wanted a hatchback and narrowed my choices to the Toyota Matrix or the Mazda 3. Future Mr. Cityelf and I went to look at cars yesterday starting at about 10 o'clock in the morning without any real intention to buy. It was really hard to find a used Matrix since the car hasn't been on the market that long. Then we heard from a salesman that they'll likely be discontinued next year. We heard from yet another salesman I should buy a Pontiac Vibe, since it's the exact same car as the Matrix. He almost swayed me, but I had a Pontiac years ago and it was a pain in the ass until the day I totaled it in an accident that was not my fault.

We visited Santa Monica Mazda and found a 2004 5-door Mazda 3 with 1,800 miles on it. It has very distinctive styling, with a wide, tapered nose and an almost European flair to the back end. In a test drive, it was sturdy but fun. It didn't hurt that it had leather seats, an in-dash 6 CD changer, and a sunroof.

Our salesman, who I'll call Gil, seemed to need the sale in the worst way, so I feel sort of bad that I kept rejecting his increasingly desperate offers until it would have been ridiculous to say no. (They paid off the Miata, on which I owed $3000 more than it was worth, and I got the price I wanted on the 3, plus a nice, low interest rate, without a penny leaving my hands.)

By 3 o'clock, we were driving home in my darling new silver 3. Zoom-zoom!

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